Gray Maynard and Nate Diaz will fight for the third time on Saturday night in the main event of the Ultimate Fighter Finale. Both men have won one fight each and this encounter will probably be their last opportunity to prove which of them is the better fighter.
At one point in time both Maynard and Diaz were considered contenders in the UFC’s lightweight division, but after a series of disappointing performances and losses, both men now badly need a win to get back on track.
Diaz is going into this fight on the back of two consecutive losses to Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson. Prior to those losses Diaz looked really good and put together a three fight winstreak with notable victories over the likes of Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone.
Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson are elite fighters in the UFC’s lightweight division and losses to that calibre of fighter is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, the only problem is that Diaz performed really badly in both fights. He was knocked out with a brutal head kick by Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson was able to completely dominate him with superior grappling.
It’s a well known fact that fighters who lose three fights in a row, normally get cut by the UFC and end up having to look for a job elsewhere. Whether the same fate will happen to Diaz if he losses on Saturday night is a mystery, but it’s certainly not a situation that one of Stockton’s most famous fighting brothers wants to find himself in.
Most of Gray Maynards career since the Ultimate Fighter has involved back and forth wars with Frankie Edgar. These fights have really defined his career and aside from those closely fought match ups we haven’t really seen much of Maynard in the last few years. His most recent fight was a knock out loss at the hands of TJ Grant and we didn’t really get a chance to gauge Maynard’s current position in the Lightweight division, due to the fight being stopped so early in the first round by the devastating power of Grant.
Both fighters desperately need a win here and it could come down to who wants it more. There’s no question that they both need the win, but we’ve seen in their previous two fights that this is sure to be a closely contended match up…
At one point in his career Gray Maynard was a serious contender in the UFC’s Lightweight division, but unfortunately it appears like his best days are behind him. He’s only fought 4 times in the last 3 years and he’s only picked up 1 win in those 4 fights. He fought Frankie Edgar for the Lightweight title in classic UFC fights, but lets be honest with ourselves for a moment, Maynard was much bigger than Edgar who now competes at Featherweight and he failed to beat Edgar after two attempts.
Whilst Diaz hasn’t exactly looked great in the Octagon recently, his two most recent losses have come against guys at the very top of the UFC’s Lightweight division. Prior to his most recent losses he was riding a three fight win streak, having beaten some extremely tough opponents.
Nate Diaz is a bad match up for Gray Maynard mainly due to the fact that his style is going to be difficult for Maynard to cope with. Diaz is very active on the ground, with excellent submission skills. He also looks to push the pace for the entire duration of a fight and looks to strike hard and often. Maynard hasn’t competed much recently and tends to slow down the later the fight goes on, this isn’t good against an opponent like Diaz.
Diaz should pick up the win on Saturday night by out-boxing and out-working Maynard. With odds available on Diaz of 2.25, this is a great value bet and a good opportunity to back an underdog in a fight that they have a really great chance of winning.
NATE DIAZ TO WIN[divider]
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