It’s just as well. Frankly “011-44-115″ is harder to remember than “209″ (Pic: Strikeforce.com)
The first major Strikeforce event under the Zuffa/Forza banner delivered a full night of action and first round stoppages, with a little of the obligatory ‘Majority Draw’ bullshit mixed in for good measure. While it was a typical Strikeforce show from top to bottom, the UFC hardly tried to keep a low profile at the event. Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta were both in attendance, the cage floor advertised the upcoming GSP-Shields fight, and talk of cross-promotional bouts peppered the event from the commentator booth to the stupid text polls. Maybe it’s just us, but there are far more important issues to vote on.
After years of watching Nick Diaz win the stand-up battle against “better strikers”, is it now time for us all to admit that he is the better striker? In true Diaz fashion, he did exactly what he said he would do and exactly what the media and fans alike discouraged- stand up with a dangerous striker. Like a successful version of Jorge Gurgel, Diaz has built his mystique and fanbase upon his refusal to utilize his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and his unquenchable thirst to punch dudes in the face. While victorious once again, that doesn’t mean he dominated the fight. Daley’s power was a known commodity headed into this bout, which made the both the risk and the reward to stand and bang with him all the greater for Diaz. The two exchanged heavily throughout the one-round fight, and twice “Semtex” dropped Diaz to the floor in what looked like the beginning of the end for the pride of Stockton.
Diaz has made it clear that he isn’t a Mixed Martial Artist, that he’s a fighter through and through, and he showed that tonight. He took Daley’s best shots and even when they sent him to the canvas he stood back up to deliver some 209-beats to Daley’s body and head. There is bound to be some controversy over the stoppage, which came in the closing seconds of the round. I’m one that feels that if the ref stops the fight at the moment he feels the fighter’s safety is in jeopardy, he’s done his job whether there are ten seconds or ten minutes left in the bout. The better question may be, was Daley in more danger at the end of the round than Diaz was when he was lying face first on the canvas after getting laid out for the second time? Feel free to argue that amongst yourselves. In typical Diaz fashion, he went to war with a pugilist and came out the winner. But before we go comparing him to Gandhi and the MILF Hunter, let’s consider the wrestling juggernauts he’s likely to face in the UFC’s Welterweight division. These days it seems like a match forcing him to use his vaunted BJJ would be more telling of his place on the rankings ladder than another stand-up war.
The Lightweight Championship bout between Gilbert Melendez and Tatsuya Kawajiri featured all of the jarring blows and excitement of their first wild fight, only this time condensed into three minutes and focused solely upon Kawajiri’s skull. Melendez took it to Kawajiri right from the opening bell, dropping him with a big right hand some twenty seconds into the bout. Kawajiri popped right back up to his feet, only to find more punishment awaiting him in the form of punches, knees, and elbows. Following the one-round carnage, Melendez called out the UFC Lightweight Champion, and with Zuffa in control of both organizations he may finally get his chance to test himself against the UFC’s best. It should be interesting to see how Dana revises his personal fighter rankings moving forward.
Hats off to Keith Jardine. After taking the fight against the dangerous Mousasi on nine days notice, many expected to be reading his obituary this morning. Exhausted and battered, Jardine never quit fighting. That being said, the Majority Draw decision is once again a tough one to swallow. Obviously we wouldn’t be here if Mousasi hadn’t landed that upkick, which while illegal probably helped Jardine catch his breath more than anything. Even giving Jardine the first round and deducting the point for the foul, it still seems clear that he lost this fight in the truest sense of the word. Stats never tell the whole tale, but the fight they’re describing here sounds like an ass-whipping, and if we apply the ol’ “whose face got fucked up” criteria, things don’t look much better for “The Dean of Mean”. Jardine did take Mousasi down quite a few times, but more often than not he lost the brief exchanges on the mat. If nothing else, this fight reminds us that Jardine is one tough son of a bitch, that Mousasi drastically needs to work on his takedown defense, and that MMA judging is still in need of refinement.
Many questioned the decision to follow up Lyle Beerbohm’s first career defeat with a fight against an even tougher opponent, and they were right to do so. Despite his assertions that he had no fear of Aoki’s ground game and that he was “unsubbable”, “Fancy Pants” found himself on the business end of a vicious neck crank. Aoki fended off early takedown attempts only to land his own less than a minute into the fight. Some 49 seconds later he had taken Beerbohm’s back and transitioned from a rear naked choke to a painful crank across the jaw and face. It was a much better showing for Aoki than his Strikeforce debut, though the level of competition may have had something to do with it.?
Nick Diaz def. Paul Daley via TKO (Punches) 4:54, R1
Gilbert Melendez def. Tatsuya Kawajiri via TKO (Elbows) 3:14 R1
Gegard Mousasi DRAWS Keith Jardine (Majority Draw) 3 Rounds
Shinya Aoki def. Lyle Beerbohm via Submission (Neck Crank) 1:33 R1
Casey Ryan def. Paul Song via Submission (Triangle Choke) – 1:39 R1
Rolando Perez def. Edgar Cardenas via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Herman Terrado def. A.J. Matthews via TKO (Punches) – 4:16 R1
Joe Duarte def. Saad Awad via submission (Armbar) – 2:45 R2
Virgil Swicker def. Brett Albee via TKO (Strikes) – 1:46 R1
Robert Peralta def. Hiroyuki Takaya via Split Decision (30-27, 30-27, 28-29)
- Chris Colemon