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The After Party – “Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley”

It may not have been business as usual for the organization given the men sitting cageside but it was business as usual for the fighters. Once again, the Strikeforce fighters delivered a top-notch event culminating in the main event, which is an early contender for fight of the year. If Sam Puckett kissing Freddie Benson didn’t have you screaming “iOMG” then Strikeforce certainly had you off your couch and yelling in excitement. By the way, if Sam starts dating Freddie, I would happily keep Miranda Cosgrove company.

Nick Diaz defeated Paul Daley via TKO (Strikes) at 4:57 of Round One to retain the Strikeforce Welterweight Title

After all the trash talking, Nick Diaz and Paul Daley finally let their fists do the work and it was Diaz who came out on top.

If you have five minutes to spare and want to see two guys punch each other until one of them eventually needs help up, then watch this fight. From the moment the bell sounded, Diaz came out and started taunting and trash talking Daley. “Semtex” responded by clipping Diaz with a left hook that had the champ stunned. Diaz managed to recover though and the trash talking continued. Being a man who backs up his talking, Diaz then took the fight to Daley. He started to methodically pick him apart with his hands like only Diaz can do. Not one of take a verbal or literal jab without responding, Daley fired right back. Diaz appeared to hurt Daley with a body shot that had Daley going for and succeeding with a takedown. Diaz was quickly up and the two went back to swinging away. In the middle of an exchange, Daley dropped Diaz with a big left hook and it appeared that Diaz was out. He wasn’t though and he managed to roll to his back and survive an onslaught of ground and pound by Daley. After again getting to his feet, Diaz stumbled Daley with a flurry and after Daley pushed Diaz away, he ended up falling to his back, where Diaz immediately pounced on him and hurt him with a series of punches that forced the ref to jump in with just three seconds left in the round. Maybe the stoppage was early given the time remaining but Daley needed help getting on the stool after the fight and I’d much rather a fight be stopped too early than a fighter take more punishment in the ensuing seconds/round. It was the most exciting round of MMA action of the year and the words you just read did not do it justice. Diaz became the first man to stop Daley with strikes and once again successfully defend his title.

Daley got what he wanted in this fight. Diaz stood with him and, even though Daley had his flashes of offense, Diaz won. I’m not sure if Daley wasn’t in great shape or he underestimated the power of Diaz because I’ve never seen Daley hurt like that on the feet before. I think the body shots took a lot out of him and the pace of Diaz overwhelmed him. Daley’s entire strategy seemed to be to cover up and then swing wildly in hopes of catching Diaz. It wasn’t a terrible idea, and it did work for him to a degree, but he obviously took far more damage than he dished out. It’s anyone’s guess as to what happened to Daley next. If he’s smart, he’ll be on his best behavior and be grateful for the opportunities that Strikeforce gives him in hopes of returning to the UFC once the two companies eventually merge. Of course since we’re talking about Daley, he’ll probably pop off at the mouth, say or do something stupid, and end up fighting in BAMMA for the rest of his career.

No matter what you think of Diaz, you can’t deny that the man comes to fight. While I still don’t think standing with Daley was the best strategy in the world, and it almost got him in trouble a couple of times, Diaz proved why he’s one of the best technical boxers in MMA. And so much for the “peppering punches” of Diaz. It’s more like “starching strikes,” am I right Mauro Ranallo? The only knock against Diaz now his is lack of competition. Daley was his toughest opponent since Takanori Gomi, and even Daley was barely considered a top ten welterweight. Unfortunately for Diaz, as long as he’s in Strikeforce, he’s just not going to face top competition. Unless they can somehow put together the Diaz vs. Jason Miller grudge match, which seems a lot more likely now that Zuffa can throw more money their way, it looks like Diaz will face Tyron Woodley next. And while Woodley might develop into a championship contender, based on his last few fights, he certainly isn’t ready for one of the best welterweights in the world. Who knows though, maybe Diaz will want to take the majority of the rest of the year off, maybe Georges St. Pierre will beat Jake Shields, and maybe UFC will decide that St. Pierre needs a new challenger at welterweight since he won’t move up to middleweight, and Diaz will be the man who gets the call, setting up a December showdown between the Stockton bad boy and the Canadian hero.

Predicted Next Fights: Daley vs. Roger Bowling – Diaz vs. Woodley

Gilbert Melendez defeated Tatsuya Kawajiri via TKO (Strikes) at 3:14 of Round One to retain the Strikeforce Lightweight Title

Gilbert Melendez said he was looking to make a statement against Tatsuya Kawajiri, and that’s exactly what he did.

