Strikeforce: Diaz vs Daley from Valley View Casino in San Diego, California on April 9 was the inaugural integration of the UFC ownership into the Strikeforce venue.
With thousands of screaming fans cheering them on, the MMA athletes put on an excellent display, with each fight outperforming the last. Of course, the whole event culminated in an amazing main event between current Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz and top contender Paul Daley.
As I sat cage-side providing up-to-the minute results of each fight, 10 facts came to mind regarding the night's event, as well as the future of MMA with respect to the recent marriage between the UFC and Strikeforce.
Please follow along as I provide you with 10 facts that you can take to the bank regarding the inaugural Strikeforce event after its purchase by Zuffa.
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During the post-fight press conference, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was quoted as saying "this was an amazing night in mixed martial arts. I could watch these fights every month."
Further commenting on the future of Strikeforce, Coker reiterated the fact that Strikeforce wants to provide fans with the fights they desire.
As evidence, Strikeforce is planning upcoming match-ups between Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum, as well as Josh Barnett versus Brett Rogers. After last night's event, Coker said that Daniel Cormier will face Shane del Rosario in the near future as well.
In addition, Coker commented on potential future match-ups between the two largest promotions in MMA. Alistair Overeem and Cain Velasquez, Nick Diaz and Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva versus Ronaldo Souza were a few of the options he put on the table.
Coker has vision and the ability to arrange tremendous fights. As a result, the future of Strikeforce looks bright as it blossoms under the Zuffa banner.
Mixed martial arts' two most powerful CEOs stood side by side tonight as Dana White proudly wore a Strikeforce T-shirt as he sat cage-side throughout the event.
Seen mingling with both Strikeforce and UFC fighters, the most powerful man in the sport displayed a proud smile and seemed to enjoy the night's action.
Known as a tenacious businessman, White has obviously accepted the purchase of Strikeforce by Zuffa and is doing his part to make this grandest of unions successful in the end.
During tonight's event, the return of Gina Carano to the Strikeforce cage was announced to the San Diego fans.
"The Face of Women's MMA" was last seen being dismantled by the current Strikeforce women's champion, Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, on August 15, 2009.
But for how long will women continue to compete in the Strikeforce cage?
More importantly, because Dana White has stated in the past that a woman will never compete inside the Octagon, when the Strikeforce contract expires with Showtime and the Strikeforce banner is absorbed by the UFC, will women continue to compete under White's executive control?
Stay tuned over the following calendar year as the Showtime contract will expire and we all learn the future of women as competitors on the sport's biggest stage.
Unassuming in his appearance, Virgil "Rezdog" Zwicker has tallied up more fights outside of the cage than in sanctioned contests.
In and out of jail multiple times, Zwicker has rededicated his life to becoming a force within the Strikeforce heavyweight division.
Challenging Brett Albee in his third Strikeforce event, Zwicker imposed his will from the start, delivering a barrage of vicious punches, kicks and knees. Securing a TKO victory at 1:46 of round one, Zwicker elevated his overall MMA record to 10-2 with seven knock-outs.
Talented on his feet, Virgil Zwicker possesses the rare blend of strength, power and elusiveness.
Keep an eye on this prospect within the Strikeforce heavyweight division.
The Jackson Submission Fighting camp out of Albuquerque, N.M., receives a lot of attention these days.
With big names such as Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre, Carlos Condit and many other top-tier fighters and current champions, the Jackson camp rightfully deserves much praise and adoration.
Quietly deserving an equal amount of publicity, however, is Cesar Gracie and his current stable of fighters in Pleasant Hill, Calif.
Strikeforce fighters competing under the Cesar Gracie banner include current lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez and welterweight champion Nick Diaz.
Additionally, Gracie charge Jake Shields will challenge Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight championship on April 30.
Rounding out the team's list of prolific fighters includes UFC welterweight fighters Nate Diaz and Daniel Roberts.
Keep an eye on this tremendously talented fight team as they continue to accumulate championships.
Amongst the world's two largest promotions, Paul "Semtex" Daley's future does not look bright.
