Of the two major fight cards remaining this month (Diaz vs. Daley and UFC 129), which fight are you most anticipating and why?
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
I’m not overly interested in UFC 129, to tell the truth. Lots of names, lots of mismatches. I’m a Jake Shields mark, but I know he’s got little chance. Couture’s going to get picked apart by Machida. The most competitive fight of the three big fights should be Aldo vs. Hominick, because Hominick is the only underdog of the three to have a literal “puncher’s chance.” My two favorite fights on the card are Bocek vs. Henderson, and Diaz vs. MacDonald. It’s awesome that there are two title fights and a big gate, but the quality of the card itself is misleading because of the big names and the multiple title shots.
Now, the Strikeforce card is the most intriguing card Strikeforce has ever put together. I love everything about the card, other than the fact that Takaya’s fight won’t be on the tellie (that’s for Mr. Park). Aoki vs. Beerbohm is probably a mismatch, but I want to see every Aoki fight. It’s also interesting to me to see him fight in a cage against someone who isn’t at the level of Gil Melendez. Mousasi vs. Jardine is a fantastic fight, especially on short notice. Mousasi is fighting for a title shot (presumably), and Jardine is fighting for his career. And the two title fights will be more competitive than either of UFC 129’s title fights.
Gilbert Melendez will be fighting for the first time in 51 weeks. his opponent, Tatsuya Kawajiri, is the best lightweight in the world that Melendez can fight right now (Alvarez is tied to Bellator. Aoki, well, we don’t need to see THAT again…). Kawajiri is still close enough to his prime to be a legitimate opponent. And the half step he may or may not have lost will be mitigated by the opportunity to avenge his loss to Melendez at Pride Shockwave 2006. Crusher won’t get shredded like Aoki did.
And then the main event… Damn (tm Ron Simmons). Nick Diaz hasn’t fought anybody even close to Paul Daley’s level since he No Contested Takanori Gomi four years ago (hard to believe it’s been 4 years, aint it?) Not to go all wiki on you, but check out the list of has-beens and never-weres that Diaz has fought since the Gomi fight:
* Mike Aina
* K.J. Noons
* Katsuya Inoue (not Enson…)
* Mushin Corbbrey
* Thomas Denny
* Frank Shamrock (not in 1999)
* Scott Smith
* Marius Zaromskis
* Hayato Sakurai (not in 2005)
* Cyborg Santos
OK, so I went all Wiki on you after all. But I had to, because there’s no way in hell you can instantly recall that entire list of guys. We finally get the answer to the question we all want to know; Just how good is Nick Diaz? He is the most unique fighter (stylistically) in the world, and is easily one of the five most polarizing figures in all of sports entertainment (it’s a sport, it’s entertainment, so up yours Vince).
And then you’ve got The Legend of Paul Daley (think Benatar. SOMEONE is going to get that reference…). Daley is fighting not only Nick Diaz, but Zuffa as well. And common sense, and his own well-being, and…
There’s just so much to love about this fight. I honestly haven’t looked forward to a fight more than this one since… since, um, I’ll get back to you on that one.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I have to go with Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick. I think that fight is going to be spectacular. I want to see if Aldo is going to make another statement, or will Hominick pull off the upset? Both guys are such good strikers. This is a great match-up that I’m very excited for. Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida is an interesting fight, but only to see how they choose to engage each other. I don’t think Jake Shields has much of a chance against Georges St. Pierre, I see that being a walkover for GSP. Shields does a few things really well, wrestling and ground-and-pound. However, he doesn’t do either as well as GSP so that spells major trouble for him. I think GSP actually finishes this fight, though he could take another dominant decision if Shields is able to last.
GRIFFIN MARSH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I’m looking forward to the GSP-Shields fight the most. I want to see Jake Shields fight a guy he can’t physically hold down. A man who forces him to strike in GSP. Folks, GSP is going to knock Jake Shields out. And it won’t take five minutes for him to do it.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think the Diaz vs. Daley fight is going to be a better fight than any at UFC 129. This match up should be an excellent and explosive fight. GSP is going to dominate Shields and will grind out a another victory. I am also looking forward to the Randy Coture vs. Lyoto Machida fight. That one should be fun too.
ALVIN CARTER, MMATORCH SPECIALIST
UFC 129 is stacked and incredibly exciting. The GSP vs Shields hype has lost some steam since Jon Jones dismantled Shogun Rua. Even though the main event isn’t entirely intriguing, we have Jose Aldo, Randy Couture, and Lyoto Machida on the same card. Just about every fight in the 129 card us exciting.
MIKE BACIOR, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Diaz-Daley. This has pure excitement written all over it. As much as I am anticipating GSP-Shields, this will purely be an exciting fight from the opening second to whenever it ends. GSP-Shields… Probably not so much.
ALEX WILLIAMS, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
UFC 129. Daley-Diaz is a fine card, particularly for a free (well, premium cable) show, but UFC 129’s triple main event (GSP-Shields, Aldo-Hominick, and Machida-Couture) makes it something that too few pay-per-views are anymore: worth the money.
JAMIE PENICK, MMATORCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
The Nick Diaz-Paul Daley fight is the fight I can’t wait to see. Nick Diaz, regardless of your thoughts on him outside of the cage, is one of the most intriguing fighters to watch. Unfortunately, he’s been content to fight opponents well below his rank for the last several years, and so fans haven’t been able to see just how good he can be. This is a chance for him to change that against the best opponent he’s fought in a very long time in Daley, and with both fighters looking to knock the other’s head off their shoulders, this is going to be one hell of a fight. It’s simply a fantastic welterweight fight between two exciting fighters, and it’s bound to be one of the more exciting fights of the year in any organization.