Melendez wasted no time taking the fight to Kawajiri. He immediately stumbled “The Crusher” with a right hand and then followed that up with a series of knees in the clinch. It looked like Melendez was going to put Kawajiri away on the ground with a submission, as he got the back of his Japanese opponent, but Kawajiri was able to get to his feet and survive. Kawajiri fired back with a couple of good right hands of his own but Melendez ate them and responded in kind. Kawajiri went for a takedown but Melendez was waiting for him and caught him with an uppercut. After taking some punches from the sprawl positions, Kawajiri dropped to his back, where Melendez made him pay by pounding him out with a vicious series of elbows. Melendez had something to prove and he did just that, dominating Kawajiri and retaining his belt.

I don’t hold this terrible performance against Kawajiri. His mind clearly seemed to be elsewhere all week leading up to the fight and Melendez was hungrier than Kirstie Alley after a five-hour tango training session. I’m not saying Kawajiri would have defeated Melendez had he been 100% mentally and actually bothered training in a cage, but the circumstances certainly didn’t help him. He was rocked from the very first strike thrown, and even though he tried his best hang in there and fire back, Melendez never let him fully recover. I’m sure Kawajiri will get another chance in Strikeforce, mainly because DREAM is all but dead, and hopefully there aren’t outside factors that hinder his training and mindset.

Melendez believes he’s the number one lightweight in the world and after this performance; it’s tough to argue with him. He took the fight to Kawajiri, hurt him early, and then never let him rest. Melendez definitely looked like a guy who hadn’t fought in a year, a guy who had the best training camp off his life, and a guy who had something to prove. But how much does Melendez have left to prove in Strikeforce? He’s beaten all top contenders, and while I would have loved a Josh Thomson vs. Melendez 3 a year ago and I thought it should have been immediate after their second battle, I don’t care to see it with Thomson coming off a loss. There’s simply no one left for Melendez in Strikeforce. If UFC is going to start plucking guys out of Strikeforce before they officially merge, Melendez should be the first guy taken. I’d love it if Melendez could face Jim Miller in a couple of months (pending Anthony Pettis beats Clay Guida) for a shot at UFC gold. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will happen and Melendez will end up fighting Jorge Masvidal or KJ Noons later on this year, with Masvidal being the leading candidate.

Predicted Next Fights: Kawajiri vs. Justin Wilcox – Melendez vs. Masvidal

Gegard Mousasi and Keith Jardine fought to a Majority Draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)

Taking the fight on short notice, the always-tough Keith Jardine gave Gegard Mousasi all he could handle and it was enough to earn him an unsatisfying draw.

As everyone should have suspected, Jardine came to fight. He had trouble connecting with anything on the feet so he switched things up and started using his wrestling against Mousasi. He managed to takedown Mousasi multiple times in the first round although once the ground, Mousasi was almost immediately back up. On one occasion, Mousasi caught Jardine with an illegal up kick as Jardine was still on his knees. Instead of warning Mousasi for the blow, which didn’t seem to effect Jardine as one may think, the ref, who looked like a lost member of ZZ Top, decided to deduct a point from Mousasi. On the feet, Mousasi roughed up Jardine by getting inside and landing short punches and uppercuts. It was a close round but as someone who believes damage is more important than takedowns that lead to nothing, I gave the round to Mousasi. The second and third rounds were largely the same. Mousasi picked apart Jardine on the feet, landing the jab at will and winning almost all the exchanges. Jardine once again scored a couple of takedowns and once again failed to do anything with them. The most significant happenings in the rounds were early in the third, when Mousasi had Jardine in what looked to be a tight guillotine choke but Jardine was able to get free, and late in the third when Mousasi got Jardine down and was slicing him with elbows. As the fight ended and both men stood up, Jardine’s face was a bloody mess while Mousasi looked none the worse for wear. Despite proving that he was the better fighter on this night, Mousasi’s hand would not be raised in victory as two judges saw the fight as a draw, making the opinion of the judge who scored the bout for Mousasi useless, and ending the fight in a majority draw.

You can’t help but to be impressed with Jardine in this fight. He took the bout on just over a weeks notice and he let it all hang out in the cage. He wasn’t in the condition to go 15 hard minutes but he did the best he could given the circumstances. I thought he had the right strategy, going for takedowns instead of getting into a striking contest with Mousasi, but he just couldn’t capitalize once he got Mousasi down. Credit Mousasi, who was a lot less content lying on his back in this fight than he was against “King Mo” Lawal. Jardine felt he won the fight, and while I admire his attitude, no one in their right mind actually thought he won. Then again, after getting punched in the face multiple times, I’m not so sure Jardine was in his right mind when he made those comments. It looks like Jardine and Mousasi will rematch and with a full training camp, Jardine should make it even more competitive next time around.

