UFC 135: Ten Things We Learned

Nate Diaz

IS NATE DIAZ PRIMED TO FOLLOW IN NICK’S FOOTSTEPS?

No, I don’t mean he’s going to test positive for all kinds of THC and have his win over Takanori Gomi ruled a no contest, or suddenly start no-showing press conferences.

Saturday night, the younger Diaz looked outstanding, dominating the former Pride champion throughout their one-round, one-sided scrap. Just as Nick struggled to find consistency early in his career, so too has Nate, but at 26-years-old, there is still plenty of time to sort things out. This could be that starting point.

Back down at ’55, Nate has very good skills and is a potential contender; he just needs to find consistency and focus on what he does best. Nick has done just that over the last few years-for the most part-and maybe now it’s Nate’s turn.

GREAT DEBUT FOR FERGUSON

We’ve all been pretty harsh in our criticism of the level of talent coming off The Ultimate Fighter in the last few years. Perhaps Tony Ferguson will help reverse that trend.

The winner of Season 13 collected his first post-TUF win on Saturday night, and did so in impressive fashion. Dropping down to lightweight, Ferguson utilized his length, and powerful boxing, breaking Aaron Riley’s jaw with a perfectly placed left uppercut.

With the depth of talent in the division, there is no need to rush Ferguson up the ladder. Given time, the proper match-ups, and continued work with the Death Clutch team, he has the skills to become a contender in the future.

He’s a long-term project, but definitely someone worth keeping an eye on in 2012.

MOVE TO MIDDLEWEIGHT PAYING DIVIDENDS FOR BOETSCH

Tim Boetsch is now 2-0 in the 185 pound ranks. Saturday night, “The Barbarian” handed Nick Ring the first loss of his professional career, overcoming an uneven first round to dominate the final two frames.

Undersized at light heavyweight, Boetsch looks right at home at middleweight, using his superior size and strength to control Ring. The highlight of the bout was a beautifully executed hip toss, Boetsch sending Ring crashing to the canvas with force, then landing on top of him in side control.

The road gets tougher from here on out, but so far, Boetsch has looked very good in two appearances at his new address.

MIZUGAKI PATTERN CONTINUES

Coming into UFC 135 off a loss to a high end bantamweight, Takeya Mizugaki did what he always does: he put forth a dominant effort, collecting a second round stoppage win over Cole Escovedo.

He’s alternated wins and losses since coming into the WEC as a late replacement title challenger opposite Miguel Torres. He is the epitome of a ‘tweener; too good for the lower tier talents, but not quite capable of getting by the best of the division.

Securing the win on Saturday might have secured Mizugaki’s long term future with the UFC. Three months from now, a new crop of bantamweights will enter the UFC courtesy of The Ultimate Fighter. Mizugaki is the perfect guy to use as a measuring stick for the next set of ’35s ready to enter the Octagon.

HIGH FIVE FOR ROGAN AND GOLDBERG

I rip on broadcasters in this series somewhat frequently, especially if their last name is Ranallo or Shamrock or they’re working a Strikeforce show. Today, I’m giving praise where it’s due.

While they definitely had forgettable moments–Rogan’s “Yes! Yes! Yes!” as Mark Hunt attempted an armbar–they both deserve credit for giving Jon Jones credit for the amount of time and effort he puts into studying his opponents and preparing for a fight.

It’s very easy to tie Jones’ success to his obvious gifts – size, athleticism, creativity – but the amount of work he puts into his craft both inside and outside of the gym is a vital part of the equation. Both Goldberg and Rogan made a point of discussing it Saturday night, and they deserve a high five for that.


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