It’s hard to even know what to think about Paul Daley anymore. Given what we understand about the current MMA landscape, the ’60s radical in us wants to pump our fist and shout out a Hopper-esque “Right on, man!” every time Daley goes on record saying he’s not going to “kiss ass” for the UFC empire. Then again, Daley himself is so thoroughly detestable that it’s also hard not to hope Nick Diaz takes him down and chokes him out in like 45 seconds this weekend during their Strikeforce welterweight title match. Then, if Diaz, Daley, Brock Lesnar, Georges St. Pierre and BJ Penn joined hands in the cage, sang “We Shall Overcome” and announced they were filing a joint antitrust suit against Zuffa, LLC, well, that’d be about perfect … as long as one of them didn’t try to steal a bunch of beer from a riverboat casino later that night … but anyways …
Of the five betting websites we perused this morning, only one – Bookmaker.com – is offering lines on all four of Strikeforce’s scheduled televised bouts as well as a couple from the undercard. Most electronic bookies are steadfastly avoiding Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine, likely because they don’t want to be complicit in Jardine’s untimely demise. Not Bookmaker though, those brave motherfuckers are posting odds on that fight and somehow still allowing prop bets on the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix. A guy can still get Fab Werdum to win it all at +550 over there, if you’re interested. In order to stay focused on the here and now however, after the jump are the lines for Saturday night’s “Diaz vs. Daley” show courtesy Bookmaker, plus our picks.
Available Prelim Odds:
Robert Peralta (+210) vs. Hiroyuki Takaya (-260)
Saad Awad (+125) vs. Joe Duarte (-155)
Main event: Aside from a couple of high profile upsets, the trick with Strikeforce shows is not to over think things. Generally speaking, the guys you expect to win, do. In this fight that guy is Diaz. Granted, the slug-first approach he’s taken in recent wins over the XY Cyborg Santos and Karl Noons Jr. are a tad worrisome. Remember how the “feel Daley out on the feet” approach went for Dustin Hazelett and Martin Kampmann? Yeah, let’s not do that here, Nick. If he doesn’t, we see this as a fairly easy submission win for the champ. If he does, well, don’t say we didn’t warn ya.
Lightweight “title” fight: The fact that Melendez continues to reign as “champ” of a division that seems to only have like two fulltime fighters (him and Justin Wilcox) certainly doesn’t make him any less bet-able, but it does take a lot of the excitement out of these play-date 155-pound title bouts. Kawajiri still has one of the better nicknames in MMA and some good recent wins over Josh Thomson and JZ Cavalcante, but A-list losses in 2010 (Aoki), 2008 (Alvarez) and 2006 (Melendez himself) makes us think he’s about due for another. Bet the champ.
Dean of Mean vs. Sweet N’ Sassy: Dude, not even Keith Jardine’s family is betting on him in this one. The Dean ain’t even kind of worth it here at +330. His awkwardness will not win the day. If you feel like making a few pennies off the terrible odds on Mousasi, go for it. Otherwise, save him for the parlay.
The Man in Tights vs. The Man in Pants: This one would be a lot more interesting if Beerbohm hadn’t just lost to Pat Healy. As it stands, we’re not really digging it, or the odds. Fancy Pants could totally win, but +160 isn’t really enough to get us excited about taking the risk. Unless you really feel like you need a bet down on every fight to make yourself care (and if you do, seek help), let this one pass.
Undercard madness: No idea who these guys are. Didn’t look them up. Not going to. What we are going to do – or at least what we would do if we were at this show live — is place smallish bets on both underdogs and then cheer our asses off for them. Peralta and Saad Awad (which frankly is a name that’s just begging for us to chant it from the bleachers for like a half hour straight, until people start throwing half-empty plastic bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade at us) for the win, baby!
Official CagePotato Parlay: Look, let’s be realistic. This show ain’t gonna take you on a wild ride to the Planet Money. The parlay here is unremarkable, but pretty straightforward: Diaz-Melendez-Mousasi. Bank it and be happy.