This Saturday night, the UFC will once again be put on a mammoth stage with UFC on FOX 3. Their first two efforts on Fox TV were not tremendously popular with the fans. UFC on Fox 1 featured one fight and it ran just over a minute. The UFC were forced to cover an hour of airtime with their lone fight covering just a smidge 1/60th of said time. UFC on Fox 2 saw three fights, all going the distance. The main event between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis wasn’t terribly riveting so the fans complained.
To be fair, the criticisms the first two shows received were somewhat unjustified. All Joe Silva can do is book great fights, it’s up to the fighters to perform and entertain. You can’t blame a guy for knocking his opponent out in just over a minute. In fact, most of the time it’s what the fans ask for and complain about when they don’t get it. By the same token, even though Rashad and Phil Davis slowed the night down a bit, the Chael Sonnen/Michael Bisping fight was a success. It’s safe to say that this time; the ingredients are there for action packed fun.
Jim Miller vs. Nate Diaz
This fight is very important in the Lightweight division. The winner here takes a giant leap towards the front of the line, while the loser will find himself in the middle of the pack nipping and barking for scraps. Miller is as tough as any fighter at 155, but isn’t overly polished. Jim Miller uses brute strength, a durable chin and tremendous wrestling to achieve success inside the Octagon. He wrestled in high school and one year at Virginia Tech. His 21-3 record contains victories over highly ranked opponents such as, Melvin Guillard, Matt Wiman, Duane Ludwig, Charles Oliveira, Gleison Tibau and many more. His losses have come to champions Ben Henderson, Frankie Edgar and the highly regarded Gray Maynard. The New Jersey native will be fighting in home state and that should provide him with even more energy and drive.
For Miller to be successful he’ll need to control the pace of the fight. He doesn’t want to get into a sprint with Diaz. He should use his boxing to his advantage in order to take the fight down and punish Diaz on the ground. Nate has outstanding submissions, but Miller is a black belt in Jiu Jitsu, and can more than hold his own on the ground. The best results for Miller would come with a long, strategic fight, going into the late rounds where he can wear down and punish Diaz.
Nate Diaz has all the tools at his disposal to be the best an elite level UFC fighter. He’s never in a bad fight, as his five fight of the night awards can speak to. He’s a hard hitting boxer with a durable chin and has great takedowns, submissions and a brawling style that is in your face and doesn’t blink. He holds a 15-7 record, and has victories over top fighters like Melvin Guillard, Donald Cerrone, Takanori Gomi, and Marcus Davis. He is on a two fight winning streak, but is 2-2 in his last four. He was thrown around at will by Rory MacDonald, but that was at Welterweight and Diaz is much stronger at 155. What’s troubling for Diaz going into this fight is who he has lost to. He’s lost fights where fighters just grind him down and out wrestle him. Clay took him down and wore him out in the clinch. Joe Stevenson also utilized takedowns and clinch work to maul Diaz.
A successful night for Nate Diaz will include sharp striking and good takedown defense. Diaz lost a striking contest to Gray Maynard, but had he been sharper that night and not wild at times, he would have won the decision. Nate loves to talk, and taunt his opponents into fighting his fight, but he won’t be able to that to a veteran like Miller. He’ll have to use reach, combinations and keep the fight active to come out on top.
This fight should be a back and forth clash consisting of two polished and professionals. It could turn into a wild brawl, but it shouldn’t. Who will win? Tune in later this week for Josh’s picks and find out what he thinks.
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