Here's the latest on some of the top Gracie Fighters from Cesar Gracie's Pleasant Hill, CA Gracie Academy. These happen to be some of my favorite mixed martial artists, as well.
Nick Diaz finished 5th in the Bear Valley Triathlon Sunday in California this past weekend after completing the 600-yard swim, a 10.5-mile bike ride and a 3.4-mile run in 1:00:57. Diaz, who has not fought since defeating Pride lightweight champ Takanori Gomi in stunning fashion at Pride 33 on February 24, will face Mike Aina, a pupil of BJ Penn, at 160 lbs. on September 15 at EliteXC's "Uprising" event.
EliteXC president Gary Shaw said that the organization is not in negotiations with Gomi, but that he'd love to see Gomi-Diaz II and believes that Diaz would defeat Gomi for a second time, proving once again that Diaz "is the superior fighter." As far as I'm concerned, Gomi vs. Diaz at Pride 33 has been the best fight of the year, hands down.
Jake Shields will be also be fighting a member of the BJ Penn camp on the September 15 Uprising card when he takes on Renato "Cheruto" Verissimo. Shields recently explained that this fight had been scheduled to take place twice before but ultimately to no avail. As for his training, Shields said that he occasionally visits the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, CA, where he spars with Jon Fitch and Mike Swick of the UFC.
Shields also said in a conference call recently that he has no real plans to fight Frank Trigg any time soon. An verbal agreement had been reached, but no contract ever materialized, and the Shields camp was never able to get a hold of Trigg. Shields did say that he would face Trigg, who's been fighting at middleweight, at 185 lbs. if the price is right.
Gilbert Melendez will defend his Strikeforce lightweight title on September 29 at a Strikeforce event held at the Playboy Mansion. Melendez is one of the best 155-pound fighters anywhere, and to see "El Nino" in action, click here to see his fight against UFC lightweight Clay Guida. Great fight.
Nate Diaz, who recently defeated Manny Gamburyan to become the TUF Season 5 winner, will be fighting at UFC Fight Night 11 on September 19 against Junior Assuncao.