Strikeforce Vegas Odds and Expert Predictions: Diaz vs Daley Free Picks, Lines and Preview – Diaz the Favorite 4/7/11: On Saturday, April 9 at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California two Strikforce belts will be defended. The main event pits current welterweight champion Nick Diaz against arguably his toughest test to date, Paul “Semtex” Daley. The co-main event has Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez defending his lightweight title against Dream veteran Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri. Also featured on the card is former light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi taking on Mike “Mak” Kyle and jiu jitsu/judo standout Shinya Aoki fighting Lyle Beerbohm.

Shinya Aoki vs Lyle Beerbohm
Favorite: Shinya Aoki -200
Underdog: Lyle Beerbohm +170
View the most current lines at BetUS Sportsbook

Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm (16-1) took a rather unconventional path to get to this point in his career. After becoming addicted to methamphetamines, he spent a year in prison on drug related crimes. It was in prison that his interest was sparked in MMA, and upon release, he immediately began training. After spending only 23 months as an amateur and going 10-0, “Fancy Pants” went professional. After tearing through the competition starting in 2007, his perfect 16-0 record took its first blemish at Strikforce -Challengers 14. Always a game opponent and a fighter that’s not scared to stand and trade in the pocket Beerbohm is looking to get back to his winning ways.

Already holding a lightweight belt with Dream, Shinya Aoki (26-5-1) is looking to work his way up the Strikeforce ladder and add another belt around his waist. He is known in Japan for his excellent hip work and wild jiu jitsu. It’s not uncommon for Shinya to leave his feet for a flying arm bar or work a standing anaconda choke. Aside from his natural talent and flexibility, it’s his unpredictable nature that makes him so dangerous. This will be the second time Shinya has stepped into the Strikeforce cage. The first was in April of 2010, which resulted in a loss against the current lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.

Shinya is going to look to get in tight and work the clinch game, which is what Beerbohm needs to avoid. This may be hard for him because Beerbohm’s natural fighting style is wrestling, and he is going to want to score takedowns and work his ground and pound. The way Melendez neutralized Shinya was keeping his distance, giving him a steady diet of jabs and not following him to the ground. Beerbohm needs to keep this fight standing and try to exploit the holes in Aoki’s stand up. The line in this fight is close with Shinya being at (-200) and Beerbohm at (+170). Shinya is going to be able to close the distance and either score a takedown or pull guard. Either way this fight ends with Beerbohm tapping, and bettors should back Shinya.

Shinya Aoki vs Lyle Beerbohm Prediction: Aoki by way of submission

Gegard Mousasi vs Mike “Mak” Kyle
Favorite: Gegard Mousasi -340
Underdog: Mike Kyle +270
View the most current lines at BetUS Sportsbook

Mike Kyle (18-8-1) is a kick boxer and has taken 12 of his 18 wins by way of knockout. Jumping around from different promotions like King of the Cage and brief stint with the UFC, Kyle has shown that he is always a game opponent and always comes to fight. His last bout was a loss in the heavyweight division against Antonio Silva. He comes back down to a more natural weight for this fight after looking completely overmatched with the 265 pounders.

A guy that looks like he is walking out for a chess match rather than getting locked in a cage until one person taps out or gets put to sleep is a scary thing to stand across from. Gegard Mousasi (30-3-1) comes to the ring with such an overwhelming calm it almost seems like he doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into. But when you’ve fought 34 times and 30 of those your hand was raised, I’d say his style works. Mousasi won the Strikeforce light heavyweight belt on August 15, 2009 with a vicious first round TKO (punches) over Renato Sobral. Less than a year later, he lost it to Muhammed Lawal, who controlled him for the better part of 25 minutes with superior wrestling and positioning. He has since won twice in Dream and is looking to get back in the title hunt in Strikeforce.

There is a reason the line in this fight heavily favors Mousasi (-340) over Kyle (+270). Mousasi hadn’t lost since 2006 before getting controlled by a superior wrestler to lose his title. Kyle is not a wrestler and is going to look to stand and bang with Mousasi, and that strategy has ended badly for most. Fortunately, bettors don’t have to make the same mistake.

