With the announcement that Anthony Pettis will indeed miss his UFC on Fox 9 lightweight title bout against Josh “Punk” Thomson, the Sacramento event was in need of a main event.
The Flyweight title match between champion Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez originally scheduled for the TUF 18 Finale on November 30 quickly stepped in to take the lightweight title tilt’s place. With the shift, it's been announced Gray Maynard vs. Nate Diaz will now be the TUF 18 Finale’s main event.
It looks like Diaz is going to have to miss that high school reunion after all.
Maynard and Diaz have squared off twice before, with Diaz submitting “Bully” with a guillotine choke on TUF 5. Maynard got his revenge with a split decision victory over Diaz at UFC Fight Night 20. The two experienced vets will look to settle the score in a trilogy-ending rubber match that now has a lot more emphasis placed upon it.
The fight will be a telling show of which fighter has the skills to stay relevant in a packed and ever-evolving UFC Lightweight division.
Both are coming off of disheartening knockout losses. Diaz was throttled by Thomson at UFC on Fox 7 this April and has now lost two in a row. Maynard hasn’t fared much better, last seen getting knocked out by T.J. Grant at UFC 160 this May.
It’s a good bout to be sure, but does it have the strength to carry a card?