By Rich Hansen: MMA Torch All-Around Swell Guy
STRIKEFORCE: DIAZ VS. DALEY
LIVE FROM SAN JOSE, CA
– In the preliminary fight action, DREAM Featherweight Champion Hiroyuki Takaya, a consensus top-10 Featherweight, lost a split decision to Robert Peralta (30-27, 30-27, 28-29). New rule – No more ranking anyone who fights primarily in Japan.
– The lead-in to the testosterone-laden cage-fighting was United States of Tara. Ah, corporate synergy.
– Tonight’s program is rated TV-14 due to, adult language? Um, I coulda sworn there was some violence involved here. I guess Kalib Starnes is fighting tonight…
– Gus Johnson narrates an opening video montage.
– If Frank Shamrock is retired from fighting, why is he in the open? Just sayin.
– Speaking of the open, give me the gladiator, sepia, and bad nu-metal any day of the week.
– At this point, I firmly believe that Gus Johnson has had his lips tattooed hot-pink.
– Mauro Ranallo interviewed Scott Coker about the Strikeforce sale, without mentioning who bought Strikeforce until 3 or 4 questions in. Coker his all the talking points he’s covered over the past month or so.
FIGHT ONE: SHINYA AOKI VS. LYLE BEERBOHM (LIGHTWEIGHT)
Somewhere, Pat Healy is shaking his head, with a single tear trailing down his cheek. Aoki’s music started while Beerbohm was getting Vaseline applied to his face. See, Showtime IS still running production for Showtime. Nice pop for Aoki.
ROUND ONE: John McCarthy is your referee. Aoki presses Beerbohm against the cage. Grapple, grapple, grapple, Aoki with the takedown. I gotta say, both these guys’ trunks are freaking awesome. Oh, the fight. Sorry. Aoki got his back, then a neck crank, and it’s over about 90 seconds in.
WINNER: Shinya Aoki via submission (neck crank), 1:33 into Round 1.
POST-FIGHT: Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, Dominick Cruz, Jake Shields, and Nate Diaz are all shown on camera and introduced to the audio. Ranallo also plugged UFC 129.
STAR RATING: (**) Nothing fight. Hopefully Joe Silva will get some additional job duties pretty soon.
FIGHT TWO: GEGARD MOUSASI VS. KEITH JARDINE (LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT)
– Gus Johnson’s mic makes him sound like he’s underwater. #BuinessAsUsual
– Check that, it sound like ALL audio is on mono.
– Very strange to see UFC video clips of Jardine being used on a Strikeforce show. I’ll get used to it.
– Mousasi looks hyper, excited, nervous, and I think he’s about to throw up.
– no, not really.
– Shamrock says Mousasi’s key to victory is to take it to the ground. He also said Mousasi has some reach on Jardine, and circled the reach numbers. Both men’s reaches are 76″
ROUND ONE: Mike Beltran is your referee. The audio on the announcer’s microphones is really bad. Jardine shoots, stuffed. Nice right leg kick by Jardine to Mousasi’s lead leg. Mousasi presses Jardine up to the cage, lands a nice shot before backing away. Jardine shoots a single leg, pushes Mousasi up to the fence. Still holding the single leg. The referee has a ZZ Top beard and a bald head, but that’s neither here nor there, now is it? Jardine gets the takedown, got his back, turned unto Mousasi, Mousasi gets back up. Jardine gets another takedown, does nothing with it, and back to the feet. Mousasi lands a nice right, Jardine is tiring. I wish Showtime used about 2 more cameras. Mousasi starting to turn on the strikes now. But he gets taken down again for the 4th time. He hasn’t done anything with it though. Mousasi just landed an illegal upkick, timeout has been called. Jardine was in guard, and took it flush. If Jardine were puffing any harder, he’s blow your house down. Mousasi just had a point taken away. 51 seconds left. Punches in bunches from both guys, nice knee by Jardine with 30 seconds left.
Hansen’s Scorecard: 9-9. Mousasi was more effective, but not dominant, on the feet. Jardine had 4 takedowns in 5 attempts, but didn’t do anything with the takedowns. Close round.
