Well the event starts in a little bit but I just have to get my opinion in on it. Aside from having two titles on the line and just great match making on the card, tonight is a highly anticipated event because it is the first major Strikeforce event under Zuffa (pretty much, the UFC), and it'll be interesting to see the changes made in the production, commentating, graphics, entrances, and I'm pretty sure they're gonna get rid of the lame pyro-technics. Still, the fights is what it's all about, and Strikeforce busted out a lot of the top names for this one.
For the Main Event, it's Strikeforce Welterweight champ Nick Diaz defending his belt against KO artist Paul Daley. Diaz is the superior and more well rounded fighter. He's got that awesome, weird 'Diaz boxing,' a lot of pitter patter shots with perfectly placed power shots in between, and some high level jiu jitsu to go with that boxing for when he gets taken down. Paul Daley is a power striker. He's got good takedown defense and hands that'll drop whoever chooses to trade with him. That's exactly the style needed to beat Diaz (that or a strong wrestler with good sub defense, but that's a conversation for another day). Just like Sotiropolous and Dunham, Diaz has an awesome jiu jitsu game but lacks the wrestling to force it to the mat. Add to that the fact that I think Diaz is stubborn enough to stand and trade with Daley. He chose to stand with boxer KJ Noons just to prove a point, and unlike KJ Noons, Daley can rattle him with one shot. Diaz might attempt a takedown, but he's an avid believer of bringing the fight and he's too proud to struggle for a takedown, and Daley will definitely make him struggle for it. Diaz comes in as the favorite, but I smell an upset.
For the Co Main Event, it's Strikeforce Lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez defending his belt against Tatsuya Kawajiri. Melendez is a fast paced wrestler with good striking that, like Jake Shields, has been beating everyone outside of the UFC. Kawajiri is pretty good, but shouldn't be fighting for the title. Melendez is a big fish in a small pond and wins this decisively. Hopefully with the Zuffa buyout, we can see more interesting matches for Melendez, maybe a Clay Guida or an Evan Dunham.
Also on the card, Keith Jardine takes on striker Gegard Mousasi on really short notice. Mousasi is one of the best strikers around but showed a complete lack of wrestling in his fight with Mo Lawal. Jardine is an awkward striker that has won and lost against some of the best. He looks thinner, and says to expect some surprises. His wrestling has always been under-rated and hopefully he's gonna use it a lot more in this fight, because Mousasi is the better striker. I'm torn on this one. Mousasi has a cool style and I'd like to see him advance but Jardine is always game and i love that. Mousasi probably takes this but hopefully Jardine gets rewarded for taking the fight on short notice and he gets a fight against a top Middleweight. Shynia Aoki fights Lyle Beerbohm. Aoki is one of the best grapplers around but I smell an upset on this one too. Beerbohm is gonna stuff the takedowns and outstrike Aoki, like Melendez, just not as dominant.
The way the UFC events are presented is awesome, more of a sports competition than a strong man show. Strikeforce has always had good fights but the presentation has also always been kind of lame and hopefully Zuffa fixes this. Pretty exciting stuff.