Nick Diaz (24-7-0-1 #9 Welterweight) vs. Paul “Semtex” Daley (27-9-2 #8 Welterweight)
Nick Diaz is not a dumb fighter; he knows what he is doing in his fights. Some people think he is overconfident when he is fighting with his taunts, but he is actually baiting them. It has worked against fighter like Robbie Lawler where they over commit or open them self up to his punches. This is something he should not try with Paul though because if he taunts him, and he opens up to let Paul punch him his lights will be turned out. Paul may not be the most well-rounded fighter or even the greatest striker, but he has some crazy power.
Paul has crazy knockout power as seem by his 20 wins by way of knockout. These are not stoppages either; these are brutal knockouts. Look to his fights with Scott Smith and Dustin Hazelett to see what those type of finishes look like. The one glaring flaw in Paul’s game is his ground game, specifically his submission defense. He has five losses by submission. Given he has not been submitted in three years, but he has only loss twice in that span. The last person to finish him was Jake Shields, one of Nick’s main training partners.
Nick is a very well rounded fighter. He has the power to finish fighters on the feet, a strong submission game, and cardio to go the distance. His finishes of Marius Zaromskis shows his increasing power. He also dropped Cyborg in his last fight before submitting him. His only weakness is his takedowns. If a fighter can dominate him on the ground by holding him there than he will lose. We have not seen this in a while since nick has not fought a great ground fighter. He has been fed a steady diet of strikers. Paul will not be able to handle him on the ground though as seen by his loss to Josh Koscheck.
The Bottom Line: Nick will use a similar plan to the fight he had against Cyborg. He will stand until he can get it to the ground for a submission in the third round.
Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (18-2-0 #2 Lightweight) vs. Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri (27-6-2 #8 Lightweight)
These two have fought before, but that was five years ago, around ten fights ago for each fighter, and two young fighters. Now, these fighters have changed and this fight could be different. Emphasis on the could. The deciding factor in this fight is the wrestling. Both of these fighters use their wrestling as the base for all of their fights, since both are known for ground and pound. I would say that Gilbert has started to use standup more in his fights. He has won 3 of his last five fights by TKO. He does have 11 TKO finishes in his career, but many of those were from ground and pound and not from actual standing punches like these were.
Kawajiri is more of a grinder still using his wrestling ability to win fights. He also uses it when it is not the smartest idea as seen in his fight with Aoki where he got submitted after one of his own takedowns. The biggest thing for Kawajiri is he has a win over Melendez rival, Josh Thompson, in his last fight where he absolutely dominated. Going into this fight he has also stated to not have trained in a cage which is a complete disadvantage for a fighter of his style. That unaccustomed factor in the fight may turn the fight even more into Gilbert’s favor.
The Bottom Line: Gilbert has more ways of winning this fight than Tatsuya, and Tatsyua’s best ability Gilbert is good at if not better. I do not know if he will be able to finish him, but he will dominate this fight en route to an unanimous decision.
Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi (30-3-1) vs. Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine (17-9-1)
Jardine, despite his losses, holds one big factor over Gegard’s head, and that is that he fights the toughest competition available for him. Before leaving the UFC he fought four perennial top 15 fighters of the Light-Heavyweight division. Gegard has not fought top competition in his last two fights even though he could. He is on of the top fighters outside the UFC and was not on a giant losing streak like Jardine. So, this fight to me, like Gegard, will determine if he can compete with the top fighter under the Zuffa banner. Also, he will need to control this fight to prove if he even has a chance to be in the cage with Dan Henderson.
In most fights Gegard is the smaller fighter, but Keith has also said that he wants to drop down to 185 so size should be about equal. The only thing that is negative for jardine in this bout it that Gegard has only loss three times and some of those fights are really old. His most recent loss was from a big wrestler and that may not be a way to go about beating him for Jardine. In most fights, Jardine relies on his standup to compete. That has failed him in many of his recent bouts, but he seems to be revamped in his last few fights. Winning this fight and the competition that both fighters bring will answer many questions about both of their games.
The Bottom Line: Most people would not pick Jardine, but I will. He has hit rock bottom in his career and this win will catapult him back to the stardom he wants. He would match up well with the 185‘ers in Strikeforce and to make the relevant he must get a win. Look for Gegard to get stopped for the first time in his career by TKO in the third round.
Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki (26-5-0-1 #6 Lightweight) vs. Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm (15-1-0)
This fight will not last long. It would have been more interesting if Lyle was still undefeated, but he is not. He got beat by a lot less skilled fighter in Pat Healy in his last fight and a step up in competition is not what you need after that. It makes no sense, but he is the master of his own fate. I understand that Lyle has a good base to not get taken down by Shinya, but at the same time so did Tatsuya and look what happened there. History does repeat itself, simply.
The Bottom Line: Shinya by first round submission.