On paper, it was a contrasting match up of wrestler vs. striker and the wrestler came out of top, but it wasn’t easy.
The hard hitting Daley defended the first two takedown attempts by Woodley in the first round. Woodley’s threat of the takedown allowed him to dictate the striking, though, out-punching Daley through the first five minutes.
Woodley secured a takedown in the early going of the second round but was unable to do significant damage and referee “Big” John McCarthy stood the fight up in the closing seconds of the round. Daley ended the round on top landing punches, but Woodley maintained top position for most of the round doing enough to take it on the judges’ scorecards.
Daley came out aggressive in the final stanza, but was put on his back in the first minute. Woodley quickly advanced to Daley’s half guard and began to land elbows. Daley worked his way back to full guard and eventually back to his feet with two minutes on the clock. Woodley immediately tried to get the fight back to the ground but Daley defended and started landing punches and knees.
In the closing seconds of the bout, Daley attempted an oma plata as a last-ditch effort to end the fight, but to no avail. Woodley obtained top position and that’s how the fight ended. The judges rendered a 29-28 score for Woodley on all three scorecards.
It was back to back loses for Daley but he displayed a much improved ground game. He stuffed eight of Woodley’s takedown attempts, was able to scramble back to his feet once and took little damage while on his back.
Following the fight, Woodley attributed his wrestling ability for the win.
“It definitely turned out to be successful. I had to draw deep, though,” said Woodley in his post-fight interview.
“He was definitely prepared for me to do a lot of takedowns, so I had to mix it up with strikes. When I did it well, I took him down. When I didn’t, I got stuffed.”
For Woodley, the win likely puts him in line to compete for the vacant Strikeforce welterweight title. Nick Diaz vacated the crown to take on Georges St-Pierre for the UFC title at UFC 137 in October.
“Next fight, let’s do it for the world title.”
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