After every major fight show, we'll be bringing you a minute by minute breakdown of what happened in the cage during the main event of the evening. The action in mixed martial arts is so diverse, so fast, that's its often easy to miss exactly what occurred. Using modern technology, it's simple enough to go back and see, bereft of the emotion and blur of fight night, free of the "fog of war" often associated with watching an exciting bout. Last night Nick Diaz defeated Paul Daley, defending his Strikeforce welterweight title. This is how it went down:
00:00-01:00: Diaz raises his hands to taunt Daley, jutting his head forward and demanding he come forward and fight.
Daley lands a quick leg kick and Diaz clearly asks him if that's all he's got. Diaz backs Daley into the cage with a left to the body as Frank Shamrock explains Diaz's trash talk is "incredibly distracting." It seems less so for Daley, who lands a knee and barely misses with a hard left hook. Diaz responds with a blistering right that also misses the mark. Now Daley is stalking Diaz who is up against the cage, circling left where he runs right into a leaping Daley left hook. He lands another that drops Diaz and Daley pounces.
Diaz is face first on the mat, but moving his head smartly, not giving Daley a target to land the brutal ground and pound he's using to try and end the fight. At 4:21 Daley throws an ill advised kick that catches Nick on the left shoulder. With the amount of movement Diaz was using on the ground, that could have ended disastrously - it would have been a shame to lose this fight based on an illegal strike. Daley throws a hard left as Diaz grabs for his ankles. The takedown attempt forces Daley to move away and allows Diaz to spring to his feet. He's immediately met with a Daley knee and counters with a right hand. Even with liberal use of the pause button, the action here is tough to follow. Daley pushes Diaz into the cage where he unloads with lopping lefts and rights. Diaz avoids them smartly and lands a straight right jab down the center. Ranallo wonders if we are seeing "some rope a dope my friends." It's a comment that makes little sense as both men have been amazingly active and Diaz had spent a total of less than 10 seconds without throwing a punch. Diaz is coming forward as the minute ends, backing Daley off with a jab and then changing stances from southpaw to orthodox. He's again met by a Daley lead left hook that he's throwing in lieu of a jab. A great one minute of action.
01:00-02:00: Daley pushes Diaz into the cage, but can't find room to strike. He backs off and Diaz lands a slow left leg
kick that Daley ignores. They both miss right hands as the action momentarily slows to a sane pace. Diaz stalks with a jab, but Daley lands a fast left hook. Daley has the faster hands for certain. He's circling predictably though and Diaz jumps in with a fast left hand that catches him square. As Daley backs into the cage, Diaz lands a left-right combination to the body. Diaz continues his assault with some short elbows and a knee to the thigh. Daley is holding what he's got, looking only for knockout blows, just missing with a glancing knee to the head. Diaz takes the opportunity to land a right to the body. "This is where Nick Diaz should be hanging out against Paul Daley," Shamrock says. "Put him up in the cage and beat him up." Daley misses another knee and Diaz lands a chopping right. Then he unloads with a left hook, right elbow, left hook, right to the body, right to the body, right hook, left to the body, right to the head combo that has Daley reeling. "Daley in trouble!" Gus Johnson screams as he staggers against the cage as the second minute ends.
02:00-03:00: Daley, a little shaken, actually shoots for a weak takedown. Diaz defends easily, then decides "Why not?"
and then pulls Daley into his guard, looking for a guillotine but missing. Using a closed guard, Diaz peppers him with punches. Daley presses his head into Diaz's chest, tucks his arms next to his sides and hopes for the best. It was expected that Diaz would take full advantage of any opportunities on the ground. Daley seems intent not to give him any, not even looking to risk a single strike. Diaz opens his guard for a moment and Daley escapes to his feet where Diaz grabs an ankle pick, looking to bring the fight back down.
