MMA fans have speculated for months about the possibility of a Nick Diaz versus Paul Daley Strikeforce welterweight matchup. On March 1, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker announced the two fighters will meet at the Strikeforce fight card scheduled for April 9. The April 9 fight card was originally intended to host the second series of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix event. Instead the fight card will now feature a championship bout between Nick Diaz and Paul Daley, a lightweight title fight between Gilbert Melendez and Tatsuya Kawajiri, and the return of former Strikeforce lightweight champion KJ Noons.
Paul Daley versus Nick Diaz should turn out to be a successful Strikeforce event. Both MMA fighters have very aggressive demeanors, and it’s is unlikely either fighter will shy away from contact. Daley clearly has more than enough punching power to knock out any MMA fighter in the welterweight division. His takedown defense has been good in past fights, and only a few wrestling based MMA fighters like Josh Koscheck have been able to keep Daley on his back.
Nick Diaz is also a solid striker. While he doesn’t throw hail makers around like Daley does, Diaz’s punches are accurate, and the damage suffered from them accumulates over the rounds. Diaz has been on a tear ever since he left the UFC in 2006. His only loss since then was due to a cut suffered in his title bout against KJ Noons. Diaz has won 11 fights since his UFC departure, and is currently on an eight fight winning streak. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu edge obviously does to the Gracie black belt Nick Diaz, and Daley will be wise to avoid the ground game.
If Diaz comes out and executes a smart game plan, he should be able to defend his title against the brash Daley. Diaz should be able to grapple Daley to the ground, and use his Cesar Gracie training to his advantage. If Diaz decides to stand with Daley, it might only take one of Daley’s explosive hooks to hand the current Strikeforce welterweight champion his first loss in over three years.
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