It's a big week in the world of mixed martial arts.
Just days after the UFC announced that Kimbo Slice would join the cast of the Ultimate Fighter, Strikeforce mixed martial arts star Nick Diaz, who pummeled legend Frank Shamrock in April, returns to the cage Saturday on Showtime to battle Scott Smith.
Diaz, 25, surprised many in April after he easily TKO'd Shamrock in the 2nd round. The victory over Shamrock put Diaz, a Stockton, California native, on the cusp of MMA superstardom. Diaz is also a vocal medicinal marijuana advocate.
His opponent on Saturday night, Smith, 30, is coming off two impressive knockout victories. Smith's punching power poses a threat to Diaz, who is considered to be a superior wrestler and grappler.
"They both are in top shape," said Mike Afromowitz, vice president and communications director for Strikeforce. "From top to bottom it is our best card to date yet."
Strikeforce typically hosts its events in California, but decided to branch out into Missouri for a live event. The ratings for Strikeforce's NBC weekly Sunday morning show have been strong in St. Louis, prompting Strikeforce to hold Saturday's live event at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
"It's the biggest card yet in the state of Missouri," Afromowitz said.
The two will compete on a jam-packed card:
-- In the main event, Robbie Lawler (16-4), takes on Jake Shields (22-4-1). In addition,
Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski (15-6) battles Brett "The Grim" Rogers.
Diaz is 19-7. and Smith is 16-5 in their professional careers.
-- The show will air on Showtime at 10 p.m. Saturday night. Fans can also pay $24.95 for Strikeforce: All Access, where viewers can toggle between five live cameras surrounding the cage, where they can pause and rewind.
-- Viewers can also make predictions, comment on live fights and predict winners with All Access through a live Facebook Connect application, according to Strikeforce.com
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