For the most part, last night’s weigh-ins were uneventful. By all accounts the proceedings went more smoothly with Zuffa steering the ship, and Scott Coker did his best Dana impression by injecting himself into the face-offs. California State Athletic Commission rules state that if a fighter elects to first weigh in wearing his fight trunks, he may not later remove them to assist in making weight. Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez and Welterweight challenger Paul Daley opted to play it safe and weigh in behind a towel on their first attempt. Both were successful.
Beyond silencing his haters and exorcizing his weigh-in demons, Daley may have scored another small victory. The lead up to this bout was by all standards tame. The brash “Semtex” bit his tongue, saying that he tried to start a war of words early on but decided he was wasting his effort when Diaz didn’t take the bait. Diaz’s interviews, always an interesting dichotomy between repressed emotions and stream of consciousness, focused more on how little he was paid than his upcoming bout. The cool-headed courtesy ended last night with the face-off, where Daley’s jawing brought the 209 out of Diaz and may have increased his chances at walking away with the belt.
If there’s one factor that has gamblers hesitant to throw down money on this fight it’s Diaz’s bravado. On the feet, Daley holds the more impressive pedigree and certainly a marked edge in power, but Diaz has made a career out of beating up bruisers with his relentless pitter-patter style. To think that Diaz can stand with Daley or even win the exchanges isn’t unreasonable, but it isn’t certain either. What is certain is that this fight is all but over once it hits the mat. Diaz is a Cesar Gracie black belt. And Daley? Let’s just say he’s not. From what we know of Diaz, he probably wasn’t headed into this bout with a game plan of shooting for a double leg from the opening bell; his Stockton roots wouldn’t allow him to so easily concede the standup to Daley. But if his team had tried to instill in him any game plan of taking this fight to the mat, Daley may have just derailed that effort. A fired up Diaz isn’t a guy looking to slap on an armbar, it’s a guy wanting to punish you with never-ending combinations. The only way Diaz is likely to take the fight to the ground at this point is if he finds himself in real trouble on the feet, and that’s not a place you want to be with Paul Daley. Make no mistake, this is Diaz’s fight to lose, but Daley’s last minute taunts are a little insurance that this fight stays standing. That’s not where Daley wants it, it’s where he needs it.
Full weigh in results:
Hiroyuki Takaya (144.5) vs. Robert Peralta (144.5)
Brett Albee (218.5) vs. Virgil Zwicker (222.5)
Joe Duarte (155.5) vs. Saad Awad (155.5)
Herman Terrado (170.5) vs. AJ Matthews (171)
Rolando Perez (140) vs. Edgar Cardenas (139)
Casey Ryan (185) vs. Paul Song (184.4)