After three years out of the Octagon, Nate Diaz is likely to turn this bout with Anthony Pettis into a dogfight from the off.
Strap on your seatbelts and get ready for a war between two men renowned for their ferocious striking and exceptional durability. Desperate to complete his trilogy against Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz has refused to step back inside the Octagon until he got a third and final fight against the Irishman. That still hasn’t materialised though, and the Stockton brawler has been persuaded into another mouthwatering contest with Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis instead.
Anthony Pettis to win on points
The co-main event at UFC 241 takes place at welterweight, and it could get very ugly, very quickly. Former UFC lightweight champion Pettis returned to 170 pounds in March, securing an impressive second-round TKO victory over Stephen Thompson, the first time ‘Wonderboy’ has ever been stopped inside the distance. Another good win for Showtime this weekend puts him right into contention for a shot at welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, and we can expect to see Pettis utilise his dynamic striking range to try and combat the relentless pressure of his opponent.
Nate Diaz to win by knockout
Diaz has a Terminator-esque ability to keep coming at the man in the opposite corner, and he’ll need that against Pettis, who has excellent conditioning and stamina to complement his technique. The burning question though is what those three years out of the Octagon have done to Diaz. Is he the same fighter? Will he suffer from ring rust? Has he lost any of his power and durability at the age of 34? Does he still have the same famous heart?
Fight to go the distance
The answer to the last question is sure to be yes, which is what makes this match-up so intriguing. Diaz should still have the same chin, and that makes him a dangerous prospect. With that in mind, and the fact that this non-title fight is only scheduled for three rounds, Diaz could fancy himself to stay in the contest and look for a finish in the third. Pettis is the favourite though, and is obviously the more active fighter. However, Showtime has lost six of his last 10 fights. He’s fought the best, but that will give Diaz plenty of encouragement, boosting his attractiveness as the underdog with all of the top betting sites.
Diaz to win in the third round
Nate Diaz to win the fight
Anthony Pettis starts this fight as the slight favourite with the best bookmakers, and it’s hard to ignore the fact that Nate Diaz has been out of the spotlight for such a long time ahead of his bout with Showtime. However, the Stockton native is the naturally bigger man and has hands that are as heavy as they are busy. Diaz will take some punishment, but he will land himself and become more dangerous as the fight goes on. Pettis has faded in the past when fights go deep and he’s subjected to volume, which is exactly what Diaz will do while refusing to back down. A win for Diaz may see him earn his trilogy fight with McGregor, which is another serious carrot being dangled in front of him.
John Abrams is a passionate sports fanatic who follows NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB and Formula 1. A former sports trader, John has an unquestioned thirst for sports knowledge and often fills his time playing fantasy or placing wagers online.
All Predictions by John Abrams