Event: Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley
Date: Saturday, April 09, 2011
Location: Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California
Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley
Kid Nate: I agree that Nick Diaz won’t be interested or able to take Paul Daley down. But I also think he’s a good enough striker to avoid the big KO from Daley’s left hand. Diaz will stay outside Daley’s punching range and pepper him with punches. Daley’s leg kicks will be his ace in the hole, but I don’t think it’ll be enough. Nick Diaz by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: We, as MMA fans, don’t discuss range with the importance that it deserves. This fight is all about range. At a long distance Diaz can stick his long, straight punches in Daley’s face, the mid-range is "hooker territory" where Daley can let his tight hooks go and then in close it’s going to turn into a struggle of if Diaz wants the takedown and if he can get it while Daley throws his sharp inside elbows. Elbows on the ground are also a factor as Daley will throw them off his back and try to cut Diaz up if he gets taken down. If the fight does hit the floor, keep in mind that it took a few sub attempts from Jake Shields before he got the tap, so it isn’t a case of "as soon as it hits the floor, it’s over." Either guy has legitimate ways to win this fight but I’m going with Daley to either land a crushing hook or force a cut stoppage with elbows. Paul Daley by TKO, round two.
Mike Fagan: Outside of Martin Kampmann, Paul Daley has lost to every top fighter he has fought, and I think if Kampmann got another crack at it, he wouldn’t make the mistake of slugging with Daley. Diaz hung with "Cyborg" Santos, Marius Zaromskis, and K.J. Noons on the feet, so it’s not going to shock me if Diaz stands up with Daley either. Daley, of course, can land a single blow that ends the fight, but Diaz just has more tools at his disposal. Nick Diaz by submission, round two.
Nick Thomas: Can Daley keep it standing? Yes. But can Daley knock out Diaz? No. If Jorge Masvidal can survive with Daley, so can Diaz. Diaz will pepper Daley and end it in the later rounds. Diaz via TKO.
Leland Roling: It’s interesting to read the predictions of some of the top fighters around the sport. Most are resorting to the idea that Diaz is more well-rounded without focusing on the strengths that Daley possesses and the weaknesses that Diaz has shown throughout his career. Diaz’s takedowns are normally from the clinch, and his high output boxing relies on him standing toe-to-toe with opponents. I’ve fallen in this trap before, picking the guy who has more ways to finish over the fighter who has one way to finish. The problem is that the one way in which Daley can finish exploits all of Diaz’s weaknesses. I won’t be surprised if Diaz handles Daley, but I’m going with ‘Semtex’. Paul Daley via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: This is an extremely tough fight to pick. If it gets to the ground, it’s definitely going to be a relatively easy victory for Nick, but with his desire to just "Diaz-box" with everyone, coupled with his lack of wrestling skills, I’m not sure if it will go there at all... Standing up, both guys are extremely dangerous. Diaz is very durable, and his work rate is spectacular, but Daley is a bit more technical with his boxing and he definitely has that one punch knockout power. Diaz should take this to the ground where he has a clear advantage, but I’m not sure that will happen, so I’m thinking it’s Paul Daley by TKO.
Matt Bishop: On a night full of great fights, this is a great main event and could be the best welterweight fight you’ll see outside the UFC this year. This is going to be a war of attrition and I’ve learned to never bet again Nick Diaz in one of those. He’ll wear down and frustrate Paul Daley en route to a submission win. Diaz by submission, round four.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri
Kid Nate: Their first fight was a classic. This time they’ll be able to throw elbows on the ground. I believe Melendez has developed more as a fighter in the past few years. Melendez via TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I talked about it on Bloody Elbow Radio a bit but Fagan also says it right below me here. The first fight was great but it was Young Melendez vs. Prime Kawajiri. We now have Prime Melendez vs. Aging Kawajiri. Crusher’s tenacity and powerful striking will keep him around for the duration but I just don’t see him being able to get the win. I think this turns into a very entertaining five round fight where Melendez wins at least four (but probably five) rounds. Gilbert Melendez by Decision.
Mike Fagan: Melendez won the first fight when he was 23 and Kawajiri was 27, and I don’t see any reason to think the outcome changes now that Melendez is entering his prime years and Kawajiri is exiting his. Not to mention that Kawajiri’s been a second-tier lightweight for awhile now. Gilbert Melendez by decision.
Nick Thomas: Love this fight. Can't wait to see either of these guys using elbows on the ground. This is will a close fight because of Melendez's ring rust. But his cage experience will give him the edge here. Melendez via decision.
