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Paul Daley Knocks Out Yuya Shirai, Nick Diaz May Be Next

Paul DaleyPaul Daley doesn't do anything fancy: He just punches really hard.

Daley did it again on Saturday in Manchester, England, knocking out Yuya Shirai with a powerful left uppercut followed by a quick hook and a couple hammer fists on the ground, winning by first round knockout without breaking a sweat on a British Association of Mixed Martial Arts card.

Daley, who improved his record to 27-9-2, is now likely to take on Nick Diaz for the Strikeforce welterweight title on April 9. Although Daley didn't say for sure that he'll fight Diaz, he did say after the fight, "There's more to come for me."

But while Daley vs. Diaz is guaranteed fireworks, there are always questions surrounding Daley. For starters, Daley missed weight for this fight, which is why the BAMMA title wasn't on the line. Strikeforce needs him to be able to make weight if he's going to fight for the welterweight belt, and yet Daley has missed weight almost as often as he's made it the last few years. And it's still not clear what Strikeforce's plans are for April 9, a card that has been shrouded in mystery and not even officially announced.

If nothing else Daley is an exciting fighter, and he showed that once again by making short work of Shirai, the welterweight champion of the Japanese DEEP promotion. No one disputes that Daley has big power in his hands.

In the co-main event of the BAMMA card, former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez dominated former Ultimate Fighter contestant James McSweeney, winning an easy unanimous decision. In the first few minutes of the fight, McSweeney showed off good striking that frustrated Rodriguez, but after that good start McSweeney did nothing, as Rodriguez took McSweeney down at will and dominated him on the ground. Rodriguez improved his professional record to 46-11, and he's now on an 11-fight winning streak, fighting mostly little-known opponents on small shows.

McSweeney, whose record falls to 4-7, simply has no ground game, and that made him a very easy opponent for Rodriguez. It would be nice to see Rodriguez fighting some better competition soon.

And we may see Daley fighting big-time competition soon, too.

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