Gegard Mousasi vs Mike “Mak” Kyle Prediction: Mousasi by knockout

Lightweight Championship Bout
Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez vs Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri
Favorite: Gilbert Melendez -220
Underdog: Tatsuya Kawajiri +185
View the most current lines at BetUS Sportsbook

A former Shooto welterweight champion, Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri (27-6-2) stays true to his nickname and looks to take fighters down and work a devastating ground and pound. This is his first fight in the United States and also Strikeforce. It was in 2006 that these two met in Pride Shockwave, and it was Melendez who had his hand raised on that day by way of unanimous decision. Kawajiri has since cleaned up his game so expect this fight to be just as close as the last. Kawajiri is sitting at (+185) in this fight.

Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (19-2) reclaimed his lightweight title on December 19, 2010 against the man that took it from him, Josh Thomson. He is widely considered the No. 2 lightweight in the world and has avenged the only two losses he has suffered in his career. Melendez has the ability to dictate the pace and location of fights. He is a strong muay thai striker and an even more powerful wrestler. This gives him the unique ability to not only score on his feet but also earn takedowns and grind out the fight.

This is going to be an excellent rematch between two very talented fighters. This is the one fight on the card I can see going the distance. Both these men will be scoring takedowns and jockeying for position on the ground and within sprawls. Melendez being favored in this fight at (-220) has the oddsmakers calling for a close fight as well. It will most likely go to decision but, Melendez will find a way to win. Bettors looking to do the same should back Melendez in this one.

Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez vs Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri Prediction: Melendez by unanimous decision

Welterweight Championship Bout
Nick Diaz vs Paul “Semtex” Daley

Favorite: Nick Diaz -195
Underdog: Paul Daley +165
View the most current lines at BetUS Sportsbook

Rewind to May 8, 2010 and you’ll see Paul “Semtex” Daley (27-9-2) at one of the most important moments of his career. He was riding a four-fight winning streak that were all by way of TKO or KO and fighting Josh Koscheck for the opportunity to face George St. Pierre for the UFC welterweight title. After getting dominated for 15 minutes and throwing a punch after the final bell, Daley’s status went from ultra-hyped contender to Dana White issuing a statement that he would never step foot in the UFC again. Daley has since gotten his career back on track and is again facing career defining moment. To say Daley has nasty stand up is an understatement. One well placed left hook and Nick Diaz could be staring at the ceiling lights. He is scrappy and looks to take people out quickly and emphatically.

There are fighters who through punches in bunches, and then there is Nick Diaz (24-7-1). It’s not an unusual sight to see Diaz throw 150 punches in a round and not even break a sweat. Diaz is a cardio machine with unorthodox striking and a black belt under Cesar Gracie. Within his unorthodox striking, he loves to attack the liver – a strategy which he used to drop Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith. When he entered the MMA world, he was widely considered a strick jiu jitsu practitioner. It was his knockout of Robby Lawler that made everyone pay attention to his striking as well. He has been all over the place including Elite XC, Pride and UFC.

In terms of the line, this is another close fight, according to the oddsmakers with Diaz (-195) favored over Daley (+165). Daley has the ability to end a fight early, but Diaz has shown he is not afraid to go Rocky Balboa with anyone. The last time he was defeated by TKO was 2007, and that was for a cut. No one has been able to decisively put away Diaz in terms of a KO since Jeremy Jackson in 2002. The difference in this fight will be the cardio of Nick Diaz. He has shown in every one of his fights that he can go full blast for as long as the other fighter is standing. If Daley fatigues at all, which will eventually happen, Diaz will capitalize. As strong as Nick’s stand up is, he’s even deadlier on the ground. Look for him to take it to the ground and sink in a choke.

Nick Diaz vs Paul “Semtex” Daley Prediction: Diaz by way of submission

3 EASY STEPS to BET on STRIKEFORCE MMA!
STEP 1: CLICK HERE to OPEN BetUS Account
STEP 2: In the Referall Section choose “Website” and type in “NSAWINS.COM” in details field.
STEP 3: Deposit with Credit Card and get a 55% BONUS instantly or Deposit by Check and get a 55% BONUS instantly plus an EXTRA 45% BONUS by emailing your account # to info@nsawins.com with “BetUS 100% BONUS” in the subject line.