It was only 11 months ago that Dana White said that Paul Daley would never fight for the UFC again, no matter how many titles he may win. This weekend Daley will challenge for his first title against Strikeforce Welterweight champion Nick Diaz, and the oddsmakers don’t think he has much of a chance.
Nick Diaz is somewhat of a UFC outcast himself. Since leaving in 2006 Diaz has only suffered one loss to K.J. Noons, and that was due to a nasty cut that caused a referee stoppage. He’s on a nine-fight win streak and has since avenged the Noons loss late last year. Oddsmakers have the champ as a favorite over his British challenger, with the best price being a -210 line at 5Dimes.
Despite being a skilled striker Daley has displayed a complete lack of ground game and still has only achieved a purple belt in jiu-jitsu. That won’t help him much against Diaz, and even when Daley has a period of time to strike with the champ he will likely get counter-punched at will. We don’t think that Daley’s upset chances are worth the +185 line at Bodog Sportsbook.
Gilbert Melendez will be out to impress his new bosses when he defends his Strikeforce Lightweight title against Tatsuya Kawajiri. Melendez already has a decision win against Kawajiri, and we expect a similar outcome this weekend. Melendez looks like an inexpensive safe-money bet at a 5Dimes price of -220, while the Kawajiri +205 upset line at Bodog Sportsbook doesn’t have enough reward for the risk.
The fight on the card that we think has the most upset potential is the matchup between Shinya Aoki and Lyle Beerbohm. Beerbohm is coming off his first loss but it's Aoki’s recent performances that come under scrutiny. He’s not the feared KO artist he once was, and we think that Beerbohm’s wrestling and ground-and-pound will be the difference.