Mousasi did everything right in this fight, he was just a victim of a flawed system. It had to be a little worrisome for Mousasi though that he couldn’t put away a notoriously weak chinned Jardine on short notice. He shouldn’t be punished by a system for failing to finish a tough opponent though. If Mousasi can take anything away from this fight, it’s that his takedown defense is still really bad. He needs to spend time training in America and working on his takedown defense with a top camp. Like in the Lawal fight, Mousasi does a good job stopping the initial attempt but if guys drive through, like Jardine did, he eventually wilts and goes down. I think Mousasi realized in the third round that he can get Jardine down and rough him up on the ground and I suspect he’ll go to that strategy much earlier in the rematch, which is why I’d have to favor him when they meet again.

Predicted Next Fights: Jardine vs. Mousasi 2

Shinya Aoki defeated Lyle Beerbohm via Submission (Neck Crank) at 1:33 of Round One

Proving that there is still hope of Japanese MMA, Shinya Aoki demonstrated why he’s one of the best submission grapplers in MMA by making short work of Lyle Beerbohm.

Even though he was facing a guy with limited stand up but one of the best ground games in the world, Beerbohm decided to almost immediately clinch with Aoki. That would be the first step towards his downfall as Aoki quickly tripped Beerbohm to the canvas, made his way to the back, and then locked on a body triangle followed by a neck crank. Beerbohm tried his best to fight out but Aoki’s strength proved to be too much and Beerbohm was forced to submit. The win was not only much needed but also very emotional for the “Baka Survivor,” who was representing his home country of Japan during their recent tragedy.

I don’t know who Beerbohm’s strategy coach is (and I’m under the opinion that every fighter has or should have a strategy coach) but he should be immediately fired. And if Beerbohm decided on that strategy for himself, I would not have him plan anything for the next year or so. That includes, but is not limited to, daily activities, birthday parties, weddings, setting up a blog, road trips, and how to fight world-class grapplers. I’m sure Beerbohm will move back down to the Challengers events with this loss and I hope he realizes how bad he blew a big opportunity this past Saturday night. I’d like to see him fight Caros Fodor next because I think Fodor has potential and Beerbohm would be able to test him since I believe that Beerbohm can be a tough out when his head is on straight.

Aoki might be considered one-dimensional but he’s pretty dang good at that one dimension. Of course he’s not one-dimensional though because he has better takedowns than given credit for, especially in the clinch, which we saw in this fight. Once he got Beerbohm on the ground, it was over faster than Anchorwoman. Even though Aoki was deal with the same mental angst that Kawajiri had being from Japan, Aoki seemed to put it out of his mind better in the week leading up to the fight, which is a huge credit to him. Aoki is still a top lightweight in the world and he showed in this fight that if you’re dumb enough to fight him in close corners, he’s going to make you pay. Josh Thomson makes sense of Aoki as a next opponent seeing as Thomson is a very credible opponent and Aoki is about the only top Japanese fighter that he hasn’t fought recently.

Predicted Next Fights: Beerbohm vs. Fodor – Aoki vs. Thomson

After an outstanding Strikeforce event, the spotlight is now on Bellator. With two more weeks until UFC 129, Bellator has the next two Saturday nights unopposed to capture the MMA audience. I encourage everyone to check out the events because Bellator consistently delivers good shows.

PHOTO CREDIT – ESTHER LIN / STRIKEFORCE

20 COMMENTS
  • Rece Rock says:

    It will be interesting to see if they actually do rematch Jardine and Gegard… maybe Jardine will look better with a full camp and knowing his opponent better.

  • Rece Rock says:

    “After an outstanding Strikeforce event, the spotlight is now on Bellator. With two more weeks until UFC 129, Bellator has the next two Saturday nights unopposed to capture the MMA audience. I encourage everyone to check out the events because Bellator consistently delivers good shows.”

    Yes… Thank you.

  • boomnutz says:

    btw, that should not have been a draw, Mousasi def won all three rounds

  • Angry Mike says:

    Even with the point deduction, there’s no way the Mousasi/Jardine fight was a draw.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    What I did find odd ( other than a I Carly reference on a mma site that is) Is that the one fight on the card that wasnt supposed to be competitive at all, Mousasi vs Jardine , ended up going 3 rounds. But the other three fights that looked pretty even all ended very definitativly. Very good night though, but damm do I want to see Gilbert make his way to the UFC right now.

