Two hard-hitters will meet this Saturday when Paul Daley and Scott Smith clash in the co-main event of "Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu" from Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Here is MMA For Real's preview of the fight:
Record: 25-9-2 overall, Strikeforce Debut
Key wins: John Alessio (MFC 19), Martin Kampmann (UFC 103), Dustin Hazelett (UFC 108)
How he got here: Paul Daley has had an interesting 2010. He was rolling along through the early part of the year and found himself near the top of the contender list for the UFC welterweight title going into his UFC 113 fight with Josh Koscheck. That's a night Daley will want to forget. Koscheck dominated Daley for 15 minutes and Daley didn't land his best punch until he sucker punched Koscheck after the fight, earning himself a one-way ticket to the unemployment line from UFC president Dana White. Following his UFC dismissal, Daley has rebounded with two wins, most recently defeating Jorge Masvidal by decision at Shark Fights 13. Because of the lack of depth in Strikeforce, a win here could position Daley for a shot at Nick Diaz's welterweight title.
How he gets it done: Daley is a knockout artist, plain and simple. Of his 25 wins, 18 have come by KO or TKO with five by decision and two by submission. Both of his submission wins were due to strikes. Between his early 2009 loss to Nick Thompson and his loss to Koscheck, Daley reeled off four straight first-round stoppage wins with no one making it further than 2:31. Daley's deficiency, the ground game, likely will not be a factor in this fight. Of his nine losses, five have been by submission. Daley has never been stopped by strikes in his 36-fight career.
Record: 17-7-0 (1 NC), 3-2 Strikeforce
How he got here: Although his UFC career never quite panned out, Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith has made quite the name for himself in Strikeforce with his "never say die" fighting style that has led to two of the biggest comeback wins in MMA history against Benji Radach and Cung Le. Here against Daley, Smith will make the move to welterweight as he looks to remain relevant in the sport. This will be the fifth time Smith has fought on Showtime in addition to the two times he battled Robbie Lawler on CBS. Smith is a heavy hitter and usually in a Scott Smith fight, somebody is getting stopped. He's only been to one decision in his 25-fight career, a loss to Patrick Cote at UFC 67.
How he gets it done: Like Daley, Smith is a knockout artist, so expect fireworks in this one. Of his 17 career wins, 14 have come by KO or TKO with three by submission. All three of those submissions came by rear-naked choke and he hasn't had one since 2004 when he was still on the California regional scene. Of his seven losses, three have come by KO or TKO, three by submission and one by decision. Smith will stand and trade, even if it is to his detriment and he is very hittable.
Bottom line: Things don't look good for Smith in this fight. The combination of a first-time weight cut and Daley's lethal ability make this a tough go for "Hands of Steel." How will Smith's power react to the drop in weight? There are a few question marks here. Expect this to play out like every Scott Smith fight you've ever seen with a striker. He always has a puncher's chance and can pull things out of nowhere as we've seen on multiple occasions, but Daley isn't going to give him that opportunity. I'm going to go with Daley to win via second-round TKO.
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