ROUND TWO: Mousasi left his corner without his mouthpiece. You’d think that would become habitual after 35 or so fights. But what do I know. Jardine with a weak shoot, gets tied up and punched for his efforts. Jardine’s exhausted, but at least he’s in good shape. Mousasi is constantly moving forward. Nice body kick by Mousasi. Jardine’s face is really red, from exhaustion, bruising, and blood. Mousasi’s slowly picking Jardine apart. No kill shots, but everything he throws lands. Jardine gets a double leg and lands in Mousasi’s full guard. No damage, and Mousasi is back up. Jardine can’t keep his hands up, and is getting punched in the face. Juet a matter of time now. 1 minute left. Jardine has Mousasi against the cage, and gets another takedown with which he will do nothing. Yup, back ot the feet with 20 seconds left. Mousasi can’t stop the takedown, Jardine can’t do any damage on the ground.
Hansen’s Scorecard: 10-9 Mousasi, 19-18 through 2 rounds. Mousasi doesn’t look spectacular, but it’s pretty hard to look great against Jardine. Gus says Mousasi outlanded Jardine in power striked 50-11. I can buy that. Jardine only landed 2 strikes after takedown tonight. I can REALLY buy that one.
ROUND THREE: 20 seconds in and Jardine takes a shot to the groin. Ruled accidental, no penalty. We’re back. Mousasi lands a few more counters. Jardine gets Mousasi against the cage, but no takedown this time. They separate, and Mousasi takes Jardine down against the cage. As Jardine gets up he sticks his neck into a standing guillotine, but escapes. Mousasi with another takedown, and lands elbows to the head from side-control. Check that, from half-guard. Full mount now. Jarine uses the cage for a nice backdoor excape. VERY well done. 2 minutes left. Mousasi is picking him apart, but Jardine isn’t going to quit. Ref stops the action, as Mousasi’s mouthpiece fell out. Jardine’s exhausted, and bloody as hell. We’re back. Nice right by Mousasi, that hurt him. And another. There’s another, ad a left. Mousasi shoots, Jardine looking for a kimura, nothing there. 90 seconds left. Mousasi now looking for a kimura from the top, nothing there. Mousasi winds up in half-guard. Mousasi’s not doing much, he’s just riding this out to a decision. Jardine tried for an armbar as the fight ended.
Hansen’s Scorecard: 10-9 Mousasi. Jardine’s tough, but nowhere near Mousasi’s level. Mousasi outlanded Jardine on the ground 40-2, according to Compustrike. I can buy that.
WINNER: Majority Draw, (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
POST-FIGHT: I am in utter shock. Jardine did not win 5 seconds of that fight. The fans in San Diego were highly entertained by this fight, but I don’t really know why. Maybe they just loved Jardine or something, who knows… To their credit, Ranallo and Shamrock are flat out blasting the decision.
STAR RATING: (*) It was **+ until the scores were announced. This is a travesty. there are so many abominations in judging that we need to fight in order to not become numb to every bad decision.
FIGHT THREE: GILBERT MELENDEZ VS. TATSUYA KAWAJIRI (LIGHTWEIGHT)
– Melendez vs. Kawajiri 2? Yes, please.
– If Kawajiri wins this, might we see Kawajiri vs. Aoki in America for an American promotion’s title?
– Melendez came out to ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?’ by The Rolling Stones. Just in case you want to know who I’m now cheering for.
ROUND ONE: Cecil Peoples is your referee. At least he won’t be judging the fight wrongly for a change. Oh, and th eaudio is back to normal. Melendez dropped Kawajiri as Kawajiri was shooting. so much for feeling each other out. Melendez cathces a kick, and makes Kawajiri pay. Great action in the first 45 seconds. Kawajiri lands a high kick. Kawajiri eats a knee and he is down. Melendez lands 4 punches to the back of the head, and gets Kawajiri’s back. Cna’t do much with the position, though, and Kawajiri might be able to recover. Melendez has bis back as they get to the feet, but Melendez is landing uppercuts to the jaw, from behind. They separate, and Melendez lands an overhand right. Melendez might be the best 155er in the world, he’s never looked better. Back to the center of the cage now, 2 minutes left. Melendez is landing everything he wants. Kawajiri shoots, gets stuffed, Melendez lands about 4300 shots from the stuffed shot, Kawajiri falls back, takes 4 or 5 gigantic elbows (thank you, Unified Rules) and it is all over.
