UFC 135 at the Pepsi Center on September 24, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. via UFC.com
In the PPV opener at UFC 135: Jones vs. Ramapage, Nate Diaz defeated Takanori Gomi via armbar towards the end of round 1. This was Diaz's first fight back at Lightweight after a stay in the Welterweight division. Gomi now falls to 1-3 in the UFC and is on a 2 fight losing streak.
In the post-fight interview, Joe Rogan called this the best Nate Diaz we've seen yet in the UFC. And he was right to do so. Diaz looked extremely impressive throughout the fight, using excellent boxing to hurt Gomi early. Towards the end of the round, the fight went to the floor and Diaz chained together submissions before finally securing the armbar tapout for the win. Post-fight, Diaz gave a shout-out to his brother Nick Diaz, who he called the best fighter in the world. Nick faced Gomi in a fantastic Pride fight in 2006 that Nick won via gogoplata, only to have the fight ruled a No Contest when he later tested positive for marijuana.
What was the high spot of this fight?
That chain of submission attempts at the end was a beautiful thing, with Nate transitioning from the triangle to armbar to get the win. The Diaz brothers don't always use their Cesar Gracie black belt jiu jitsu as much as you might expect, but in moments like these, you are reminded how dangerous they are on the ground.
Where do these guys go from here?
I have to say, I did not expect Diaz's return to 155 to go so smoothly. But he looked great, and he's ready for a real challenge next. I'd love to see him against Edson Barboza, who is coming off a win over Ross Pearson at UFC 134.
For Gomi, with a 1-3 UFC record, I fear this may be the end of the line in his US run. He's a legend of the Lightweight division, and was at one time the best 155 pound fighter in the world, but his UFC run just came too late. He'll probably be kept around for one last UFC fight on next year's Japan show, but after that I think it may be permanently back to Japan for The Fireball Kid, where organizations like Dream will be a fine fit.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Now. A very impressive performance by Diaz, a highlight reel ending, and possibly the last US fight of Takanori Gomi - all things worth a look.
More BE coverage of UFC 135 in the full entry.