Strikeforce Recap: Cesar Gracie Camp Dominates

nullIt was a night for the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu camp on Saturday night as Nick Diaz and Gilbert Melendez defended their Strikeforce titles in impressive fashion.

Diaz beat hard-hitting Paul Daley to defend his Strikeforce Welterweight Championship in the night’s main event.

The two had a slug fest as each man was rocked at some point in the first round. Diaz landed more strikes, his punches didn’t seem to do the same damage as his opponent’s. Daley managed to sneak in a few powerful hooks that put Diaz on the ground. Diaz recovered, however, and eventually went on to pepper Daley with punches to the head and body. Daley eventually stumbled to the ground and Diaz followed up with a barrage of punches that forced a stoppage with just seconds remaining in the opening round.

In the co-main event, Diaz’ teammate, Gilbert Melendez had the top performance of the night, running through Tatsuya Kawajiri in 3:14 to defend his Strikeforce Lightweight Championship. Melendez was very accurate with his punches, landing clean shots to the jaw of Kawajiri. After a few minutes of that, Kawajiri hit the floor and Melendez jumped on him, landing a slew of vicious elbows that put an end to the fight and gave Melendez his fifth-straight win.

Saturday’s wins were a big statement for the Cesar Gracie team, which includes Nate Diaz and Jake Shields. Shields will contend for the UFC Welterweight Championship later this month and if he is able to upset Georges St. Pierre, that would give this camp three world champions. Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has quietly become one of the top fight camps in all of MMA.

Aside from the two title fights, Saturday’s Strikeforce card also saw lightweight Shinya Aoki put on his best U.S. performance, submitting Lyle Beerbohm in 93 seconds. Beerbohm shot in for a takedown early and Aoki turned that to his favor, gaining top position and then slowly working to Beerbohm’s back before sinking in a neck-crank choke to force a tap.

In a light heavyweight clash, former UFC contender Keith Jardine picked up a miraculous draw with Gegard Mousasi. Mousasi appeared to control all three rounds in my eyes, but a 1-point deduction in the first round for an illegal up-kick set the stage for another judging disaster. One judge saw the fight 29-27 for Mousasi, having him win all three rounds aside from the deduction, while two judges felt Jardine won the first round, making for the majority draw.

While Jardine did score some takedowns throughout the fight, he did nothing with those takedowns. No strikes, no advancing, no submission attempts. Nothing! Mousasi always got up quickly and controlled the stand-up aspects of the fight, but judges felt those takedowns were the difference in the fight. It is clear that judges put too much emphasis on takedowns without looking at what happens with the takedown. Hopefully this will get cleaned up soon.


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