With Nick Diaz bailing for the UFC to challenge Georges St. Pierre's welterweight title, the Strikeforce 170 pound division was completely up in the air heading into last night's (July 30, 2011) bout between rising prospect Tyron Woodley and Paul Daley on the Strikeforce: "Fedor vs. Henderson" main card.
Someone needed a decisive victory, but it didn't happen.
What many analysts expected to happen, though, most certainly did as Woodley overwhelmed Daley with his superior wrestling.He didn't do much with it on the ground and faded late, outlasting the Brit's desperate assault long enough to take a unanimous decision.
We'll break the fight down and tell you what it means after the jump.
Woodley entered the fight with a tremendous wrestling advantage, having been an All-American at a Division I college in Missouri, while Daley was, you know, British.
Daley surprised early by fending off Woodley's takedown attempts, but he still had significant trouble keeping his back off the fence in the clinch.
In the second round, Woodley finally put Daley on his back but did next to nothing once he had him there, choosing instead to hold the former title challenger down. In his defense, Daley seemed content to try and wrap Woodley up for four straight minutes hoping for a stand-up.
In the third, the Missouri wrestler began to fade a bit and "Semtex" finally went for the kill. He hurt Woodley with a series of punches and knees but nothing was serious enough to threaten ending the fight. Instead, with Woodley desperately latching onto a leg for a takedown, Daley dropped down and went for an omaplata, a submission which is much more often used as a sweep than a fight-ending maneuver.
Woodley held on to score a 29-28 unanimous decision, but he didn't do much to convince fans that he's got the makings of a dominant welterweight champion.
For Paul Daley, despite his interesting quotes, entertaining trash talk and powerful fists, he still has serious problems against strong wrestlers. His most likely future prospects are to hop a plane across the pond to defend his BAMMA welterweight title against recent promotional signee Nate Marquardt.
For Tyron Woodley, yes, he's still undefeated, but he still has a lot of work to do. He's still a young, strong and athletic fighter, but he's not developing fast enough, at least in the eyes of many fans. There are not many solid prospects for him with Daley out of the picture. He's going to fight for Nick Diaz's vacant welterweight title in his next fight, that's a certainty, but against who?
Evangelista Santos hasn't fought since losing to Diaz earlier this year, Bobby Voelker is just now graduating from the Challengers series, and Tarec Saffiedine just lost to Woodley seven months ago. The only even plausible option seems to be recent Japanese signed fighter Kazuo Misaki, who said he'd drop down to welterweight, but he's not exactly a household name. The future is still very cloudy for Woodley.
So what's your take Maniacs?
Is Woodley ready to fight for the vacant welterweight strap? If so, against who?