by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. Gray Maynard may have earned a shot at the UFC lightweight title on Monday night as he picked up a split decision win over Nate Diaz in what basically turned into a sloppy boxing match between the two fighters.
The two fighters met for the second time, the first was during their time on the “Ultimate Fighter” season 5 which saw Diaz submit Maynard. It was a much different fight this time around.
Maynard has shown tremendously improved stand-up since working with boxing coach, Gil Martinez, and he showed little fear trading shots with the much taller Diaz, who is known along with his brother Nate for having a dangerous jab.
The first two rounds belonged to Maynard, who didn’t make it look pretty technique-wise, but it doesn’t have to look good t work. He popped Diaz with a few heavy right hands that rocked the Stockton native, as he tried to goat Maynard into a slugfest.
In between rounds, Maynard’s coach, Randy Couture, could be heard yelling at his fighter to not get involved playing games with his opponent, who is known for taunting and trying to get fighter’s to fight his fight.
Maynard managed to hit a few more power punches and a good knee in the fight that kept Diaz off balance and searching for an opening. The door closed before he ever got the chance.
The judges’ scorecards read a split decision for Gray Maynard, who remains undefeated in the UFC, and moves on to a possible title fight later this year against B.J. Penn.
Sources indicated to MMAWeekly.com as late as Monday that regardless of the outcome of the main event between Maynard and Diaz, that Frankie Edgar would get the title shot against champion, B.J. Penn, but nothing has been announced as of yet.