Nate Diaz proved himself worthy of a lightweight title shot this evening by becoming the first man ever to tap out Jim Miller in the main event of UFC on FOX 3.
Some of Miller’s strategy for this fight became quickly apparent in the first round as he looked to land leg kicks from range and then close the distance and work from the clinch.
Both appeared to be somewhat effective and he seemed to have a strength advantage against the cage in the clinch over Diaz.
It was fairly even stuff though for the much of the round until the closing minute when Diaz landed the most significant strike of the fight so far, a straight left down the pipe that drops Miller and busts open his nose.
Diaz looks to take Miller’s back, but instead Miller puts him on his back. A scramble ensues though and it’s Diaz who cleverly sweeps back on top to end the round.
Onto round two and in the early stages Miller attempts to work the clinch game again, and Diaz seems happy to oblige, offering up short punches from close range against the cage.
They break and Diaz seems to be settling into his striking rhythm now as he fires off his trademark one-two’s and even lands a few knees.
Diaz begins taunting his opponent and Miller responds with a flying knee, but Diaz isn’t concerned. Diaz throws his hands out as if he wants Miller to engage and he’s clipped with a front kick to the face, but again it doesn’t seem to have any effect and Diaz slaps himself in the face and then bursts forward with a flurry of strikes, backing Miller up against the cage.
Diaz lands a few solid knees and Miller briefly drops to one knee before getting back up and attempting to land with a punch, but there’s a sense he’s really losing momentum here.
Again mocking his opponent Diaz throws a half-hearted front kick, making fun of Miller’s attempt to do the same earlier, and then fires off more two piece combinations.
Miller tries to get going with a takedown attempt, but he goes headfirst into a guillotine attempt from Diaz. At first it doesn’t work and he has to readjust before going for it again and flips Miller over onto his back as he cinches it in deep. Miller’s mouthpiece has fallen out and his tongue is stuck between his teeth, adding more pain to an already miserable situation and he’s forced to tap with 4.09mins of the second round gone.
This was a great win for Diaz against a fighter who’s never been stopped before which is saying a lot given the level of competition that Miller has faced over the years.
Diaz got the better of him on the feet and on the ground, and sets him up perfectly as an exciting No.1 contender in the lightweight division to face the winner of the Ben Henderson Vs Frankie Edgar rematch.