Kazuo Misaki overcame a nasty cut sustained from a Paul Daley elbow in the third round to earn a hard-fought split decision victory at the “Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey” event.
After feeling each other out for the first two minutes, Daley started to land his kicks, while Misaki was effective with his jab. Misaki shot in and put Daley on his back but was unable to keep the fight on the mat as Daley effectively used the cage to get back to his feet. Daley then scored with a nice one-two combination, but Misaki countered, scoring with a stiff left hand in the pocket. Misaki continued to throw multiple punch combinations as the round wore on, winning most of the exchanges as Daley managed mostly one-punch attacks. A big flurry by Misaki late in the round was halted by a Daley takedown. Daley would land several big punches from the top as time ran out on the first round.
Misaki continued to score with his combinations to start the second, backing Daley into the cage with a stiff knee up the middle. Misaki missed a judo throw, and gave up a takedown, but was able to reverse position late in the round. After a stall in the action, the referee restarted the fighters on the feet, and again Misaki got the best of the exchanges until the bell sounded.
Daley came out with a sense of urgency in the final frame, looking to establish his jab. However, it was Misaki again that was able to counter with big left hands each time Daley came forward. Daley took the fight to the mat and landed a punishing elbow that split open Misaki above his left eye, forcing a brief stoppage to check out the damage as blood spilled onto the mat. Misaki insisted he was OK, and the fight continued. Misaki gave up another takedown, but continued to score with his combinations and counter strikes late in the bout.
After fifteen minutes of action, Kazuo Misaki (25-11 MMA, 2-0 SF) was announced as the winner via split decision.
With the loss, Paul Daley falls to 3-3 under the Strikeforce banner (29-12 MMA).