  • THEGUNNER says:

    Its rumered that the spyder isnt fightng gsp I would like to see gsp vs diaz.

  • boomnutz says:

    who the fuck game me and Angry Mike a thumbs down, it’s obviously the same idiot, there is no way that was a draw, he easily won all three rounds…

    what was up with that’s ref’s stache!?!?!

  • MCM says:

    Can I ask what a rematch between Mousasi and Jardine does for anyone?

    Jardine has stated that he wants to fight at 185. He was already on his way down there when he got the call to fight Gegard at 205. If he wants to fight at 185, why push it back to fight Mousasi again? Especially if he’s just gonna drop down to MW (win or lose) afterwords anyway.

    Gegard said he thought the draw was fair. What does fighting a guy that’s headed to a lower weight class give him? If he got an “L” because of a b.s. point deduction, I could see why he would like to erase that loss. But Jardine didn’t even have a training camp for this last fight and took him the distance, is it worth risking a loss to a fully prepared Jardine just to avenge a draw? Especially when most people (including those that sign the checks) think he rightfully won that fight.

    What does SF gain by having these two fight again? They’ve signed Jardine to a mulit-fight contract, if he loses, than they have a fighter on their roster that hasn’t won a fight under Zuffa in his past 6 fights within the companies. If Keith wins, he takes out one of their top LHW’s from making a title run and further diminishes their LHW roster. If Mousasi wins, then he stands exactly where is now in SF’s rankings.

    I just don’t see the reasoning behind pitting these two up against each other again.

  • bigbadjohn says:

    I’ll usually be the first to defend a wrestler when he holds his opponent down for the duration of the fight and executes minimal damage to capture the win but Not Today.Jardine was not the better man. Mousasi got to his feet immediately after every TD on Saturday, even with the deduction how was that fight a tie? King Mo got his face thrashed by Mousasi and rode it out for 5 rounds but at least he actually stayed on top! I guess some blame has to fall on Gegard though, with his horrible TD defense he’ll get eaten up in the UFC by the great equalizer- more wrestlers, but better.

  • MCM says:

    Melendez is in a hell of a predicament. The only fighter outside the UFC that is anywhere near his league is Eddy Alvarez and with Zuffa now owning SF, we’ll never see that co-pro happen. Melendez needs to sever ties with SF and join the UFC or some UFC fighters need to move over to SF. Mazvidal is a good fighter but nowhere near the top like Gilbert is. Miller is a great choice, but so is Ben Henderson, a rematch with Guida (since I doubt he’ll ever fight for UFC gold), or Sherk (mostly on name recognition). I think everyone just about agrees that he needs to fight for the UFC if he wants legitimately claim #1 LW in the world, though.

    I know Aoki belongs in Japan, but I’m hoping that his successful showing leads to more fights in the US. I would like to see what he could do against K.J. Noons.

  • Screenplaya says:

    Anyone complaining about the judging in the Jardine/Mousasi draw needs to have their head examined. You can complain about the point deduction by the ref, but it is plainly reasonable for 2 of 3 judges to have given round one to Jardine. That makes it a draw.

  • elsicilian says:

    Gilbert Melendez looked like the best fighter in the world on Saturday … jesus those elbows were terrifying!

  • Creature says:

    the 1st round of the jardine fight wasnt a blow out round.. it was fairly close plus the point deduction i easily see why it came to a draw.. but even with that said i still think mousassi won. but then again jardine was not in “fight shape” at all.. also agree that a rematch is pointless.. just let the draw go and let jardine move to MW and just make the kyle and mousassi fight happen

  • Angry Mike says:

    “You can complain about the point deduction by the ref, but it is plainly reasonable for 2 of 3 judges to have given round one to Jardine. That makes it a draw.”

    Ahh, no, it doesn’t. If those same two judges scored the second and third rounds for Mousasi, Mousasi wins regardless of what the third judge does. In order for the result to be a draw, two of the three judges had to allocate points such that Mousasi and Jardine had the same point total at the end of the fight. There are a number of ways that can happen.

