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Nick Diaz Next Opponent Announced

Sam Caplan has the scoop:

GracieFighter.com is reporting that Nick Diaz's first opponent since being suspended for six months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission following a positive drug test for marijuana will be "Iron" Mike Aina.

Here's a highlight reel for Aina who trains with B.J. Penn:

The fight will be at 160lbs. I think the UFC/WEC is alone in the world with the 155lb class for lightweights as most of the Japanese promotions seem to like the 160lb class instead of the 155lb.

Also on the card will be Jake Shields vs Renato "Charuto" Verissimo of the B.J. Penn camp.

This is a dangerous fight for Shields who is universally ranked in the top 10 at welterweight with wins over Carlos Condit, Yushin Okami, Hayato Sakurai, Akira Kikuchi, and Dave Menne (plus a draw with Kazuo Misaki) -- did I mention he sub'd Shannon "the Cannon" Rich?

While Verissimo is certainly top 10 in terms of talent, he had been on a cold streak with four losses from 2004 to 2006 (against Matt Hughes, Frank Trigg, Carlos Condit and Kuniyoshi Hironaka). Charuto is 2-0 this year but at a lower tier of competition. That means Shields has little to gain and much to lose. And even if he wins who will he fight next? He's been calling out Frank Trigg but Trigg is apparently taking business classes from Frank Shamrock.

It seems to me that Diaz and Shields are lost in the wilderness with Zuffa controlling UFC and WEC and shutting down Pride. There just aren't that many free-ranging top tier welterweights for these guys to fight.
DailyMotion has a treasure trove of Jake Shields fights if you're interested.