Zuffa’s recent acquisition of Strikeforce didn’t change much in business practices over at the San Jose-based promotion.
Judging by the advertising, or lack thereof, surrounding the April 9th bout between reigning Strikeforce WW champion Nick Diaz and MMA’s enfant terrible Paul Daley, word of mouth still appears to be the preferred, if not default, marketing strategy underlying the promotion’s activities. Business as usual, as the now-legendary saying goes…
And ‘tis a shame.
The headlining championship bout between two of the sport's most notorious bad boys could have been amped much more effectively, provided a bit of willingness on the part of Zuffa.
It is plausible Zuffa might also be pulling a classic corporate passive-aggressive move, taking into account both fighters’ history with the MMA giant: Daley sucker-punched Koscheck after his UD defeat in Montreal in May 2010, prompting UFC management to ban him from the promotion; Diaz is his own man, and his antics in and around the Octagon have (also) irked UFC management for a while.
It is also safe to presume the UFC will not surprise everyone by delaying to institute Fight Night bonuses. Though Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker will eventually have his wish come true, odds are Zuffa is not in a hurry to enact that standard business practice. Again, at least for that card. Call it cauterizing a wound.
Beyond its politics, the fight is expected to deliver fireworks. Diaz, the current champion, will be entering the Octagon as the favourite (-220) over his English rival, Daley (+175). "
Semtex" Daley (27-9-2) has brutal KO power. The Californian bad boy (24-7, one no contest) always delivers exciting performances, whether on the ground or standing up, relying on short shots that eventually take their toll on his opponents. Or at the very least, softens them enough to have the fight go the ground where he uses his BJJ skills to submit them.
Daley gives the impression of being an amazingly powerful one-trick pony, experiencing difficulties when paired against wrestlers and other grapplers. This time around, that might not constitute his downfall, barring the fight drags on past the initial two rounds. If the fight reaches Round 3, the champion’s odds of winning will increase exponentially—his conditioning outclasses Daley’s and most other MMA athletes.
Diaz, a Cesar Gracie-trained BJJ black belt, is heavily favoured when and if the fight hits the ground. Getting there might prove difficult; he hasn’t improved his wrestling abilities that much. His takedowns are sub-par and pitted against a physically stronger opponent such as Daley, throws seem improbable.
Diaz has never faced an opponent that hits as hard as the Englishman. As shown during his last outing, his tendency to keep a very low guard makes for an easy target. Santos nailed him with a few good strikes that made him look groggy. Had they been thrown by Daley, it is likely Diaz wouldn’t have made it past the first round in that fight.
The champ benefits from having a good chin, but he has never been on the receiving end of Daley’s torque—nor has he come close to experiencing something similar.
Daley’s odds give a good indication as to the most popular scenario chosen—a fight not expected to go the distance. This will be Daley’s first-ever venture into championship rounds, hence for such odds (+175) to be given and hold, lines reflect his ability to win before the allocated time.
It doesn’t seem to reflect much the fact that out of Daley’s nine losses, more than half were by submissions. For those lines to hold against a Cesar Gracie student whose hobbies include triathlons...
Past the initial exuberance of those lines, they manage to offer a good return. Lines for Diaz are much more cautious. Blue chips have their price.
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