UFC Fight Night: dos Anjos vs. DiazSaturday, Dec. 13 – 9:00 p.m. ET
Rafael dos Anjos (22-7) vs. Nate Diaz (18-9)Lightweight bout
Line: dos Anjos -260, Diaz +207
Rafael dos Anjos looks to inch closer to a title fight on Saturday as he takes on Nate Diaz at UFC Fight Night in Phoenix.
Known as a solid fighter, dos Anjos cemented his spot as one of the best in the lightweight class with a dominating victory against Benson Henderson on Aug. 23. In that fight, he was able to deliver a vicious strike that led to him getting the KO victory against the former champion. The 30-year-old Brazilian has defeated some very good fighters throughout his career, as he has victories against guys like Evan Dunham and Donald Cerrone. He will have a very difficult matchup in this fight as well, as Diaz has shown that he will not hesitate to fight anybody in the sport. Diaz has not fought since November 30, 2013 when he defeated Gray Maynard with a flurry of punches in the first round. Diaz is one of the biggest trash talkers in the sport, but he has backed it up by competing against fighters like Henderson, Cerrone and Rory MacDonald. That experience will help Diaz in this fight, but in the end, dos ANJOS is too good of fighter, and he will get the job done.
One of the biggest strengths of dos Anjos in the octagon is his ability to win a fight in many different methods. He has 22 victories in his career, with 10 of them coming by way of decision. He also has eight wins by submission, with the other four coming by knockout. In this matchup against Diaz, look for dos Anjos to look to take this fight to the mat, where he has a big advantage. He has a takedown average of 2.32, compared to only 1.38 for Diaz. This will be a huge part of the fight, as Diaz has struggled in defending against the takedown (46%). Dos Anjos has the ability to win with his knockout power, but that will be playing right into the strength of Diaz.
The 29-year-old from California has 18 victories in his career, with 11 of them coming by submission. He also has five wins by knockout and just two wins by decision. Diaz is an explosive fighter who comes out ready to fight from the very beginning. His energy can force opponents to get away from their strategy, and he does a nice job of taking advantage. He will have a big advantage when it comes to landing significant strikes (4.13 for Diaz, compared to 2.69 for dos Anjos), and if Diaz is able to get off to a great start like he has been accustomed to, he has a great chance to get this upset victory.