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.

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Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley Picks & Predictions

nullStrikeforce returns to Showtime tonight at 10 p.m. ET with two title fights and four total bouts on the main card. Here are my thoughts on those four contests.

Strikeforce Welterweight Championship: Nick Diaz (24-7-1) vs. Paul Daley (27-9-2) – I like Diaz to retain his title in this bout as I think he has the better all-around skills. Daley has great punching power but is one dimensional. Once the fight hits the ground, Diaz will easily be in control and score a submission. Don’t sleep on Diaz’ striking either, as his jab has been able to cause problems for other strikers in the past.

Strikeforce Lightweight Championship: Gilbert Melendez (19-2) vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri (27-6-2) – Melendez should be able to handle Kawajiri, who is making his first jump into the U.S. Kawajiri didn’t bother to train in a cage for this fight, which I think will be a problem. I like Melendez to work his striking and mix in some takedowns to earn another decision victory.

Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Bout: Gegard Mousasi (30-3-1) vs. Keith Jardine (17-9-1) – Jardine is a late replacement for Mike Kyle, but I think he is a tougher opponent. Jardine has some big-fight experience, but has been on a bit of a downslide in his career. This should be a striker’s fight, and Mousasi has the faster hands and more power to work with. I look for him to land a clean punch on Jardine and earn a TKO finish in the second round.

Strikeforce Lightweight Bout: Shinya Aoki (26-5-1) vs. Lyle Beerbohm (16-1): Beerbohm is a game fighter but I think this bout will ultimately go to the ground, and that is where Aoki should be able to take over. His slick and crafty submissions should be too much for Beerbohm to defend. I like Aoki to score a submission victory in the opening round.

  

Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley weigh-in results

nullThe two title fights for Saturday’s Strikeforce card are now official as all four competitors weighed in on Friday night.

In the main event, Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz (169.75 pounds) and contender Paul Daley (169.5) both weighed in under the 170-pound limit. Following their weigh ins, the two had an intense face-to-face stare down and had to be separated by officials as they yelled back-and-forth at each other.

In the co-main event, Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (154.75) and challenger Tatsuya Kawajiri (154.25) also weighed in under their 155-pound limit, making their championship fight official.

The main card also features a light heavyweight clash between Keith Jardine and Gegard Mousasi while Shinya Aoki takes on Lyle Beerbohm in a lightweight contest.

The main card will air live on Showtime starting at 10PM ET.

For complete weigh-in results (courtesy of MMAMania.com), check the jump.

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