We’re now only a few days away from Strikeforce: “Diaz vs. Daley. In the main event, Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz looks to successfully defend his belt for the third time (which would make him the most dominant champion in Strikeforce history) by beating challenger and notorious bad-boy Paul Daley. The co-main event will also be an interesting match-up, as Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez returns after almost a year off to make the second defense of his championship, this time against Tatsuya Kawajiri. As is customary, here is my official “picks and predictions” post (covering who I think will win and why), now featuring Strikeforce: “Diaz vs. Daley”.
Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley: This one’s the million-dollar question of the night. Here’s how I think it will go: I think Diaz will put the ego away and focus on his counter-striking. Daley will land, but he’ll never land with the kind of power to one-hit KO Diaz. He might stagger Diaz, but Nick will go into survival mode and take Daley down. If Daley doesn’t land that kind of shot, Diaz will take him down anyway just because he can. Once Diaz realizes how easy it is to put Daley on his back, he’ll keep doing it. Nick Diaz wins by Submission in Round 3, possibly Round 2.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri: Although he’s primarily known as a striker, the last time “Crusher” Kawajiri (T)KO’d anyone was in 2009. In fact, the last time he was able to string together at least two straight (T)KO wins was in 2006. Worse yet, Melendez already holds a victory over Kawajiri. There’s a chance that Melendez will show up rusty and Kawajiri will nail a KO blow, but I just don’t see that happening. Gilbert Melendez will win this one by Unanimous Decision.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine: It’s too much and too soon for “The Dean of Mean”. Since getting the boot out of the UFC on the heels of a four-fight losing-streak that saw him get KO’d twice, Jardine has gone 2-1 on the regional circuit, beating two non-entities and losing to Trevor Prangley. It truly pains me to say this, but I don’t think Jardine has done anything to deserve a fight with a former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion. If Jardine wins this one, I’d be beyond shocked. I’d even be surprised if he makes it out of the first round, which I don’t think he will. Gegard Mousasi wins by first-round TKO.
Shinya Aoki vs. Lyle Beerbohm: If this was a few years ago, back when Aoki was tearing people’s limbs off with reckless abandon, I’d immediately call for Beerbohm to lose by submission. But not only has Aoki slowed down a bit, several of his glaring weaknesses continue to be exploited, namely his relatively weak chin and his nearly-nonexistent stand-up game. I think Beerbohm will have to fight through some submission attempts, and I won’t rule out Aoki grabbing something and forcing the tap, but my gut and my head are in agreement: Beerbohm will more than likely be able to dominate Aoki standing as well as on the ground, all the while avoiding and/or eventually breaking any submission attempts. Lyle Beerbohm wins by Unanimous Decision.
And that’s what I think, fans and friends. But what about you? Who do you see winning, and why, at Strikeforce: “Diaz vs. Daley”?