Nate Diaz boxes up Donald Cerrone at UFC 141 with his Stockton striking style, which is "vexing and paralyzing" for opponents who decide to stand and trade with him. Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting.
Nate Diaz's performance Friday night (Dec. 30, 2011) at UFC 141 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, was a reminder of the reason(s) the Diaz brothers look often-beatable on paper, yet consistently deliver above expectations.
I'm firmly in the camp that while both of them can be decisioned, it's going to take one hell of a fighter to make either of them openly admit they flat-out lost.
And while Diaz' three-round, record-setting battering of Donald Cerrone doesn't erase the memories of fights he's lost because of better wrestlers, it's a reminder of how vexing and paralyzing the "Stockton Style" really is. I won't be surprised if Diaz is decisioned by the elite grapplers at lightweight, but even in the five UFC fights he's dropped -- all via decision -- a similar template was followed in three.
Gray Maynard refused to even go the ground, opting to risk a razor-thin stand up match with little meaningful action. Rory MacDonald is the only guy who has risked himself enough to open up against Diaz. It speaks volumes about how stifling his game is that he can lose fights against this level of competition, while taking relatively little damage.
Simply put, along with brother Nick, the Diaz style of high-volume boxing and constant, accurate punching throws virtually every opponent into a kind of operational chaos.
Foes become transfixed, unable to get untracked, resembling a man trying to get out of a phone booth while being punched in the face. You know what a guy can do going into a bout against a Diaz, yet he is seemingly underwater and getting shots bounced off his head and midsection.
It will be fascinating to see how the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) matches Nate next. Ideally, someone willing to strike -- say, the victor of Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon -- would make for a can't-miss match up.