Nate Diaz represents at UFC 241 with dominant performance over ‘Showtime’
Perennial fan favorites Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis face off in Anaheim for the Co-main event of UFC 241. Nate Diaz returns after nearly a three year layoff to defend what he describes as his ‘Bad Motherfucker’ Belt against a ‘Showtime’ Pettis surging from his knock out win over Stephen Thompson. The winner will be assured to stay in the mix for title contention as the dust begins to settle on the upcoming critical matches within the Welterweight division’s top half. Mike Beltran is the official for this 170lbs match up.
Pettis shows initiative with his opening low kicks, targeting the lead leg of Diaz. Diaz floats with his hands low and starts combos with an intent to transition in the clinch and continue the press with dirty boxing. Nate Diaz lands the take down and is able to secure ground control, finishing the round with the back and neck of Pettis.
The low kick of Diaz has the leg of Pettis give out as they go sin to sin. Pettis recovers to his feet and the two continue the boxing. Diaz seems content to take the center of the octagon and stalk Pettis as he sticks and moves his way in and out of distance. Diaz continues plodding forward undeterred. Mike Beltran pauses the fight for an eye poke, but the ring side physician allowed to continue. Pettis remains on the back foot, baiting Diaz’s forward movement into a counter strike. Pettis makes good use of his elbows when Diaz forces the dirty boxing.
Diaz lands a knee from the back in the clinch and Pettis capitulates to the ground. Diaz lands another knee to the head as the exchange returns standing against the fence. Another knee from behind to the head drops a tired Pettis. He still offers offense from his back but is continually pummeled with knees from Diaz in his transitions from ground to standing. Diaz controls the wrists on the fence and the pair trade elbows and fists inside the phone booth.
Pettis is visibly fading, but his heart won’t allow him to concede to the persistent and nagging Diaz. Diaz’s limb control in the Thai clinch, paired with efficient standing knees to head patiently walk down Pettis as if it’s all a mere formality. But the toughness and heart of Pettis has him saved by the bell an unrelenting combination from Diaz batters his face. It’s reminiscent of his fight with Tony Ferguson, but barring serious injury, only a finish will keep Pettis from going the distance.
Diaz goes right back into the clinch with his long reach seemingly control the limbs of Pettis from all directions. Pettis best fight is with movement on the perimeter, but he is so tired that when Diaz engages the clinch he obliges. Diaz continues his volley of knees to the head and senses blood in the water. Diaz continues the ground and pound in a moment that felt it could have been the finish, but Pettis holds on to find a reversal and get into the guard of Diaz.
Pettis drops elbows to catch back up on the scorecards but is still being out struck with significant strikes 2 to 1 by Diaz. Diaz is much more comfortable in his guard, although the elbow of Pettis has opened a cut. Diaz gives the double middle fingers as Pettis stands to rest and he cannonballs right back into the guard of Diaz. The scramble leaves Diaz on top of the back and again slowly pummeling from behind. Settling into the underhooks Diaz works the strikes to sneak in the rear naked choke, but a wily alligator roll from Pettis has him back into Diaz’s guard. Pettis has gone from being nearly finished to recovering for a respectable end to the round, but it still wasn’t enough as the dominant Nate Diaz earns the unanimous decision (30-27,30-27,29-28).