Ten things learned from Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley

HeavyMMA.com’s Specer Kyte points out the 10 things he learned from Saturday’s historic Stirkeforce: Diaz vs. Daley card in San Diego.

I had concerns about the main event falling short of expectations. Boy, was I wrong.

For three ticks shy of five minutes, these two went toe-to-toe, trading punishing blows and trying to put the other one away. Both men got rocked at different points in the frenetic first round, and even though they only used 1/5 of the allotted time, the fans still got what they came for and then some.

Whatever your feelings on the organization, you have to give Strikeforce their due: more often than naught, we’re treated to wildly exciting fights, and Saturday’s main event was no different.

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Melendez now the world’s best Lightweight?

Gilbert Melendez has been telling everyone who will listen that he’s the best lightweight in the world. After Saturday night’s stunning first-round finish of Tatsuya Kawajiri, HeavyMMA.com writes that he might just have a case.

SAN DIEGO — For the last year, Gilbert Melendez has been telling everyone who will listen that he’s the best lightweight in the world. After Saturday night’s stunning first-round finish of Tatsuya Kawajiri, he might just have a case.

Melendez, who came into the cage after taking a year off, brutalized Kawajiri from the opening bell using a crisp display of technique and power. Kawajiri is often called one of the toughest and more durable lightweights in the world, but he stood no chance against Melendez in the cage.

The Strikeforce lightweight champion also benefited greatly from the new Unified ruleset put into place after last month’s purchase of the promotion by rival organization Zuffa. After dropping Kawajiri to the mat, Melendez unleashed a savage elbow that finished Kawajiri off and propelled Melendez to new stardom in the new unified North American mixed martial arts world.

After the bout, Melendez issued a charismatic plea for a shot at the UFC champion.

“I am the best lightweight in the world, and I think it’s time for title versus title. I want the UFC champion. It’s time to make it happen,” Melendez said. The crowd roared their approval.

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2011 MMA Pound for Pound Rankings: March

HeavyMMA.com updated their pound for pound rankings for the month of March. Where does Jon Jones land after his stunning victory over Shogun Rua?

1. Anderson Silva
We thought Silva’s next challenge would come from Georges St. Pierre, but it appears that won’t be the case. Instead, look for Yushin Okami to finally get his title shot, likely in the main event of UFC 132 in July. Media and fans are already clamoring for Silva to move up a weight class and face Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title. Should it come to fruition, that would easily be the biggest fight of 2012.

2. Georges St. Pierre
St. Pierre will face Jake Shields at UFC 129 next month. There was talk of St. Pierre abdicating the welterweight throne with a win, but that train seems to be leaving the station. Staying at welterweight might be better for St. Pierre’s legacy, and it’s not like the fans will ever tire of seeing him destroy challengers.

3. Jose Aldo
Aldo finally makes his UFC debut next month with a title defense against Mark Hominick. UFC fans will be pleasantly surprised at just how awesome Aldo actually is. Hominick is the best striker Aldo has faced thus far, but he’ll be no match for the Brazilian wunderkind.

Check out the rest of the rankings.

The Best of the Best Fighters in MMA

Nov 15, 2008 - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - UFC's BROCK LESNAR celebrates his victory over Champion RANDY COUTURE in their title fight Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008 in Las Vegas, NV. Lesnar won the title and the fight in 3:07 of the second round after the referee stopped the fight Photo via Newscom

Matt Brown of HeavyMMA.com ranked the top 10 pound-for-pound MMA fighters in the word.

Check out his list:

10. Brock Lesnar
I know, a heavyweight in pound for pound rankings? Well, Lesnar could fight at superheavyweight and wreck people there too. He’s improving every time he enters the octagon and may very well end up as one of the best heavyweight fighters ever.

9. Dominick Cruz
Cruz (16-1) convincingly defended his WEC bantamweight title at WEC 50 by beating Joseph Benavidez for a second time. His lone defeat came at featherweight in 2007 against Urijah Faber, a fight he may get to avenge now that Faber has dropped to 135.

8. Gilbert Melendez
Currently on a four-fight win streak with victories over Rodrigo Damm, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Josh Thomson and Shinya Aoki, Melendez has established himself as the No. 2 lightweight in the world. It will interesting to see where he ends up as he is in contract negotiations with Strikeforce.

Check out the entire list here.

Strikeforce: Nashville Predictions

MMA Promotion Strikeforce hosts its second CBS televised event tonight with Strikeforce: Nashville. The main card has just three fights set, but all three are title fights. Here are my picks for tonight’s event.

Middleweight Champion Jake Shields (24-4-1) vs. Dan Henderson (25-7)
Dan Henderson is making his first appearance in Strikeforce after leaving the UFC in a contract dispute. He immediately steps in to fight Jake Shields, the middleweight champion who is a natural welterweight. Shields has had success at the bigger weight class, but in this fight, he will have trouble controlling Henderson on the ground like he has past opponents. Henderson is a very solid all around fighter and his bigger size should allow him to get the win by either knockout or decision.

Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi (28-2-1) vs. Muhammed Lawal (6-0)
Two very different people meet in this fight as Mousasi is like a silent killer. He stays composed and just runs through opponents while Lawal is very loud and cocky despite having just six professional fights. Lawal is good on his feet with powerful strikes, but in this fight, he will need to fight off his back against Mousasi, who can take the fight anywhere. Lawal has a puncher’s chance, but Mousasi will be smart enough to get the fight to the ground, where he will win by submission.

Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez (-160) vs. Shinya Aoki (+130)
This fight should be very competitive. Melendez has won his last three, but all of his fights have been fast paced and close. His win over Josh Thompson won him the title, but now he faces Aoki who bounces around to different weight classes and finds success in each. Melendez will look to use boxing and wrestling to win while Aoki will try to use quickness and submissions. Look for Melendez to win a hard-fought five-round decision over Aoki, but each fighter will have their chances to finish the fight.

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