Nick Diaz vs Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos updated 1-29-11

Evangelista Cyborg Santos has competed in some of the most memorable MMA fights of all time. Photo credit: Jim Wyatt

Everyone had been waiting for the showdown between Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz and Jason “Mayhem” Miller. The two have had a very public feud since an in-ring melee involving Miller, Diaz and his brother, and a Diaz teammate Jake Shields. Well, everyone is going to have to keep waiting. The plan was to have the two fight on Strikeforce’s Jan. 29 card in San Jose, CA, but the sides could not agree on terms, mostly centered on their weight. Diaz is a welterweight and Miller a middleweight.

On December 22, Strikeforce confirmed the high-strung Diaz will instead defend his title against Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, the husband of Strikeforce women’s 145 pound champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos.


The husband and wife team live locally in San Diego and train students at The Arena Gym, one of the top MMA and Muay Thai gyms in San Diego. The promotion also confirmed a reported title fight between middleweight champ Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Robbie Lawler. The two bouts will serve as co-main events on Showtime.

Diaz (23-7) is making the second defense of his title. He defeated Marius Zaromskis in Jan. 2010 to win the belt and recently defended it in a rematch with San Diego’s K. J. Noons. Those victories are part of Diaz’s eight-fight winning streak dating back to mid-year 2008.

Santos (18-13), a powerful striker from San Diego via Rondonopolis, Brazil, has won back-to-back bouts. This will be his second fight at 170 lbs. after knocking out renowned striker Marius Zaromskis in the first round of his 170 pound debut after coming down from the 185-205 pound weight class where he had fought his entire career. If Santos can pull off the upset, it would be the first time ever that a husband and wife held MMA titles at the same time.

Santos, who volunteers his time for the local Wounded Warriors Project, is 33 and stands 5’9” tall. He’s definitely the good guy in this upcoming match. In the gym, his students love him and consider him an outstanding teacher. Like most MMA fighters, his ears are a bit puffy, he has a multitude of tattoos and he’s broken nearly every bone in his body.

Talking about sucking it up, in his first fight for Strikeforce, he fought with a bum knee, bruised arm and broken rib. According to Santos, the toughest opponents he’s faced include: Angelo Araujo, Melvin Manhoef and Mauricio Shogun Rua. The bout with Manhoef has to be one of the most memorable in the history of MMA.

Chris Cyborg Santos, the current women's World middleweight MMA Champion.

The question everyone wants to know: How did you meet your wife?

“Because of my affiliation with the Chute Boxe Academy in Curitiba, Brazil, I was teaching classes at a local gym. One day Cristiane came in to play handball. She’s an awesome handball player. It was love at first sight. We started dating and within a short time we were married.”

Results of the January 29th bout:

Throughout the first round, Cyborg appeared to be the more accomplished fighter and kept landing the hard kicks to chop away at Diaz’s right leg. Despite the punishment, Diaz’s actions of pressing forward as if to say, ‘Is that all you have?’ to occasionally hit home with a hard jab or a solid left hook. Diaz, who always gives the impression he’s indestructible, wobbled several times. Every time Cyborg landed a punch, Diaz was prompted to do his usual cocky smile or add some trash talking. After Diaz landed consecutive hard jabs, he followed up with a real solid left that made his opponent dizzy. Despite the sporadic even exchanges, you would have to favor Cyborg in round one.

Round two looked like a repeat of round one as Cyborg kept landing his kicks and Diaz began his taunting. Then Cyborg landed several solid shots to the body. In fact, his command of the fight looked more evident. He was definitely in charge in the second stanza when he decided to take Diaz down after landing a spinning back kick.

Suddenly the fight looked like one of those drills you see in the gym. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace immediately transitioned into an armbar attempt. Moments later, Cyborg was sunk in and made to tap out. Nick Diaz ends up defeating Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos by armbar at 4:50 of round two to win his ninth straight fight. The big time tactical error by the well respected MMA instructor was surprising.


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