This is the first major Strikeforce card under the Zuffa banner (last week’s Strikeforce Challengers card was technically the first but like no one watched that). Most would focus on the Nick Diaz and Paul Daley fight but I am actually excited to see the Japanese fighters Tatsuya Kawajiri and Shinya Aoki stateside. Also I am almost equally excited to see the Dean of Mean Keith Jardine back in the big leagues.
On a side note, it is interesting that of the fighters on this card currently only Paul Daley and Keith Jardine have MMA cards but I suspect that is about to change due to the buyout.
Nick Diaz vs Paul Daley
Nick Diaz by Submission in the Second
Daley is a one trick pony and Nick Diaz is the complete package. As long as Diaz doesn’t do something stupid like stand and bang with Daley he should be able to take Daley down and hopefully submit him.
Gilbert Melendez vs Tatsuya Kawajiri
Gilbert Melendez by Judges’ Decision
I admit I haven’t watch Tatsuya Kawajiri fight as much as I would like but I do know Gilbert Melendez is a beast and he has already beat Kawajiri once before in addition to beating arguably the best Japan has to offer in his last fight (Shinya Aoki). Don’t get me wrong though. Kawajiri is no push over only losing to Shinya Aoki and Eddie Alvarez (both top five lightweights in my book) since Melendez vs Kawajiri 1 but I am just very high on Melendez. He is quite well rounded and he should be equipped to go where ever the fights takes him. Plus if Kawajiri does win the belt, it will never get defended. Kind of like the Strikeforce Heavyweight Belt…
Gegard Mousasi vs Keith Jardine
Gegard Mousasi by Knockout in the Third
This is a very, very tough fight for The Dean of Mean Keith Jardine especially on short notice. Gegard Mousasi is legit and it just sucks that really only the hardcore fans know what he is capable of. His striking is top notch and in the past, Jardine’s chin has been questionable so it is not too far of stretch to see Mousasi knocking out Jardine in the later rounds of the fight.
Shinya Aoki vs Lyle Beerbohm
Lyle Beerbohm by Judges’ Decision
The Battle of the Fancy Pants!! With a quick glance, you have to think Shinya Aoki is the heavy favorite here but I am actually going with a upset. Aoki’s weakness seem to be strong wrestlers and Beerbohm’s wrestling is solid. I am foreseeing Beerbohm executing a similar game plan as Gilbert Melendez, using his wrestling to keep the fight standing while getting a few takedowns for points. Beerbohm just has to be cautious like Melendez and never get into a situation where he may be submitted.