Daley defends nicely and the two separate, Diaz still talking trash. Leading with a right, a Diaz left follows immediately behind, sending Daley backwards. Diaz is getting the better of the action, but Daley is looking to counter with a fight ending left hook. He lands one that has no effect on Diaz, not even backing him up or ending a multi- punch combination against the cage. "Tremendous action here in San Diego," Ranallo exclaims as the minute comes to an end.
03:00-04:00: Diaz has Daley pressed against the cage. Instead of just throwing punches, Diaz changes things up with
a knee to the right leg and a high knee that doesn't quite land. In the middle of a mutli-strike combination, Diaz lands right and left elbow strikes. He may not like them on the ground, but he's smartly using all his weapons against the cage. He follows one elbow with a strong left hand, a beautiful mixture of technique that forces Daley to respond wildly. Now in the center of the ring, Daley lands a quick punch and a hard knee. Diaz taunts him again and then throws a lightning quick jab followed by a left cross that sends Daley against the cage where the action is fast and furious. "They are banging folks," Johnson says. "This is what the fans anticipated," Ranallo tells him. "This is what the fans are getting." True, true.
Diaz throws the world's slowest high kick, perhaps baiting Daley into a takedown. If that's not his intent, he needs to retire that technique immediately. Diaz has Daley against the cage where he finally eats a flush left hook. He flops immediately face first to the canvas and the fight looks close to over. Diaz is in trouble as Daley lands several questionable punches near the back of the head. "Big" John lets the go, perhaps omission bias at work as the end seems nigh? "Diaz was rocked by that punch," Ranallo yells, trying desperately to keep up with the action from five seconds prior. In just seconds Diaz has his wits about him and is defending smartly, turning to his back. Surprisingly Daley jumps right into his guard, landing a brutal hammerfist. "Ground and pound for Daley," Johnson says. "1:05 to go."
04:00-05:00: As Diaz looks for wrist control, Ranallo reminds the audience "Diaz's chin has been tested before." Daley
lands two elbows before smartly removing himself from Diaz's dangerous ground game. McCarthy restarts them in the center of the cage. With 20 seconds left, Diaz lands a right to the body which he follows with a left right combo to the head, A sneaky left uppercut lands and a glancing right staggers Daley. He pushes Diaz off of him, then loses his footing. Perhaps the left uppercut did the damage? Maybe the short right to the temple? Some have theorized a body shot took its toll. Diaz jumps on him and lands two hard punches. He throws four more and Daley tries to push him off with six seconds remaining. Two more punches force McCarthy to jump in and stop the fight, a total of eight hard shots landed on the ground. A bloodied Diaz celebrates as Ranallo puts his stamp on the night "Diaz has made history!"
What an amazing fight to bring the story of Strikeforce to a close. While the promotion will move forward under Zuffa's careful hand, it won't be the same freewheeling bunch from California, intent on bringing fans excitement, not as a product of an important fight, but as the primary goal of the matchmaking. Nick Diaz was the perfect Strikeforce figher, brash, cocky, and fearless. It will be intriguing to see where he goes from here.
After the break GIF MANIA!
Intense stare down as Diaz gets things started right.
Diaz raises his hands to taunt Daley, jutting his head forward and demanding he come forward and fight.
Daley lands a quick leg kick and Diaz clearly asks him if that's all he's got.
At 4:21 Daley throws an ill advised kick that catches Nick on the left shoulder. With the amount of movement Diaz was using on the ground, that could have ended disastrously - it would have been a shame to lose this fight based on an illegal strike.
Diaz has Daley against the cage where he finally eats a flush left hook. He flops immediately face first to the canvas and the fight looks close to over.
He pushes Diaz off of him, then loses his footing. Perhaps the left uppercut did the damage? Maybe the short right to the temple? Some have theorized a body shot took its toll. Diaz jumps on him and lands two hard punches. He throws four more and Daley tries to push him off with six seconds remaining. Two more punches force McCarthy to jump in and stop the fight, a total of eight hard shots landed on the ground.