  • MCM says:

    Yes it does Mike.
    But I know that at least one of the Judges scored the 2nd round for Jardine. I think the scores for Jardine were…
    10-8, 9-10, 9-10 = 28
    9-9, 10-9, 9-10 = 28
    9-9, 9-10, 9-10 = 27

  • Angry Mike says:

    MCM

    I don’t think we disagree. Screenplaya said that if two of the judges scored the first round for Jardine, that means there’s a draw. Logically that’s incorrect, and your summary explains that something else had to happen before there was a draw. One of the judges also scored the second round for Jardine.

  • joe mo mma says:

    Has anyone seen the Ariel Helwani post fight interview with Nick Diaz? I had no idea Nick Diaz was such an idiot. The guy can’t hold a single thought in his head without rambling on about something else. Props to him for being a great competitor, but man is he mess up in the brain.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Is it the weed? Is it the concussions? Did he get dropped on his head as a child? Regardless, he’s a helluva striker.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    MMA does not award the winner of the fight with the win. In many instances it awards the guy who out wrestled his opponent the win even though he did little damage if any and recieved huge amounts himself. The scoring as it stands awards people who avoid fights, suffer more damage, stall and smother. This is a fact.
    Aoki is 1-1 in the US. He lost to a top 4 fighter and beat a guy who was 16-1. So WTF are people talking about when they say he belongs in Japan or he can’t handle the US?.
    Diaz is in my opinion 1 of the top 3 fighters at WW. I don’t want to hear “but who has he beaten”.
    Well he has beaten everyone he has faced in the last 5 years. Face it when you say “but who has he beaten” you really mean “but he hasn’t fought in the UFC”. Besides Smith, Shamrock, Daley, Noons, Neer, Gomi, Zaromskis, Sakurai, Tibau and Santos are not to be scoffed at. Fitch is not a great fighter, he smothers his opponents fails to finish them and avoids as many exchanges as possible to out point his opponent by stopping his opponent from being able to attack him, so I drop him down the ranks for that and because he had a draw with a fighter who is a natural LW and a borderline top 10. Diaz’s BJJ is excellent, his striking is excellent, he finishes 80% of his fights, never relies on out pointing or avoiding an exchange.
    The same can be said for the top LW fighters in the UFC Maynard and Edgar to some extent. Are they not skilled enough to finish opponents? or are they just not trying?. Either way, and I suspect it is a mix of the 2, they lose rank in my opinion. If you are unable to finish opponents you are not as good as a fighter who can and does.
    Mousasi beat Jardine up. Mousasi up kicked Jardine which took a point away and along with the meaningless take downs that Jardie did nothing with and Mousasi defended time after time or stood up after time after time gave the guy who got the shit beat out of him a draw. MMA scoring is completely wrong and needs to be changed. At the moment we award guys who run, smother, avoid fighting and abuse the rules to win. How often is it that the winner of a match is not the winner of the fight or is just a non-finishing grinder? Way too often.
    Change the rules or Jon Fitch will become the norm and more and more fights will be awarded to guys that were beaten up.

  • Creature says:

    Logic what in the hell are you smoking??

    “The scoring as it stands awards people who avoid fights, suffer more damage, stall and smother. This is a fact.”
    really now? so when Fitch, GSP, Hughes, Lesnar, and Rashad all use there wrestling.. there stalling? and avoiding the fight? you seriously call yourself a fan of MMA? ok 1. when they use there wrestling the only thing there avoiding is the strengths of there opponents while using there own. its called being a smart fighter.

    ” Fitch is not a great fighter, he smothers his opponents fails to finish them and avoids as many exchanges as possible to out point his opponent by stopping his opponent from being able to attack him”
    pretty sure i remember him getting into some exchanges with alves. and when do you see Fitch getting beat up while one top? id love to know.. and oh yeah about the avoiding opponents from attacking you, again are you serious?? oh yeah lets stand and trade with a guy who has extensive muay thai experience, heck why doesnt everyone just leave there hands down with there chin up so there “fighting” in your eyes.. i agree jardine lost, ill agree the judging needs work, but what your saying is honestly just stupid.. guys who “run” lose points lose points, just look at the sanchez/kampmann fight, the only reason kampmann lost that fight was becuase sanchez was being the agressor. and just because fighters dont “finish” fights, doesnt mean there not good. Diaz has fought alot of mid tier fighters, not because there not UFC. its because there fighting skill is mid level.. i really hope Diaz comes over to the UFC, and when GSP, Fitch, and prolly even Koscheck and anthony johnson beat him. i can just laugh even more at you. go back to watching kickboxing and boxing if all your gonna do is bad mouth fighters you use more wrestling than others and because it takes them to the top of the sport.

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