Two recent lightweight challengers duke it out last night (April 20, 2013) as Strikeforce's Josh Thomson battled UFC contender Nate Diaz on the UFC on Fox 7 main card in San Jose, California.
Thomson had pushed Gilbert Melendez to the limit in their trilogy fight last year, while Diaz was beaten soundly by UFC champion Ben Henderson in his title opportunity this past December.
It was obvious from the start that one of the fighters had a serious and smart gameplan while the other was just doing his thing.
Thomson immediately began working from the outside, kicking at Diaz's legs as he plodded forward and circling back towards the cage center whenever he was maneuvered near the fence. "The Punk" stayed very light on his feet with some pep in his step as he continued to work over Diaz's legs, only striking with his hands during brief exchanges before resetting the action.
This frustrated Diaz immensely and it showed with his posture and mannerisms, taunting Thomson and trying to coax him into the typical Diaz-type brawl, but it just didn't happen.
All the low kicks opened up a flush head kick from Thomson, although it was his foot that caught Diaz in the head and the young Stocktonian was able to keep pushing forward. The American Kickboxing Academy standout was able to put a stamp on the first round by taking Diaz down in the final 10 seconds.
In the second frame, Diaz tried to clinch to change the dynamic of the fight but Thomson was ready for him, answering with clean elbows on the inside and busting what had previously been a small cut on Diaz wide open. As the blood poured down Diaz's face, Thomson continued his plan of smacking with low kicks, but he started mixing in his punches more with Diaz's vision obscured.
With Diaz thinking low, Thomson threw a head kick which caught him square on the forehead with his shin and the Cesar Gracie-trained fighter was on serious queer street. With his opponent on the ropes, Thomson swarmed Diaz with heavy punches, dropping him to the canvas and then continuing his assault on the ground, pouring in punches until the ref put a stop to it.
The final beating was so bad, Diaz's corner even threw in the towel.
For complete UFC on Fox 7 Finale results, including blow-by-blow, fight-by-fight coverage of the entire event as well as immediate post-fight reaction click here, here and here.