Nick Diaz will have his hands full on Saturday when he tries to defend his Strikeforce Welterweight title against talented U.K. striker Paul Daley.
It will be Diaz’s third title defense and biggest test as champion thus far, but oddsmakers are in agreement that it will be just another day at the office for the Welterweight champion.
Diaz has not lost a fight since May 2008, and in that time has gone 9-0. He’s easily the best Welterweight outside of the UFC and wants nothing more than to prove to everyone that he can easily handle former top UFC contenders like Daley. Diaz is currently No. 8 on the OddsShark MMA Welterweight Top 10 list.
Bookmakers realize that Daley has little to offer in the way of takedown defense and ground skills and Diaz is a -210 favorite at 5Dimes.
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Daley will have a puncher’s chance to score an upset KO, but the combined boxing and jiu-jitsu skills of the champion limit the places he can pull off an upset. When you consider all that, even the best underdog payout of +185 at seems too small for the risk.
The other title on the line on the Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley card will see Tatsuya Kawajiri trying to take Gilbert Melendez’s Strikeforce Lightweight title. Melendez has emerged as one of the best Lightweights in the world, and Kawajiri will be fighting outside of Japan for the first time.
Melendez should be safe money at -220 to win his second straight title defense. One can’t imagine a way that Kawajiri could dominate Melendez, and he will likely lose once Melendez slaps on some type of submission in the second or third round. Even if you like the upset chance for Kawajiri, the best underdog odds on him is a +205 line at .
The safest bet on the card should be on Gegard Mousasi to beat over-the-hill former UFC standout Keith Jardine. The Dean of Mean is all but done in MMA, and is only getting fights based on his name. Mousasi won’t be a cheap favorite with the price at -435 at 5Dimes, but he’s easily worth the risk.
Even with a +325 upset payout at 5Dimes, we won’t risk it on Jardine.
Our only upset pick on the Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley card goes on Lyle Beerbohm over Shinya Aoki. Beerbohm is talented striker with sound wrestling skills and should be too much of a step up in competition for the Japanese MMA legend. We like the underdog bet of +185 on Beerbohm over the Sportsbook.ag -200 line on Aoki.