Diaz did what 23 previous men could not: he finished Jim
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 winner submitted Miller with a
second-round guillotine choke in the UFC
on Fox 3 headliner on Saturday at the Izod Center in East
Rutherford, N.J. Diaz (16-7, 11-5 UFC) cinched the submission and
coaxed the tapout from the New Jersey native 4:09 into round two,
as he won for the third time in as many outings.
“I’m happy to come out and perform for you guys,” he said.
“[Miller] is a great fighter. I have nothing bad to say about the
guy. I had a hard time being motivated to train for this fight, so
I had to [think about fighting] behind enemy lines.”
Miller’s game plan became clear from the outset, as he initiated
the clinch and tried to engage Diaz in close quarters. It was
ineffective, and once the two men separated, Diaz established his
superiority on the feet. The 27-year-old Cesar
Gracie disciple floored Miller with a straight left hand late
in round one. The
AMA Fight Club ace withstood the blow, but his face was
bloodied and he was struggling to keep pace.
Diaz did not let him breathe in the second. He battered him with
the high-volume punching attack that has become his calling card.
Miller (21-4, 10-3 UFC) staggered forward and soon found himself
trapped in the choke. Diaz adjusted his grip, rolled into full
mount and sealed the deal there, perhaps cementing his position as
the No. 1 contender for the UFC lightweight crown.
“He had my number. Nate is a tough guy. I knew that coming in,”
Miller said. “He was just landing strikes and hurting me. [The game
plan was to apply] pressure and not let him use his range, but he
found it and went to work. Nothing was really surprising. He
deserves that [title] shot. There shouldn’t be anything in his way
Surging Hendricks Outpoints Koscheck
The thudding left hand of Johny
Hendricks carried him to a narrow split decision over perennial
welterweight contender Josh
Koscheck in the co-main event. All three judges scored it
29-28, two of them for Hendricks (13-1, 8-1 UFC), who has won his
last four fights.
Hendricks brought the battle to his opponent with clean power
punching and did some subtle work in the clinch, as well. However,
his left hook -- the same punch that wiped out Koscheck’s former
American Kickboxing Academy teammate, Jon Fitch, in
December -- was the most effective weapon in the 15-minute
encounter. Hendricks delivered it with regularity, leaving visible
damage on Koscheck’s right eye, and mixed in a sneaky right
uppercut and occasional knees when the opportunities presented
Koscheck (17-6, 15-6 UFC), whose 15 wins inside the Octagon rank
fifth on the all-time list, made one final push late in the match.
He put Hendricks, a two-time national champion wrestler at Oklahoma
State University, on the ground, passed to half guard and worked
from top position. However, it was not enough to swing the decision
in his favor.
“I hit him with everything I had, and I did everything I could,”
said Hendricks, who absorbed a number of stout right hands from
Koscheck. “Hat’s off to that dude. He’s a real fighter. Nothing
[surprised me]. I knew he had heavy hands and he was going to be
one tough fighter. I just thank God for this.”
Belcher File photo
Belcher beat Palhares at his own game.
Belcher Stymies, Stops Palhares
Roufusport representative Alan
Belcher stopped Brazilian leg lock connoisseur Rousimar
Palhares on first-round ground strikes in a featured
middleweight bout. Belcher (18-6, 9-4 UFC) buried his foe with
punches, elbows and hammerfists 4:18 into round one.
Palhares (14-4, 7-3 UFC) expectedly snatched a leg and secured a
takedown from the start, fishing for kneebars and his trademark
heel hook. Belcher weathered the engagement and turned the tables,
Brazilian Top Team member with a twister before moving into top
position and settling in guard. From there, he let his hands and
elbows fly. Before long, Palhares was shying away from contact,
forcing referee Dan Miragliotta to intervene.
“That’s what I’m talking about. Why don’t you guys ask ‘Toquinho’
who the baddest man in MMA on the ground is. It ain’t him no more,”
said Belcher, who has pieced together four consecutive wins. I’ve
been doing this all the time in training camp. I was so ready. I
wasn’t scared in this fight. “
Belcher then took aim at reigning UFC middleweight king Anderson
“I just wanted to prove that I could beat the best guy on the
ground, and I can beat the best guy standing up,” he said. “That
belt is mine. I’m coming for it, and I think you know it now.”
Johnson Stops Barry in First
Johnson obliterated Pat Barry with
a violent volley of punches in the first round of their heavyweight
showcase. Barry (7-5, 4-5 UFC) met his end 4:38 into round one.
Johnson (16-5, 2-0 UFC) was far from flawless. The fight spilled
onto the ground early, and he was exposed. Barry moved to mount and
ultimately transitioned to side control, a position from which he
threatened to finish it with a keylock.
Johnson freed himself, returned to his feet and let his thunderous
power do the rest. He backed Barry into the cage and unleashed a
savage barrage of right uppercuts and left hooks, mixing in a knee
to the body and an elbow to the head for good measure. After one
final hook to the head, Barry folded.
“I feel great,” Johnson said. “Pat is a very tough guy. I’m just
happy to be here in the UFC.”More UFC on Fox 3 »
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