The hard-hitting Brit, with an impressive MMA record of 27-9 (including 20 KOs), first alienated himself from the UFC by throwing a cheap shot at Josh Koscheck at UFC 113 last May.
After that event, White announced that Daley would never fight in the UFC again. White was quoted in many media outlets as saying, "He'll never come back, I don't care if he's the best 170-pounder in the world. There's no excuse for that. You never hit a guy like that after the bell."
After the marriage between Zuffa and Strikeforce, Daley followed up his riff with Dana White by chastising Coker and the purchase by Zuffa, claiming that Coker had "sold out." That may not bode well for his future with Strikeforce.
Last night's destruction of Paul Daley by the current Strikeforce welterweight champion, Nick Diaz, has the very opinionated Brit with little opportunity to continue fighting here in the States.
Winning and speaking your mind is one thing. Losing and speaking your mind typically results in walking papers.
Deserving the Fight of the Night consideration, the battle between the 30-3-2 Gegard Mousasi and the 17-9 Keith Jardine was awarded a majority draw decision by the judges.
An epic back-and-forth clash between these two light heavyweights had the fans in San Diego on their feet for the full 15 minutes.
Delivering crisp punches and tactical kicks, Mousasi did his best to establish a rhythm on his feet. But that rhythm was routinely thwarted by the unorthodox striking and round-controlling takedowns from Jardine.
With Mousasi receiving a one-point penalty in the first round and Jardine controlling the second stanza, this writer believes that Keith Jardine should have been declared the victor.
Regardless of my opinion, a rematch should be in the future to determine a definitive winner.
Currently the No. 2 lightweight fighter on the planet, Gilbert "El Nino" Melendez is deserving of a unified title shot versus the winner of Frankie Edgar/Gray Maynard III.
From the opening bell, Melendez swamed Tatsuya Kawajiri last night at the Valley View Casino, much to the delight of the San Diego fans.
Unloading on the Japanese star with a series of punches, "El Nino" rocketed the pace by delivering a frenzy of vicious elbows on the fallen Kawajiri, finishing the fight at the 3:14 mark of round one.
Witnessing the well-balanced attack of Gilbert Melendez coupled with an unrelenting drive and dedication to finish his opponent, it is clear that "El Nino" will challenge the UFC lightweight champion to unify the belts.
From the beginning of the fight, Nick Diaz stuck his chin out to Paul Daley and baited the hard-hitting Brit to punch him in the face.
Talking non-stop throughout the first few moments of the fight, Diaz continued to disrespect his opponent, all while landing a variety of punches, elbows and kicks.
The most polarizing figure in mixed martial arts, Nick Diaz stated to Ariel Helwani from MMAfighting that he he is the "most overworked, over-trained, and underpaid fighter."
Up until last night, I would have laughed at Diaz's arrogance.
However, I am now agreeing with the brash Stockton native.
Making short work of the extremely talented Daley, Diaz enters the cage with a chip on his shoulder and an attitude that says defeat is not an option.
Not only tremendously talented as a fighter, Nick Diaz's confidence and swagger provides the champion with a mental clarity that is unwavering and which gives him an edge inside the Octagon.
With little talent remaining to adequately challenge Nick Diaz in the Strikeforce welterweight division, the Cesar Gracie disciple will look toward the winner between his teammate Jake Shields and current UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
The No. 1 fact that you can take to the bank as a result of Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley is a future matchup between the UFC welterweight champion, Georges "Rush" St-Pierre and the Strikeforce welterweight champion, Nick Diaz.
A fortunate result of the merger between Strikeforce and Zuffa is that no fight is outside the scope of possibility.
With Nick Diaz trampling the Strikeforce welterweight roster, he will need a step up in competition that could include challenging the top-tier talent in the UFC.
Georges St-Pierre is scheduled to defend his welterweight title against Nick Diaz's teammate, Jake Shields, on April 30.
If St-Pierre is successful in maintaining his championship, the braintrust between Strikeforce and Zuffa should arrange a fight between the two promotion's champions to determine who is the best welterweight on the planet.
As an enormous fan of this sport, this is a matchup I am eager to watch.