In the history of Missouri, there has never been a better time for dudes who love watching other dudes whale on dudes than this past June 6 at Scottrade Center. And it's not just because Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields was Missouri's largest MMA event to date. It's not even because Granite City's brawler, Robbie Lawler, fell victim to a guillotine choke administered by the lighter, more skillful, Cesar Gracie-trained Jake Shields. Nor because of the boring three-round decision former Missouri wrestler Mike Whitehead turned in as he defeated the ripped-but-surprisingly-out-of-shape Kevin Randleman. Nor the exciting grudge-match decision in which Joe "Diesel" Riggs literally broke both his hands pummeling his way to victory over Phil "New York Bad Ass" Baroni. And not even because of the surprising upset that had Andrei "where did that glass jaw come from?" Arlovski holding back tears after being knocked into retirement by serious underdog Brett "The Grim" Rogers in 22 seconds flat. No, no, no, no and no. It was the greatest night of professional ass-kicking the Gateway City has ever seen because of Nick Diaz. Yes, Diaz's freshly unveiled "Bad Boy" moniker is lame even alongside the unimaginative nicknames of his many MMA brethren. But then he's not just a fighter people love to hate, he's the fighter people love to hate. For all his posturing, for all his name-calling and middle-finger waving, Nick "Bad Boy" Diaz is the fighter people want to see get his face smashed in. Thing is, he's also the fighter most likely to climb into the cage and back up his bullshit with show-stopping action. On June 6, said action featured the repeated jabbing of Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith's face with crisp combinations that would have made Muhammad Ali proud — and that left Smith looking cartoonishly blotto as Smith finished him off with a brabo choke early in round three.
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