History in the Making: Nick Diaz comes up short against Karo Parisyan at UFC 49

Photo via UFC.com

Of the four losses Nick Diaz has suffered inside the Octagon, one was handed to him by a future champion and two came from emerging title contenders. And each time he came up short, not once did the fight end within the distance.

During his initial stint in the UFC -- when Diaz wasn't knocking his opponents out or submitting them -- he proved impossible to finish, going toe to toe with his opponents from bell to bell. Fights with Sean Sherk, Diego Sanchez, and Joe Riggs all went to the judges as each of those opponents figured out how to earn a win against the Stockton native but couldn't solve the riddle of how to beat him.

Another such bout was against vaunted judoka Karo Parisyan. "The Heat" has fallen on hard times as of late but during the mid-2000s, the Armenian was an impressive force in the promotion's welterweight division. He was even set to challenge Matt Hughes for the 170-pound title but suffered an injury in training camp.

Pariysan and Diaz's bout at UFC 49 wasn't even booked for the main card but the two still managed to tear the house down and at the end of 15 minutes, Parisyan was able to score a split decision over his opponent.

Over half a decade later, a Georges St. Pierre knee injury has placed Diaz in the main event of next week's (Oct. 29) UFC 137 event so in honor of his bout with B.J. Penn, we'll take a look at Diaz's 2004 classic.

Don't be scared, homie.

Going into the bout, Diaz had a flawless Octagon record at two wins and no losses. The completion of his regional scene trilogy with Jeremy Jackson earned him the first victory and his amazing knockout over Robbie Lawler scored him the second. In a time before the 170-pound division was considered "GSPLand," three wins in the division could equal a title shot.

On the opposite side of the cage, "The Heat" had split his first two fights in the UFC. He won his debut but lost his next tilt to a another debuting fighter, a hip hop-loving French-Canadian you may or may not have heard of.

That late summer evening in Las Vegas, the Armenian was looking to get back to his winning ways while the Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) player was dead set on getting his third straight Octagon victory.

Let's dive right on in.

"The Heat" immediately takes the center of the cage and clinches with his opponent. Seconds later, the judoka is able to slam Diaz to the mat. No stranger to grappling himself, the Cesar Gracie product gets right back to his feet.

Pressed up against the cage by his Armenian opponent, Diaz searches for a kimura which he soon finds. To defend, Parisyan straightens his arm out and drops his opponent to the mat. He keeps his composure and is able to free himself from the submission before ending up on his feet, trying to avoid upkicks from Diaz.

"The Heat" wades in with ground and pound a couple of times and ends up in his opponent's half-guard. As Diaz jockeys Parisyan back to full guard, the Armenian drops elbows across the Stockton native's jaw. They get back to their feet and Diaz flips the script on Parisyan, dropping him to the mat.

Like a skipping record, they once again end up on their feet but are almost immediately back to the mat courtesy of a Parisyan takedown. The judoka is able to nullify his opponent's guard for a while and lands effective ground and pound.

Back to their feet, Diaz begins to take control. His boxing is crisper, more refined. He is able to score with two nice knees from a Thai clinch before the round expires.

"The Heat" starts the second with a takedown but is quickly swept by the BJJ player. Diaz is able to take his opponent's back but Parisyan locks on a kimura during a scramble. The Stockton fighter drops to the mat and once again takes the judoka's back before Parisyan is able to slide him off and get to his feet, landing a solid knee in the process.

We're one minute in.

They clinch up against the cage with Diaz landing good punches and knees to the body. They break apart and Diaz begins to push the pace. He stalks his opponent and opens up with his hands, perhaps sensing fatigue sweeping over Parisyan.

Takedown attempt after attempt are shrugged off by the Cesar Gracie fighter as he punishes the judoka with his striking, busting his nose up. To give the Armenian credit, he's busted Diaz open as well. Parisyan is finally able to get his opponent to the mat but with only seconds remaining.

The final round opens up and the two begin swinging like wild men. Cooler heads -- at least on Parisyan's side -- prevail and "The Heat" secures a takedown early. Diaz nearly locks on a triangle a couple of times and even another kimura but Parisyan's submission defense combined with sweat and fatigue help the Armenian survive.

The fighters are stood up as Parisyan's mouthpiece needed to be rinsed off and upon the restart, Diaz immediately finds himself once again on his back. He attempts to scramble, throw up submission, anything he can but Parisyan proves to be too much. 

Two judges shared scorecards that read 29-28 although each had a different fighter coming out ahead. The third judge scored each round for "The Heat," which earned him the split decision.

Since then Parisyan has slowly and painfully fallen out of relevance while Diaz has found himself nearly atop the 170-pound world. He's a polarizing figure in mixed martial arts (MMA) circles due to his actions -- inside and outside the cage -- and how others quantify what he does.

He is either "the greatest man to ever live" -- as MMA Nation's Jonathan Snowden once opined -- or an over-ranked fighter with next to no takedown defense who has been fed a steady stream of mid-tier opposition.

At UFC 137 -- against future Hall of Famer B.J. Penn -- we'll find out which on which side of the fence he ends up landing.

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