Let’s be clear here. Of all human beings that weight 155 pounds, not one of them could beat THIS Gilbert Melendez.
WINNER: Gilbert Melendez by TKO, 3:31 into Round 1.
POST-FIGHT: Josh Thomson was on commentary, but this fight ended so quickly that they didn’t get to introduce him before the fight was stopped. Melendez thanked every person he’s ever met when being interviewed. It’s ok, as Showtime has 80 minutes of airtime left. When asked who he wants to fight next, Melendez called out the UFC lightweight division, and declared himself the number one fighter in the world. Gus Johnson then interviewed Jake Shields, and the crowd went from wild cheers to massive booing just that quickly.
STAR RATING: (***+) Melendez would murder anyone that Strikeforce can match him up with. Zuffa needs to release him from his strikeforce contract, sign him to the UFC, and give HIM the winner of Edgar vs. Maynard.
FIGHT FOUR: NICK DIAZ VS. PAUL DALEY (WELTERWEIGHT)
– Daley is getting booed out of the building. Strange that punching a heel like Josh Koscheck has made Daley a gigantic enemy when pitted against Nick Diaz.
– I gotta say, watching Nick Diaz fight is one of the most enjoyable parts of following this sport. not because he’s lovable or anything, but he fights differently than every other fighter in the sport. This is the most important fight of his career, because this is his first legitimate top-10 opponent in who knows how long.
– Daley is 4 inches shorter, but has a half-inch reach advantage.
ROUND ONE: Your referee is John McCarthy. Diaz talking trash during the staredown. Crowd is very loud. Diaz sticks his chin out and drops his gloves, Dalez kicks him in the line. Diaz jabbing, Daley gets a plum and knees him. Daley has Diaz down, and is swarming him. Back to the feet, and Diaz knows what he’s in for now, because the talk has stopped. Daley is parrying the jabs of Diaz with open palms. Diaz gets a clinch to the cage, and Daley is looking for knees from here. Diaz starting to land to the body as they separate. Daley is hurt, and looks for the takedown. It’s on the ground now, Daley on top in guard. Daley went from the frying pan to the fire. Daley gets up, but Diaz grabs an ankle and they’re clinched again. Nice straight left by Diaz. Daley with a left hook. Diaz has Daley in the cage again. Daley throwing elbow strikes as they separate. Daley with a big knee, Diaz walked through it. Daley knocked Diaz with a punch and he’s down, but Daley can’t finish! What a fight! Diaz is stuck on his back against the cage. I can’t believe Daley didn’t finish the fight. Diaz is butt scooting as Daley walks away, McCarthy stands him up. Diaz still coming forward. Now Daley is in trouble! Daley is down, Diaz swarming with 10 seconds left AND IT IS ALL OVER! This was a good and legitimate stoppage. Unbelievable.
WINNER: Nick Diaz by TKO, 4:57 into Round 1
POST-FIGHT: Gus asked if Nick was ever hurt, Nick responded by thanking his team. Instead of following up, Gus asks Nick who is next for him. Nick responds by thanking Cesar Gracie plugs Gracie’s school. Gus finally got him to open up by asking him about Cesar Gracie’s impact on Diaz’ life, and Diaz gave a very nice answer.
STAR RATING: (*****) That’s right, count em, there are five, one, two, three, four, five stars there. The best one round fight I have ever seen.
-The text poll for the night asked if you want to see UFC fighters against Strikeforce fighters. 96% voted Yes.
– Gus asked Ranallo and Shamrock which UFC vs. Strikeforce fights they would like to see. Ranallo wants to see Melendez vs. Edgar/Maynard. Shamrock wants to see Velasquez take on Overeem. Gus apparently hates Cung Le and wants to see Le vs. Anderson Silva.
– The show signs off with 50 minutes of airtime remaining so that they can show a reply of NASCAR highlights. I have to go change the channel now.