ANAHEIM, CA – It's three years, right?
In his long-awaited return to the Octagon, Nate Diaz was brilliant with the unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) to win over Anthony Pettis at the UFC 241 joint event Saturday at the Honda Center.
Dias did not fight after losing to Conor McGregor at UFC 202 on August 20, 2016. He imposed his will on Petis early and often, Dias was able to push Petis to the cage in each round and land combinations, elbows and knees. He closed the first and third rounds of good ground positions, an area he also controlled when the match went there.
Diaz then stated that he was interested in Jorge Masvidal's next fight. He said he was impressed with Ben Ascren's five-second Masvidal knockout last month. Diaz said there aren't many gangsters in MMA, but he thinks Masvidal is one.
"But he is not a West Coast gangster," says Diaz, who is originally from Stockton, California and enjoys a huge guerrilla crowd on Saturday.
Diaz's best lap was third. As has happened many times, Diaz pushed Pettis to the cage and landed on a long combination shot. Pettis dropped out but survived the end of the round.
Pettis had his moments in every round. He was more effective than Diaz at long range strikes. Finally, Diaz was cut close to his right eye. But every time Pettis began to pick up speed outside, Diaz closed the distance and fought a dominant battle.
The brawl was contested in half weight, though both men spent most of their careers in the lightweight category. Diaz is the fifth fighter in UFC history to strike more than 2,000 total hits.
Diaz (20-11) went 1-1 against McGregor in 2016. They were two of the biggest pay-per-view events in UFC history. The 34-year-old Diaz has a huge cult following due to his indifference, his exciting fighting style and his tendency to cast a double bird.
Pettis (22-9), a former UFC lightweight champion, has not fought since this stellar year as he failed to put up with the UFC. Showtime alternates wins and losses since 2016. The 32-year-old Pettis was one of the UFC's best-selling stars over the years, once gaining similarity to Wheaties boxes.