Evangelista Santos, aka Cyborg, is one of the most entertaining brawlers in the history of mixed martial arts. With a middle of the road record upon first glance and only one fight at welterweight he had many fans claiming that he was not worthy of a shot at Nick Diaz and the Strikeforce welterweight crown. For the better part of two rounds Cyborg proved the doubters wrong by going nearly punch for punch with Diaz before making a tactical error that got him submitted via armbar.
Through two rounds Cyborg stuck to the gameplan of landing hard leg kicks, right straights and uppercuts while Diaz kept distance with a powerful jab and occasional right hand. The two men seemed to be engaged in some violent agreement to take turns landing heavy blows. Diaz would pin Cyborg to the cage and flurry only to have Cyborg get distance and land leg kicks and blistering right hands and then they're repeat.
With about thirty seconds left in round two, Cyborg went for a takedown and quickly found himself defending against an armbar. Diaz was able to get the arm fully extended with about ten seconds to go and force the tap. The takedown only makes sense if it was Cyborg attempting to secure the round on the judges scorecards but it was a bad idea to play into one of Diaz's main strengths in the submission game.
Cyborg should have earned everyone's respect with his performance tonight and Diaz managed to survive a legitimate challenge to retain his title. This was a great fight to cap a fun card for Strikeforce and we should get to see if Diaz can handle another big time striker if Strikeforce makes the logical fight for him against Paul Daley.