It didn’t go five rounds. It didn’t even make it to the end of round one.
But Nick Diaz and Paul Daley put on what has to be considered the best fight so far in 2011, with the incumbent Strikeforce welterweight champion coming out on top once again with a first round TKO victory.
Call it stubbornness, call it trusting his skills, but Nick Diaz is a fighter who time and time again goes after his opponents at their strongest point, and he did it once again against Paul Daley on Saturday night in San Diego.
Diaz taunted Daley to start the fight, and while it seemed like maybe he was tugging on Superman’s cape, in reality it was Diaz who was setting things up just the way he wanted them. After cracking Daley with a solid punch, Diaz fired off some body shots that could have easily cracked a rib or two.
Just when it seemed like Diaz had Daley stunned and looking for air, the Brit unleashed some vicious shots of his own, with one tagging the Strikeforce champ and dropping him to the mat, turtled up on the ground.
Once back on the feet, Diaz and Daley simply unloaded punches on each other, but after a quick exchange, it was the Stockton, Calif. native that landed a glancing blow that eventually brought about the end of the fight.
As Diaz backed away after the two swiped at each other with punches, Daley was left wobbly and lost his balance, as he fell to the canvas. Like a lion going in for the kill, Diaz rushed in and delivered the final strikes with just seconds remaining in the round.
Referee John McCarthy stopped the fight with only 3 seconds left on the clock, and while it appeared Daley could have been given a bit more time, Diaz was declared the winner by TKO, retaining his Strikeforce welterweight title.
In true Nick Diaz form following the fight, his words were mixed and somewhat cryptic, but if there’s one underlying message from Strikeforce’s top 170lb fighter it’s that he is ready to earn a few more zeroes on his paycheck.
“I don’t know, we got to see what’s up,” Diaz answered when asked what challenge could be next for him. “I’ve got to get paid.”
Diaz proved once again that he truly is one of the top welterweights in the world, and may very well be the most dangerous striker as well.
As far as what’s next for him, all signs are pointing towards Diaz facing former wrestler Tyron Woodley next with the Strikeforce welterweight title on the line.
Meanwhile, Paul Daley has little to be ashamed of after almost putting Diaz away in their less that one round fight.
Even UFC president Dana White, who has long-standing issues with Daley, had to tweet an expletive or two when watching the two welterweights go to war.