Inside the Octagon every fighter has a puncher’s chance but Nick Diaz is primed and poised to stun living legend Anderson Silva and help us cash in our UFC 183 picks.
Nick Diaz – He’s Back!
In the interest of full disclosure this writer is not a big fan of Nick Diaz or for that matter his brother Nate. Now that doesn’t mean I am oblivious to the fact that both are tough as nails, supremely talented and have risen to the rarified air of competing in the big leagues of mixed martial arts. What I don’t like is that hood-rat Stockton swag that the brothers parade as though it was a badge of honor. That banner of disrespect they wear so well ranges from failure to make weight, taunting opponents, complaining about decisions that didn’t go their way, missing press conferences and generally acting like punks. If you met them in a barroom you wouldn’t like them because chances are they wouldn’t like you.
Now that I have that off my chest I will readily admit that Nick Diaz is going to defeat Anderson Silva when the two tangle inside the Octagon on January 31st. Diaz has agreed to remerge from “retirement” in order to face off against Anderson Silva. The 31-year-old BJJ mat master is coming off two controversial decision losses to Carlos Condit and George St. Pierre. Diaz was not happy with the way the judges saw both those fights, took his ball and went home. But the allure of big money and an opportunity to get a middleweight title shot has convinced him to beef up to 185 from his traditional standing as a welterweight and rejoin Dana White’s UFC organization.
Nick Diaz – Punisher
Just how and why will Nick Diaz climb one of the biggest mountains of his career? Let’s take a look at why the UFC odds slating Nick Diaz at +300 make this live dog worthy of inclusion in your UFC picks.
Let’s start with the age difference between the two fighters. Anderson Silva will turn 40 within the next few months while Diaz is reaching his physical prime at age 31. Middle-aged guys don’t get better nor does their cardio suddenly improve. Diaz is notorious for getting off early and often while setting a frenetic pace. He is not the guy you want to meet if your conditioning is less than one-hundred percent. Diaz’s sheer volume of punches should be enough to win the day if the fight goes to the judge’s scorecards. Anderson Silva is simply not equipped to launch as often nor will he be able to handle the immense pressure Diaz is certain to bring unless he can connect cleanly and back up the raging tiger. Not gonna happen.
Anderson Silva will be in no rush to take this fight to the mat. Nick Diaz was arguably the best grappler at 170 and his increased strength at 185 should help him control the ground game once on the mat with the Spider. Now before I get carried away, I will note that Silva can be deadly on his back and will not be an easy out when the bodies hit the floor. Nevertheless, I see Diaz able to control Silva and wear down his soon-to-be 40-year-old frame.
Lastly, we need to address “the leg”. Anderson Silva experienced a Theismanesque leg break against Chris Weidman in their rematch. His lethal leg whips have always been a staple in his vast arsenal but I can’t help thinking that the emotional trauma of hearing and feeling that sickening snap that caused us all to cringe will linger as he enters the Octagon. Silva has readily admitted that his psyche may have been damaged as much as his leg. We will see how healed both are at UFC 183.
In closing, let me state for the record that Nick Diaz would have little or no chance if he faced Anderson Silva 10 or even five years ago. But the UFC odds are not accounting for the demystification of the Spider. Silva can no longer “clown” in the ring as he once did without severe repercussions and his near loss to Chael Sonnen illustrated the cracks that were forming as the twilight of his career was advancing. This is a new start for Nick Diaz and the end of an era for not only Anderson Silva but all who worshipped him.
UFC Pick: Nick Diaz by TKO