Saturday night Nick Diaz will look to defend his Strikeforce welterweight title against Paul Daley at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley at the Valley View Casino in San Diego, CA (Showtime 10PM EST). While Diaz’s credentials in MMA are exemplary the very real fact remains that, arguably, Daley represents the most dangerous fighter that Diaz has defended his title against. Nothing against the likes of KJ Noons or Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos but neither one possess the single fight-ending punch that Paul Daley has in his effect arsenal.
Of course, Daley’s destructive strength only further adds to the intrigue given that despite being a Gracie BJJ blackbelt Nick Diaz seems to relish the opportunity to stand and box with his opponents. Though, the results have been quite favorable for Diaz who may not lack concussion causing KO power in his punches but makes up for it with a sheer volume of relentless flurries that not only cause opponents to fight defensively, but also eventually erodes their very will to fight. All of which is why Saturday’s bout is one that any red-blooded fight fan should have circled on their calendar.
But, who wins between Diaz and Daley? Ask ten people and chances are you will see a pretty even split between those who like Diaz’s diversified attack, and those who like Daley’s uncanny power. Obviously, this being MMA anything can happen. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t break down this fascinating fight by the numbers.
74.07% - This is the KO percentage for Daley. Of Daley’s 27 wins, 20 were by way of stoppage*. This number speaks volumes for the preferred method of attack for “Semtex” who has incredible power in both hands and very good Muay Thai to complement such power.
55.56% - The percentage of Daley’s losses that were a result of a submission. Of Daley’s nine professional losses, five have come by way of submission. With Diaz being a Gracie BJJ blackbelt, the need for Daley to practice his submission defense will have to be a prerequisite if he hopes to win Saturday night.
39.47% - The percent of first round stoppages in Daley’s career. Of his 38 fights, 15 have seen him stop his opponent in the first round. Again, this speaks to Daley’s one clear advantage over Diaz, his freakish power.
50% - The percentage of stoppage victories on Nick Diaz’s ledger. This number is made all the more impressive when you consider Diaz’s credential as a BJJ blackbelt. But, as we outlined earlier in this post, Diaz has a penchant for standing and trading with his opponents rather than taking the fight to the ground where one would assume he would have a clear advantage. Against Daley, this may be a bad idea.
2 – The number of times that Nick Diaz has been stopped in his career. This speaks of Diaz’s iron chin, an asset that is sure to come in handy against Daley’s power.
117 – The average number of strikes by Nick Diaz over his last two fights **. Compare that figure to 16.8 which is the average number of strikes for Paul Daley over his last five fights. That’s a staggering discrepancy but perfectly illustrates Diaz’s relentless flurries. These salvos may not pack much of a punch but they sure added up quickly.
Prediction – Despite Daley’s power his ground game is severely lacking. Of course, Diaz has never been one to be a master at scoring takedowns, despite the BJJ skills he possesses in great abundance. Still, all things considered it is hard to pick against a fighter with as many tools as Diaz. My prediction, Diaz by second round submission.
*Sherdog.com was used as reference for both Diaz and Daley’s records.
**Data compiled using FightMetric.com
Photos © Esther Lin/Strikeforce