WITH AN EVENT scheduled nearly every week from now until the end of the year, UFC fans have plenty to look forward to starting with Nate Diaz v. Jim Miller this weekend. It is testament to the strength and depth within each division that shows of such quality can be put on with such regularity and one thing is for sure, MMA fans aren’t complaining.
Nate ready to finally step out of Nick’s shadow?
For years Nate Diaz has had to put up with playing second fiddle to his older brother Nick. As Nick sweats out his suspension for marijuana use, the time could be right for Nate to finally step out of his brother’s shadow. He faces the prospect of a title shot against Ben Henderson if he can manoeuvre his way past an extremely tough opponent in Jim Miller.
Diaz’s stop-start MMA career has been littered with many false dawns and losses, but the motivation to finally outshine his brother could provide the impetus he needs to win this very difficult fight. Nate has had difficulties with wrestlers in the past and Jim Miller is top of the tree when it comes to that department, but his aggressive and relentless stand-up game could prove too strong for Miller.
If he carries the same attack-minded approach he took into his fight against Donald Cerrone and manages to neutralize the wrestling aspect, he has a very good chance of getting that title shot.
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Koscheck and Hendricks ready for war
Jonny Hendricks comes into this fight with Josh Koscheck with all the momentum as he surprisingly knocked out perennial contender Jon Fitch after just 12 seconds in his last bout. Koscheck struggled past a resolute Mike Pierce in his last fight leading many to believe that his star is finally starting to wane after all these years in the UFC.
But write Koscheck off at your peril. He is always a dangerous competitor and relishes the underdog tag. With the limelight firmly on Hendricks on this fight, the pressure is off for “Kos” and that could play into his hands. Many predict this is going to be a drawn out clinch-and-wrestle type fight and if it is, Koscheck could have the edge as he will look to his dirty boxing skills to take a tight decision.
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Best of the rest
Fans’ favourite Alan Belcher continues his return to action after a career threatening eye injury forced him out of action for over a year, as he faces Rousimar Palhares. He has won three in a row and provides a step-up in class for Belcher as he continues on the comeback trial. Belcher possesses numerous weapons in his arsenal, and has plenty of KOs and submissions on his record, but the bigger and stronger Brazilian may just overpower him on the ground while looking for a sub.
Pat Barry and Lavar Johnson complete the main card and the style of the two fighters suggests that this one won’t be going to the judges. Fourteen of Johnson’s sixteen wins have come by way of KO, while six of Barry’s seven wins have come by the same method so it is a case of whoever connects first, wins.
Swing into the long weekend by watching three-year-old Rory McIlroy playing golf in his parents’ living room