Kazuo Misaki turned in an impressive performance to defeat Paul Daley by split decision on Saturday night at Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey, controlling the fight in the early going and holding on despite an ugly cut on his face in the third round.
The judges scored it 30-27 Misaki, 29-28 Daley and 29-28 Misaki.
Misaki, a Japanese veteran who was fighting in Strikeforce for just the second time, undoubtedly gained a lot of new fans on Saturday night for a very good showing in an exciting and fun fight.
Misaki was very effective in his striking in the first round, landing punches and then backing away before Daley could connect. Late in the first Daley -- who almost always prefers to stand and trade with his opponents -- took Misaki down, which was a strong indication of just how frustrated Daley was getting with Misaki's striking. Misaki definitely won the first.
The second round was closer, but Daley remained hesitant to really let his hands go because he was frustrated with what Misaki was doing. At his best, Daley throws his punches very hard. That's not what he was doing against Misaki.
A minute into the third round Daley executed a nice takedown and put Misaki on his back, then opened up a huge cut on Misaki's forehead with an elbow. The cut was big enough that the ref halted the fight to have the doctor examine it, but the fight was allowed to continue and Misaki showed a lot of heart, holding on and winning the fight.