Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz outlasted challenger Paul Daley to score a first-round TKO and retain the 170-pound title in the main event of Saturday’s “Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley” event.
The Showtime-televised card took place in San Diego, California, and also saw lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez defend his 155-pound belt with a first-round TKO of Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Diaz and Daley went back-and-forth with strikes in an action-packed round that saw both fighters in trouble on more than one occasion, but Diaz survived a late knock down to put Daley on the canvas with a right hook before finishing him off on the ground with 3-seconds left.
With the victory, Diaz improves to 25-7 with 10-straight wins and three successful title defenses since October, while Daley falls to 27-10-2 and snaps a four-fight win streak since being cut by the UFC last year.
In the night’s co-main event, Melendez blasted Kawajiri from the opening bell before putting the Japanese challenger away with ground and pound midway through the first.
Melendez solidified his status as one of the sport’s top lightweights with his fifth-straight win to move to 19-2, while Kawajiri drops to 27-7-2.
Former champion Gegard Mousasi dominated late-replacement Keith Jardine after the UFC veteran quickly tired, but settled for a majority draw after losing a point for an illegal upkick in the opening round.
Japanese lightweight Shinya Aoki kicked off the main card by forcing Lyle Beerbohm to submit to a neck crank early in the opening round.
The official “Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley” results were:
- Champ Nick Diaz def. Paul Daley via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:57
Strikeforce Welterweight Championship
- Champ Gilbert Melendez def. Tatsuya Kawajiri via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:14
Strikeforce Lightweight Championship
- Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine – majority draw (29-27 Mousasi, 28-28, 28-28)
- Shinya Aoki def. Lyle Beerbohm via submission (neck crank) – Round 1, 1:33
Pictured: Nick Diaz