Leland Roling: This should be an absolute war. If Kawajiri can close the distance as he did against Thomson and press the action, he has a chance, but I anticipate Melendez outworking Kawajiri in the later rounds and edging out Kawajiri on the scorecards. Very tough call, but I’ll go with Gilbert Melendez via decision.
Anton Tabuena: I just think that Gilbert is the better fighter overall. He should be able to take the rematch. Gilbert Melendez by decision (again).
Matt Bishop: How much of a shame is it that Gilbert Melendez has not fought in nearly a year? This is another great fight that almost makes me forget that the Heavyweight Grand Prix was supposed to continue on this show. I don’t think Kawajiri is going to have much for Melendez, to be honest. "El Nino" rolls here. Melendez by decision.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine
Kid Nate: Jardine is a stiffer test for Mousasi than many imagine but he won’t be able to beat Mousasi coming in on short-notice. Mousasi by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I kept debating taking Jardine but then spent time really looking at his striking deficiencies (especially defensively) and I’m finding it near impossible to think that he wins this on short notice against a guy with powerful, accurate hands. Gegard Mousasi by TKO, round one.
Mike Fagan: Jardine’s a tough out if you can’t land a hook to the jaw, but he’s just not a major league MMA fighter anymore. He’s talking about a drop to 185 pounds, but that’s not going to compensate for the gap in talent between him and the top of the sport. Gegard Mousasi by TKO, round one.
Nick Thomas: Poor Jardine. Mousasi via TKO.
Leland Roling: Jardine on short notice with a suspect chin? Mousasi’s kickboxing will batter Jardine from range and find a home on his chin quickly. Mousasi via KO.
Anton Tabuena: Jardine is coming in on very short notice, and while I expect him to give Mousasi a ton of fits, it is hard to pick him cause I’m not so sure if he can avoid Gegard’s punches, and avoid gassing out for three rounds. I expect this to be a tough test for Gegard, but I think he’ll be good enough to pass it. Mousasi by TKO.
Matt Bishop: I feel sorry for Jardine. Mousasi by KO, round 1.
Shinya Aoki vs. Lyle Beerbohm
Kid Nate: Beerbohm’s ground and pound game plays right into Aoki’s hands. Shinya Aoki by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: For a while people didn’t understand why I didn’t view Beerbohm as much of a prospect but I think my repeating that he didn’t seem to develop much from fight to fight finally sunk in. Now he’s a guy who never developed his stand-up into anything and is going to have to go to the ground with Aoki because he probably can’t win a kickboxing match with him. So his gameplan is to jump into the trap. Shinya Aoki by submission, round one.
Mike Fagan: If the Pat Healy fight showed me anything, it’s that Beerbohm is on the smaller side of 155. Aoki is a big guy at the weight, if wiry. He’s also a better fighter. Shinya Aoki by submission, round two.
Nick Thomas: Battle of the pants here. Grappler vs. grappler. Close fight but Aoki via decision.
Leland Roling: Beerbohm’s ‘narrow’ victory over Vitor Ribeiro lowered the expectations for fans. Some believed he was a potential contender, but the performance wasn’t indicative that he’d give a guy like Melendez problems. He doesn’t have the distance striking to crush Aoki like Melendez, and his ground game isn’t good enough to stop Aoki’s creative grappling prowess in my opinion. Shinya Aoki via submission.
Anton Tabuena: Black Belts aren’t created equally. I think Shinya Aoki wins by Submission, along with the "Fancy Pants" title.
Matt Bishop: Real tough fight for Beerbohm here. I don’t think he’s as big of a long shot as everyone else, but Aoki is the better fighter. The better fighter usually wins the fight. Fancy Pants will hang tough. Aoki by decision.
Hiroyuki Takaya vs.Robert Peralta
Kid Nate: I’m not convinced that Takaya has improved as much since his WEC as some but I don’t think Peralta will expose him. Takaya by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Yeah, I’m not a big believer in Takaya. But this is a fight that he should win, so he will win. Hiroyuki Takaya by decision.
Mike Fagan: Hopefully Takaya protects his chin. Hiroyuki Takaya by decision.
Leland Roling: Takaya is a man on a mission. After disappointing losses in the WEC, Takaya has proven that he should be considered one of the very best featherweights in the world right now. Excellent takedown defense, great escape ability, powerful punching, and a toughness that keeps him in every single fight. He should walk through Peralta here. Hiroyuki Takaya via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: Takaya has faced much better competition, and is already a proven commodity, can’t say the same about Peralta. This fight could be a great way to showcase the DREAM champion...IF they can get people to see the fight. Hiroyuki Takaya by TKO.
Matt Bishop: Takaya by TKO.