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Strikeforce live results: Nick Diaz scores first-round TKO over Paul Daley

New era of Strikeforce begins tonight with first major card under UFC leadership

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Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz administers a ground and pound attack on K.J. Noons in a title fight last September. Diaz won a unanimous decision and next defends his belt Saturday against Evangelista ‘Cyborg’ Santos.

Updated Saturday, April 9, 2011 | 8:44 p.m.

SAN DIEGO — Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz lived up to his reputation as both a ferocious fighter and relentless trash-talker Saturday at Valley View Casino Center.

Diaz came out not only throwing punches, but also slinging words at Paul Daley in the opening seconds of the bout. Diaz challenged Daley to hit him. That request was quickly accepted and the two got into a five-minute war that will go down as a classic round of striking.

Daley hit Diaz with punches that sent him to the ground. Diaz reciprocated. But Diaz's conditioning appeared to be on another level as Daley became exhausted from the breakneck pace of the round with less than 30 seconds to go.

Diaz noticed the wobbly Daley and attacked accordingly. The battered Daley collapsed to the ground. Diaz came rushing after him, but only got a few more shots in before the referee pulled him off. Diaz scores a TKO victory at 4:57 of the first round.

"I train to fight like this," Diaz said in the cage after his victory. "I'm a complete martial artist."

Diaz continued talking after the fight, grabbing a Showtime cameraman and pushing him toward the still-recovering Daley. As Daley rested on a stool, Diaz shouted at him before finally calming down and shaking hands with the opponent.

No matter his antics, Diaz has proven to be one of the best welterweights in the world. He's won 10 straight fights and is the only man to ever hold the Strikeforce welterweight belt.

For other results from the card, check below and stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for full coverage of Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley.

Gilbert Melendez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri

If this wasn't intended to be a showcase fight for Gilbert Melendez, he made it one anyway. Melendez destroyed the highly-respected Kawajiri, grabbing a TKO at 3:14 of the first round. Melendez swarmed Kawajiri from the beginning and knocked him to the ground with a powerful hook. Kawajiri started to exchange and landed a few shots of his own, but Melendez has a different kind of ferocity. Shortly after the halfway mark of the first round, Melendez got Kawajiri on his back and threw punches that Kawajiri couldn't defend. The referee pulled him off, giving Melendez his fifth straight win and another defense of the Strikeforce lightweight championship.

Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine

First Round It looks like Jardine is going for an immediate knockout as he comes out swinging as hard as he can. That strategy doesn't work as Mousasi counters with more damage. Twice, it looks like Jardine is on the verge of a knockout defeat. But he utilizes three takedowns to recover before Mousasi throws an illegal kick to a grounded opponent with one minute to go in the first. The referee deducts a point from Mousasi, which could come up in a big way if this goes to decision.

Second Round Second round brings a subdued pace as both men are breathing heavy. Mousasi is landing a quick jab regularly, which has bloodied by Jardine's face. But Jardine never faces any serious trouble like the first round and takes down Mousasi again with two minutes to go. He only lands a couple elbows before Mousasi is back on his feet and charging. Every time Mousasi seems to take control, however, Jardine transitions to wrestling. He takes down Mousasi for a short length again. Jardine's face is covered in blood, but the underdog is right in this headed to the final round.

Third Round It's a new round, but features the same story for the opening minute. Mousasi is winning the stand-up, but Jardine is using his wrestling effectively to escape dangerous situations. Mousasi gets his first takedown of the evening after he catches a Jardine leg kick and appears close to a submission. But Jardine slips out of the choke, much to the pleasure of the crowd who lets out their biggest roar of the night. An exhausted but resilient Jardine holds on to let the fight go to decision. With the Mousasi point deduction, a draw is a real possibility here.

The fight finishes in a majority draw with two judges giving it a 28-28 score and the third tallying it 29-27 for Mousasi.

Shinya Aoki vs. Lyle Beerbohm

Lyle Beerbohm surprisingly went for a takedown of the submission master Aoki right out of the gate, but it was stuffed. Still, Beerbohm had good position with Aoki pushed up against the cage. That didn't last long. Aoki quickly reversed his fortune and got Beerbohm on the ground where the Japanese veteran is most comfortable. Beerbohm was no match for Aoki's seasoned jiu-jitsu. Aoki took control of Beerbohm's back and worked in a choke. Beerbohm had nowhere to go and tapped. Aoki defeats Beerbohm via submission at 1:33 of the first round.

Pre-fight

SAN DIEGO — People have thrown around adjectives like stunning, historic and game changing to describe Zuffa’s recent purchase of Strikeforce. Time to add one more — well-timed.

Strikeforce already had tonight’s Diaz vs. Daley card at Valley View Casino Center planned under its old ownership, but its Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, that gets to reap the benefits of a stacked event.

The card, which airs on Showtime via tape delay at 10 on the west coast, is one of Strikeforce’s best of the year. It features the welterweight and lightweight belts at risk.

The main event is a bout that’s been discussed ever since Strikeforce signed London slugger, and self-described hothead, Paul Daley last year following his UFC release. Daley could become the first British fighter to ever win a major MMA championship if he beats Nick Diaz in their 170-pound bout.

It won’t be easy. Diaz is the only welterweight champion in Strikeforce’s history and has won nine straight. He’s equally proficient standing up and on the ground, while Daley can only claim expertise in the striking department.

One of Diaz’s training partners at Cesar Gracie jiu-jitsu in San Francisco, Gilbert Melendez, is the other champion in the building. Melendez tries to beat Japanese mainstay Tatsuya Kawijiri for the second time in his career.

Melendez is hoping to work his way into high-profile bouts with members of the UFC lightweight roster. With new bosses and UFC executives Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta cage side, Melendez has the invaluable chance to give a positive first impression.

While the first two contests on the card aren’t for championships, they aren’t far off. Shinya Aoki takes on Lyle Beerbohm in the first lightweight fight of the night.

Aoki was last seen in the United States when he lost to Melendez in a title shot last year. Beerbohm is one of Strikeforce’s highest-regarded prospects with a 16-1 record.

After Aoki and Beerbohm engage in what could be a grappling-heavy tilt, former Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi and UFC veteran Keith Jardine meet in a light heavyweight fight. Jardine took the fight on late notice and is a 4-to-1 underdog against the feared Dutch striker.

An preliminary card featuring top local talent just concluded, so stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for live results and details from all four of the fights.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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