I never enjoy the sporting events that are the most important to me. For the big games or events, the ones that really matter to me, I'm such an anxious wreck by the time it starts that I watch with my eyes half closed. You don't have to tell me that this is perverse and sad. I already know.
Which brings me to my purpose here. Paul Daley and Nick Diaz are two of my favorite fighters, and their fight -- just under 5 minutes of glorious violence -- is probably my favorite ever (it is certainly my favorite round ever). But when I watched it the first time, there was no way I could appreciate it.
I came into the fight extremely invested in Paul Daley's future. In April 2011, the writing was on the wall for Strikeforce, and I figured that the only way I was going to see Semtex on American shores again was if he forced the UFC's hand by winning it all against Diaz.
I always liked the Diaz boys, but I wanted Daley to win real, real bad. By the time the fight happened, I was so wound up that I simply could not appreciate the awesome fracas that ensued. Now, more than two years later, its finally safe for me to go back in the water.
Nick Diaz vs Paul Daley FULL FIGHT (via NlCKDlAZ)
Here goes (Note: The times cited here are from the YouTube video, not the fight clock):
0:02: Some fans are holding up signs that read NICK BAKED DIAZ. In green, natch. Stay classy San Jose.
0:24: Mauro says "I think that sign made all other sign makers green with envy, Frank." God, I miss those numskulls.
0:54: TALE OF THE TAPE. I'm actually getting nervous again. I know how it ends. Being a fan is weird.
1:31: Jimmy Lennon Jr. >>> Bruce Buffer. There, I said it.
2:40: Paul Daley has two submission finishes. I think one of those is a tap to strikes, but still, weird.
4:12: Always nice to see Big John running the show. Nice to know there won't be controversy (FORESHADOWING)
4:20: SO FUCKING HYPE. They come to the center of cage and immediately go forehead-to-forehead Paul's got an evil smile, and Nick is mean muggin. I wish I could read lips. Nick is talking. I'm assuming at least 50 percent of the words are "bitch."
4:50: DING! We're underway.
4:55: The meet in the center of the cage. Paul's guard is up. Nick starts in ComeAtMeBro Stance (TM - Stockton) and transitions to hands all the way down. Dude has balls like church bells.
4:58: Paul throws an inside leg kick. Nick goes back into CAMB.
5:10: Nick walks Semtex back into the cage and initiates the first real exchange. Nick lands 2-3 good shots and Paul hits a decent elbow on the way out. Nick got the better of it.
5:20: Daley jumps in with a left hook (DAT HOOK) that wobbles Diaz. Nick drops to his knee and fishes weakly for a leg. Paul sprawls and swarms, landing some hard shots, including a hard kick to the shoulder that was an inch or so away from being a Shogun Japan special.
5:30: Nick gets back to his feet and backs up under heavy fire from Daley. Semtex is throwing a little wild, but still bullying Diaz a little bit here.
6:15: They disengage and I think Paul got Nick's attention, because his hands are up in something approximating a guard.
6:40: They're tied up against the fence and are trading body shots. Paul landing knees and Nick throwing hooks.
6:52: Nick disengages and lands 5-6 good hard shots to the body. Those hurt looking at them.
7:07: Nick went for a choke and ended up with Semtex in his guard. Daley looks like he's taking a break. Nick working for position.
7:28: Well it looks like the ground portion of our contest is over.
7:48: Semtex looks dazed/tired/hurt. Nick lands a couple hard punches before pushing Daley up against the cage. Nick lands some nasty shots, including a couple Jones-esque standing elbows.
8:25: Nick getting the better of exchanges when Daley lands a NASTY left hook and Diaz face plants (when I saw this live, I think I jumped off my couch, yelled and scared my dog).
8:50: Nick eats a bunch of shots while turtled, but he's working the whole time. He gets to his back and eats a couple more, though he's defending ok.
9:15: With 34 seconds left in the round, Daley, who had been doing decent work in Nick's guard, backs up, and Big John steps in to let them stand.
9:25: About 25 seconds to go now. They're measuring each other, looks like we're headed for round tw....
9:30: Nick lands a nice, tight counter hook that hurts Daley and follows up with a few more hard shots to the head and body. Semtex does this weird thing where he grabs Nick around the torso and kind of pushes him toward the center of the ring, and in the process, manages to throw himself on the ground.
9:44: Nick swarms on Paul, who's on his back with his legs and hands up. He lands a couple shots and Big John steps in, IT'S OVER. WHAT THE FUCK! REALLY!!!!!?!?!?!?
10:41: Paul's on a stool and complaining. When this was live, I think I was in the process of scaring my dog again.
11:55: Replay of the finish. I don't hate it as much as I hated it at the time, but I still don't love it.
12:15: I swear the entire Skrap Pack is cage side. Thank god Diaz won.
12:50: A final mean mug, and we're out.
Was that stupid? It was stupid, wasn't it? Well fuck it, I'm not deleting it now.