The UFC 241 co-main event was the setting where Nate Diaz made his long-awaited return to the Octagon, after taking three-years off from competition, to win a hard-fought decision over #7 ranked UFC welterweight, Anthony Pettis. In his post-fight interview, Diaz called out fellow veteran Jorge Masvidal, which would be a welterweight fight of epic proportion.
Diaz brought the pressure early, but Pettis was ready to counter with heavy punches. Diaz looked to clinch up and grind on Pettis against the cage but Pettis kept escaping. Diaz found a takedown with about 90-seconds left in the round. He surfed on top of Pettis, dropping a bunch of strikes along the way.
The fighters went shin to shin to start the second round, with Pettis visibly feeling the worst of it. Diaz kept rubbing his eye so the referee paused the fight to bring in the doctor. The fight was quickly restarted. Diaz went back to closing the distance, but had to eat strikes to do so. Pettis started to get sucked into the grind and struggled to stay in open space. Diaz began connecting with mean knees on the inside. Diaz turned up the heat in the final 10-seconds, throwing a massive punching combo that was overwhelming Pettis.
Diaz went right back to the clinch war. He backed up Pettis and began unloading volume. A series of knees started cracking for Diaz and Pettis buckled to the floor. A ton of ground strikes came pouring down but miraculously Pettis reversed into top position. Diaz punched from his back looking to open up a sub attempt, and although Pettis remained savvy, Diaz still found a way to get on top.