The Nate Diaz and Rory Macdonald welterweight bout can be seen on the latter side of the free, televised prelims leading into UFC 129; an appetizer that is sure to spike (pun intended) the pallet of casual and hardcore MMA fans alike. The two young fighters are both coming off of losses to respected top contenders in the welterweight division and look to re-establish a base in a competitive division.
For Nate Diaz (13-6), this is a matter of proving that his shortcomings are obstacles he can overcome; those being his physical strength and slow-starting. His last fight against Dong Hyun Kim saw him dominated for the majority of the fight, but this wasn’t for lack of ability or effort; Nate just looked out muscled. Once the third round began, Diaz still looked fresh and tried his best to capitalize on his opponents exhaustion, but it was all too late. That seems to be a prevalent issue for Diaz, even at lightweight; his losses to Guida, Stevenson and Maynard all saw him have moderate success too late into the fight. Against Macdonald, who has a solid all-around game, Diaz cannot afford to fall into that similar paradigm of outlasting, he has to out-class his opponent from start to finish and push his own game plan and skill set forward.
In the young career of Rory Macdonald (10-1), we’ve yet to see him dominated, though. Carlos Condit TKO’d him last June, but that was a dog fight that saw Rory more than likely ahead on the judges scorecards before a stoppage in the last round ended Macdonald’s undefeated streak. What he has shown is a well-roundness that has not exactly come to be associated with youth (Macdonald is only 21) in mixed martial arts. Submitting veteran Mike Guymon in his UFC debut really opened the window of opportunity for Rory, and even in having to swallow his first loss, he looked well ahead of his years for the first ten minutes of that fight. Realistically speaking, viewers and analysts alike don’t know where Rory is the best, nor where he is the weakest, but that is a detriment to his opponent, as Nate could very well be boldly walking to an area in which Rory has an advantage.
Diaz will come forward aggressively and threatening as always, but the key is how measured that aggression is. If he waits out the first two rounds to begin his scrappy, overwhelming attack, it may be to Macdonald’s liking. Macdonald just has to keep Diaz guessing, always shooting, clinching, punching and feinting to do his best to put Diaz on the defensive.
This is a fight between two young, well-conditioned, sharply trained fighters is definitely one any fan of the sport would regret to miss. Tune in to Spike TV this Saturday, April 30th to watch Nate Diaz and Rory Macdonald keep up the instability of the ever-shifting welterweight division.