One of the more intriguing moments of Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey came during the undercard welterweight bout between Paul "Semtex" Daley and PRIDE legend Kazuo Misaki.
Misaki has gone through legendary wars during his fighting career in Japan. He was always a crowd favorite for his heart and ability to put on exciting fights. But few in the media, myself included, gave him much of a chance against Daley on Saturday night.
He's old. He's been through too many battles. His striking just wouldn't be effective enough against Daley, and his takedown ability wouldn't be enough to keep the fight on the ground, where he would be more effective.
We were wrong. Misaki used highly effective striking to keep Daley at bay throughout the fight. By the end of the final round, commentator Pat Miletich rightly pointed out that Misaki was "in Daley's head," and the Japanese star was awarded a decision win.
Daley took umbrage with the decision in the cage, and he did so again today in a post on the Underground:
I can't be Semtex all the time people, different fights call for a different approach. Sorry for those that felt cheated out of not seeing Semtex, but I feel being Semtex had an effect on the judges scores, because i didn't come out swinging. He got the 1st round, I got the 2nd, and the 3rd, I feel through takedowns, ground control, effect defense, and scored the most damage while taking very little. The reason I back pedalled and kept it on the jab/counters in the 3rd is because I honestly thought I had won the fight. it was close, but I feel I won.
Who won the fight?
Losing a fairly close fight must be a terrible feeling, and this absolutely was a close fight. But Daley saying that he backpedaled in the third round because he thought he had the fight won? That's not a smart decision because—as we've seen countless times throughout the last three years—you never know exactly what the judges are thinking.
It's better to put an emphatic stamp on a performance than to ride it out under the impression that you've already won the thing.