Diaz finally returns to action against the resurging Pettis
Anthony Pettis Vs Nate Diaz
Free UFC Pick: Anthony Pettis -125
Best Line Offered: 5Dimes
I honestly never thought we would see Nate Diaz in the octagon again. Nate has a HUGE following and has long been at odds with the UFC making it hard for us as fans to watch him in action. He was finally matched up with current interim champion Dustin “The Diamond’ Poirier in November of 2018 but the fight fell apart under very strange circumstances and we were robbed of maybe one of the greatest match-ups that nobody saw coming in UFC history because Diaz felt like he wasn’t being taken care of financially or given the amount of media push he warranted. Diaz appears to have solved his UFC matchmaking problems by coming to terms with Pettis on his own and basically telling the UFC “This is happening’.
Both fighters started their careers down a weight class at 155 and this fight realistically could have and maybe should have happened years ago. Diaz came off The Ultimate Fighter, winning his season and was tearing through the UFC’s lightweight division when Pettis announced himself to the world on a rocketship when he pulled off the infamous Showtime Kick taking the WEC belt from Ben Henderson and becoming the first-ever fighter to grace a Wheaties Box. Pettis came into the UFC and received all the blessings Diaz always felt he deserved and has been calling him out ever since.
Nate Diaz is 19-11 and has been a staple of the Cesar Gracie Fight Team. His biggest asset is his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which has always been on another level. He has paired that with a never-ending gas tank and an impressive boxing toolbox. Nate is 6 feet tall and uses his height and 76-inch reach advantage over most opponents to good use with a volume boxing heavy striking offense and he tends to overwhelm and break them. One of the biggest things you want to watch for when betting MMA is a suspect gas tank and Nate, with his older brother Nick, trains for triathlons in his off time for fun, so that’s never a concern. Nate outputs 4.64 significant strikes per minute with a 44% accuracy rate. When you are attempting that many strikes your accuracy tends to dip so that stat is not overly concerning.
The biggest issue I have Nate is his fight IQ. He has such a good ground game that he is never afraid to let the fight hit the mat. What that translates to is that he gives up takedowns that score for his opponents since he is willing to take the fight anywhere. Nate has a 45% takedown defense rate and almost never attempts them himself, averaging only 1.17 takedown attempts per 15 minutes of cage time. The reason he is so confident in his ground game is the 11 submissions he has locked up for a 58% submission win rate. If a Nate Diaz hits the mat he almost always has the advantage, but he almost never attempts to get it there himself and would rather stand in the center of the cage and open-hand slap his opponents to suck them into a brawl. This is where I take issue with Nate. He has all the skills in the world and can both stand with the best and grapple with the best, but he does not fight intelligently. He wants a war and if you stay calm cool and collected he does not fight by the rules of the game in order to win in MMA.
Anthony “Showtime’ Pettis, on the other hand, is a very smart fighter. Pettis fights out of Roufusport and is the star pupil of legendary trainer Duke Roufus. Anthony is 22-8 and has fought an absolute whos-who of the UFC’s 145 and 155-pound divisions. Having a much more impressive record Anthony’s only losses have come to the elite of the division such as Tony Ferguson, Dustin Poirier, Max Holloway, and Rafael dos Anjos. Pettis is 5’11 and has an impressive 72-inch reach himself, so the length of his opponent Diaz will not be as big a factor in this fight as in some others. The other main reason the range will be a key factor in who wins this fight is that Pettis primarily a kicker. The power he shows in his legs is something else and he has 11 of his 22 wins by KO for a 50% knockout rate.
Showtime’s offense is far more calculated as he only averages 2.87 significant strikes per minute with a 45% significant strike accuracy rate. Pettis also rarely attempts takedowns with less than 1 attempt per 15 minutes but is no slouch on the ground himself. Pettis also has 7 submissions on his record for a 32% submission rate combining for an incredible 82% finishing rate. He has submitted submission specialists such as Michael Chiesa and Charles Oliveira, so he won’t be afraid of this fight hitting the mat either. While I would give the edge on the ground in technical proficiency to Nate I believe the athleticism and explosiveness that Pettis brings to the table will cause Nate problems. I see this fight mostly playing out on the feet and as long as Anthony fights smart calculated game he will win a decision or may even TKO Diaz. Pettis can attack the long legs of Diaz and slow his movement down and stay out of range choosing when to dart in for fast attacks. Nate will get frustrated and flip him off, but won’t be able to force the fight as long as Showtime stays on his bike.
This fight is taking place at 170 where both fighters have filled out their frames, but the biggest benefit of this will be the power Showtime carries. In his most recent fight against long-time welterweight contender Stephen Thompson, Anthony was able to give him the first knockout loss of his career. Pettis has doubled down on the new weight class and based off of his Instagram he is adding strength and size that he didn’t have at 155 that will only lend to his KO power. This fight is only 3 rounds as well and we know how Diaz will stand and fight in the center of the cage until somebody drops, but Anthony can be far more technical and play to the judges stealing rounds away in the event that this fight goes to decision. I am going to bank on the smarter fighter here. The pick is Anthony “Showtime’ Pettis.
Free UFC Pick: Anthony Pettis -125