ST. LOUIS (June 7, 2009) – Jake Shields, a world-ranked welterweight, submitted (guillotine choke) world-rated middleweight, “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler, in the STRIKEFORCE main event Saturday on SHOWTIME before 8,867 who turned out at the Scottrade Center for the most significant mixed martial arts event in the history of the Gateway City.
Shields’ 12th consecutive victory in a match fought at a catch weight of 182 pounds capped a wild and entertaining evening of MMA highlighted by undefeated Brett “The Grim” Rogers’ shocking 22-second knockout over former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei “Pitbull” Arlovski and another impressive performance by talented, world-class Nick Diaz, who submitted (rear naked choke) hard-trying Scott “Hands Of Steel” Smith at 1:41 of the of the third round.
In other results on SHOWTIME, southpaw Joe “The Diesel” Riggs registered a unanimous decision over Phil Baroni in a welterweight scrap and “Iron” Mike Whitehead scored the biggest victory of his career with a unanimous decision over comebacking former UFC standout and two-time NCAA Division I national wrestling champion Kevin Randleman in a light heavyweight bout.
The event, presented by SHOWTIME and STRIKEFORCE, aired live simultaneously on SHOWTIME and on the Web (Strikeforce: All Access) at http://strikeforce.sho.com. The SHOWTIME telecast aired at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast); the Strikeforce: All Access webcast went at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and is available through Tuesday, June 9, at the site.
It was announced during the SHOWTIME telecast that the biggest fight in the history of women’s MMA, the long-awaited, eagerly anticipated match between superstars Gina Carano and Cris “Cyborg” would take place on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., on SHOWTIME.
Also on Aug. 15, Josh Thomson will defend his Strikeforce lightweight title against former belt-holder and interim champ Gilbert Melendez and STRIKEFORCE heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem will defend against an opponent to be announced.
San Francisco’s Shields (23-4-1), the grappler moving up in weight, forced the slugger, Lawler (16-5, 1 NC), of nearby Granite City, Ill., to tap out at 2:02 of the opening round from a guillotine choke. The defeat ended a six-fight unbeaten streak (5-0, 1 NC) for Lawler.
“This was a great fight and I thank Robbie for the opportunity,” said Shields, who, along with Diaz, is a Cesar Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. “He is a great fighter but this was just my night.”
Rogers’ victory, while perhaps not totally unexpected, figures to have the fans talking for a long time. After missing with his first punch, a right hook, Rogers (10-0), of St. Paul, Minn., landed a flush left hook, a right and another left hook that sent Arlovski (15-7), of Chicago, crumbling to the canvas. The referee stepped in and halted the proceedings immediately.
“I’ve always said that I can hurt people with my power and I proved it again tonight,” Rogers said. “Hopefully, this fight will get me into the top 10. Once, I touch you it is over. I will fight anybody.”
Diaz (20-7), of Stockton, Calif., mostly dominated Smith (17-6, 1 NC) of Elk Grove, Calif. Diaz, who was coming off an easy victory over Frank Shamrock in April, seemed to do as he pleased for the most part. He out-punched the puncher, hurting Smith on numerous occasions. Known for miraculous comebacks, Smith had no answer on this night, going down twice, the last time from body shots.
“I’m not sure who I’ll fight next or if it is at 160, 170 or 180,” said Diaz after the fight was stopped at 3:38 of the third. “But I am happy with this fight.”
Riggs (30-10), of Phoenix, Ariz., won by the scores of 30-27 on the three judges’ scorecards. After managing to bottle up Baroni and take the first two rounds, Riggs, despite two broken hands, dominated the third. “I want to fight Jake Shields,” Riggs said afterward.
Baroni (13-11) of Las Vegas by way of Long Island, NY, had a three fight winning streak end.
In the telecast’s opening bout, Whitehead (24-7), of Las Vegas, outpointed Randleman (17-13) of Las Vegas by the scores of 29-28 three times. It was the second straight victory for Whitehead, who is 15-1 in his last 16 fights. Randleman was fighting for first time since May 2008 and only the second time since October 2006.
Saturday’s exciting fights will re-air as follows:
Wednesday, June 10, at 10 p.m. ET/PT SHOWTIME 2
It will be available On Demand beginning Tuesday, April 14.
Versatile play-by-play broadcast veteran Gus Johnson called the action on SHOWTIME with MMA expert Mauro Ranallo and MMA superstar Frank Shamrock serving as expert analysts.
Saturday’s non-televised results: Pat Benson, St. Louis, submitted (triangle choke) Dave Cochran, St. Louis, at 2:18 of the first round (155 pounds); Lucas Lopes, Columbia, Mo., won by disqualification (illegal knee strike) over Scott Ventimiglia, Wood River, Ill., at 3:26 of the first round (185 pounds); Tyron Woodley, St. Louis, submitted (choke) Salvador Woods, Granite City, Ill., at 4:20 of the first round (170 pounds); Booker DeRousse, St. Genevieve, Mo., TKO 1 (strikes, 4:20) over James Woods, St. Peters, Mo. (205 pounds); Mike Kyle, San Jose, Calif., TKO 2 (strikes, 4:05) over Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante, Brazil (205 pounds); and Jesse Finney, St. Louis, submitted (keylock) Josh Bumgarner, Waterloo, Iowa, at 1:55 of the first round (175 pounds).
Mixed martial arts returns to SHOWTIME on Friday, June 19, when “Smokin” Joey Villasenor and Evangelista “Cyborg” clash in a middleweight showdown in the main event on Strikeforce Challengers (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast) at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.
In other televised bouts, Cory “The One” Devela faces Luke Rockhold (middleweights), Lyle Beerbohm meets Duane “Bang” Ludwig (lightweights), Nick “The Goat” Thompson throws down with Tim Kennedy (middleweights), Sarah Kaufman takes on Shayna Bazsler in a 135-pound women’s fight and Jorge Gurgel will collide with Conor Heun in a 155-pound scrap.
Tickets for the Strikeforce Challengers event, priced from $32, are on sale at the ShoWare Center Box Office (253-856-6999 or 877-840-0457), online at ShoWareCenter.com, and at www.strikeforce.com.
ShoWare Center doors will open for the Strikeforce Challengers event at 5:30 p.m. PT on June 19 and the first preliminary bout will begin at 6 p.m. PT.
For information on Showtime Sports Programming, including exclusive video, photos and news links on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and EliteXC mixed martial arts telecasts, please go to www.SHO.com/sports.
Strikeforce is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history. The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265. Since 1995, Strikeforce has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.” In May 2008, West Coast Productions, the parent company of Strikeforce, partnered with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), an entity created in 2000 to oversee all business operation aspects of the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion at San Jose.
About Showtime Networks, Inc.
Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME, THE MOVIE CHANNEL and FLIX, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2, SHOWTIME SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME, SHOWTIME BEYOND, SHOWTIME NEXT, SHOWTIME WOMEN, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE and THE MOVIE CHANNEL XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD, THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV.