In a main card fight at UFC on Fox 7, two decorated Lightweights square off with Nate Diaz (16-8 MMA; 11-6 UFC) faces Josh Thomson (19-5(1) MMA; 2-1 UFC). This is the 2nd of 4 main card fights to be shown on Fox. UFC on Fox 7 airs live from San Jose, CA this Saturday, April 20, on Fox with the main card starting at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
As is the theme with this show, this is a UFC vs. Strikeforce battle. In this case, it's two Lightweight veterans - both with strong striking credentials. It's also a battle of California, with the Stockton-bred Diaz vs. San Jose's Thomson. Thomson should have the home field advantage in front of this San Jose crowd. So far, the Strikeforce fighters have done quite well for themselves in their migration to the UFC. Thomson will look to keep that streak alive against the former #1 contender and long-time training partner of Thomson's career rival Gilbert Melendez.
How do these two stack up?
Diaz: 28 years old | 6'0" | 76" reach
Thomson: 34 years old | 5'10"
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Nate Diaz comes to this fight after an unsuccessful bid for the Lightweight title. Diaz has moved up and down between Lightweight and Welterweight, but since dropping back down to 155 in 2011, he was on a roll, earning 3 impressive wins in a row before challenging Bendo. He was dominated in that fight, never able to get his game going. This is an interesting fight in his career path because it's the first time he's fighting since hiring Mike Kogan to be his manager instead of his long-time manager/trainer Cesar Gracie. He's also been openly talking about moving back up to 170 after this fight, and struggled to make weight yesterday.
Josh "The Punk" Thomson may be a Strikeforce fighter here, but he's actually a UFC veteran from long before Strikeforce even existed (or Diaz was in the UFC). During the Lightweight division's dark ages, Thomson had a solid 2-1 UFC run in 2003/2004, though unfortunately for him, that run is best known for Thomson being on the receiving end of a crazy flying head kick KO by Yves Edwards. After leaving the UFC, Thomson settled in Strikeforce, winning the Lightweight title and engaging in a classic trilogy with Gilbert Melendez (Melendez won that trilogy 2-1). Thomson is an excellent fighter, but has struggled with injuries in recent years, missing all of 2011. He's 1-1 since coming back from that time off.
Why should you care?
Two very skilled strikers here in a fight that both men badly need to win for their futures. This is a sleeper pick for fight of the night.