UFC on Fox 3 – Diaz shines, Koscheck fades
Saturday night saw the UFC deliver in a big way. From the first fight to the last, there was something for everyone this fight night.
Nate Diaz moved from oft times undelivered potential to full blown title challenger as he stopped the hometown favourite Jim Miller by guillotine choke in the 2nd round.
Knowing in advance that a win would secure him the title shot he has been searching for, Diaz looked comfortable from the moment the two men touched gloves.
Never looking in any real danger, Nate was able to control Miller with the trademark Diaz combination punches, bloodying the nose and mouth of Miller early on.
In the 2nd round Nate was in full swagger, taunting and posing as only the Diaz brothers can do.
Late on in the round Nate reversed a Miller takedown attempt and quickly locked in a powerful Guillotine choke that had Miller biting down on his own tongue.
With 4 minutes and 9 seconds gone in the round Nate Diaz had become the first man to stop the Jersey native and book his title shot against the winner of the upcoming Henderson / Edgar rematch (tentatively set for UFC 150)
Did his showing warrant his proposed title shot?
He certainly does when you take into account Miller has fought against current lightweight champion Ben Henderson, current No. 1 contender Frankie Edgar, and previous No. 1 contender Gray Maynard. None of them finished him. Diaz did, and needed less than two rounds to do so, also securing a cool $65,000 for the submission of the night award.
The younger Diaz brother looks set to finally fulfill his promise. Could we be looking at the next lightweight division ruler? Only time will tell on that one.
In the co main event of the evening, former title challenger and MMA bad boy Josh Koscheck fell to a split decision loss to Johny Hendricks in a good fight that saw both men, at times, swing for the fences.
Going the way many had foreseen, given the fact that both fighters are high level wrestlers; the fight was mainly fought on the feet.
An accidental eye poke by Josh to Johny early in the 1st was the main story of the round, a round that many scored for Koscheck including Judge Almeida; a former fighter himself.
From the 2nd round onward Hendricks began to out strike Koscheck, easily controlling distance with his powerful jab and causing swelling around the right eye of Kos.
The debate in scoring looks to be centred around the 3rd and final round though.
At the midway point of the round Koscheck landed a takedown and controlled the remainder of that round in top position, all the while not looking threatening or doing any significant damage.
Prior to the takedown Hendricks was still controlling the fight, totally out working and out landing his opponent.
Final punch stats for the fight show the difference between the two. Hendricks out struck his man 91-59 over the three rounds.
On a different night with different judges, luck may have been in favour of Josh Koscheck due to the 3rd round takedown and subsequent control; just not tonight even though Judge Almeida scored the fight in favour of Koscheck
The loss really hurts Josh. Having lost to current welterweight champion GSP twice, it was always going to be a hard sell to find his way to another title shot while GSP remains champion. That sell has perhaps now been made as hard as it is to sell sand in a dessert.
For the division at least, the Hendricks win was much needed as we now have a fresh (possible) title challenger.
I do however still have my doubts over Johny’s chances in a title fight. While only he and the aforementioned GSP can say they hold wins over Koscheck and Jon Fitch, does it really mean Hendricks is the real deal?
For me I’d like to see him win just one more fight against a Nick Diaz or more likely Jake Ellenberger. A win against either of those two would let the world know if Hendricks really is “the beard to be feared”.
The biggest notable “other” fight came in the night’s heavyweight division main card opener.
Pat Barry faced off against former Strikeforce heavyweight Lavar Johnson.
Barry opened up strong, even securing a big takedown. On the mat Barry looked to lock in a submission before opting to return the fight to the stand-up position.
In retrospect Barry may be wishing he would’ve tried to advance some more on the mat and perhaps look to apply some ground and pound.
Once the fight resumed on the feet Johnson took over and pressed Pat back against the cage and unleashed a huge combination of right/ left hooks & powerful uppercuts that dropped Barry and left the referee no choice but to halt the fight.
A big win for Johnson and another learning experience for the always exciting Pat HD Barry in a fight that delivered what many had hoped for. Johnson was awarded an extra $65,000 for KO of the night.
For British fight fans there was some joy as up and coming British fighter John Hathaway put on a clinic and took out the previously undefeated Pascal Krauss via unanimous decision.
Coming off a prolonged absence due to injuries Hathaway got a much needed win and has promised to stay as active as possible in the coming 12 months. Good news for Brits as Hathaway is good over all aspects of the MMA spectrum and could possibly knock on some big name doors further down the road.
Full results from the card are below:
Main card –
Nate Diaz def. Jim Miller via submission (guillotine choke) Submission of the night winner
Johny Hendricks def. Josh Koscheck via split decision
Alan Belcher def. Rousimar Palhares via first-round TKO
Lavar Johnson def. Pat Barry via first-round TKO Knockout of the night winner
Preliminary card –
Michael Johnson def. Tony Ferguson via unanimous decision
John Dodson def. Tim Elliott via unanimous decision
John Hathaway def. Pascal Krauss via unanimous decision
Louis Gaudinot def. John Lineker via submission (guillotine) Fight of the night award winner
Danny Castillo def. John Cholish via unanimous decision
Dennis Bermudez def. Pablo Garza by unanimous decision
Roland Delorme def. Nick Denis via submission (rear-naked choke)
Karlos Vemola def. Mike Massenzio by TKO in round 2