Nate Diaz (13-5) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (13-0-1-1)
Nate Diaz has never been one to follow the herd, and instead of the current trend of fighters dropping weight classes, the Stockton, Calif. born and raised moved up from the lightweight division to the 170-pound weight class.
After losing three out of four outings at lightweight, Diaz has gone 2-0 as a welterweight and takes on a potentially stylistic nightmare in Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 125.
There’s no secret about Diaz’ game. He’s a gritty fighter, durable, willing to stand and trade, overwhelms his opponents with the volume of strikes he delivers, and has an excellent submission game.
Kim matches up well with Diaz if he plays to his biggest advantage, takedowns.
Kim doesn’t mind trading strikes, but Diaz’s pace and machine gun type striking assault should have Kim resorting to his bread and butter: takedowns and ground and pound.
The South Korean will likely not have much difficulty getting the Cesar Gracie trained Diaz to the canvas, but that’s a dangerous place to put a Diaz brother.
Kim has to be careful on the ground with Diaz, but should be able to stay out of too many compromising positions to win rounds.
This is a compelling match up. Kim comes in as the odds on favorite at -125, slightly better than Diaz at a -105. It’s basically a coin toss match-up.
Can Diaz do enough damage with his constant barrage of punches before Kim takes him down? Can Diaz find a submission off his back to hand Kim his first professional mixed martial arts loss?
I see Kim being the bigger, stronger fighter and being able to take Diaz down repeatedly to win a unanimous decision.