UFC 241: Nate Diaz Has All The Pressure On Him Vs. Anthony Pettis
When he makes his long-awaited return to the Octagon, Nate Diaz will be doing so with plenty of pressure placed squarely on his shoulders.
Much like when Conor McGregor finally returned to the Octagon late last year to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight title, Nate Diaz faces all the pressure in the world heading into his long-awaited return this Saturday night at UFC 241 vs. Anthony Pettis.
In today’s world of sports where it is a “what have you done for me lately,” Diaz has not done anything as of late.
The 34-year-old Diaz has not fought since 2016 when he lost a majority decision to McGregor. Earlier that year was the last victory for the California native as he submitted McGregor in the second round. Related: UFC 241 Primer: Nate Diaz Vs. Conor McGregor 1
Since 2015, those are the only two fights for Diaz – twice in four years does not equate to a great way of building your brand and making a name for yourself.
UFC 241 Countdown: Anthony Pettis Vs. Nate Diaz
But all that can change rather quickly for Diaz this weekend should he defeat Pettis, a former UFC and WEC champion. “Showtime” always brings it, and coupled with the always-on-the-attack style of Diaz, it should be a “Fight of the Night” contender. Related: Nate Diaz Rocks The UFC’s Boat
For Diaz, how the time away from actual competition inside the Octagon factors in against an athlete like Pettis will be the most interesting part. Pettis has nine bouts under his belt since 2015, including wins over Charles Oliveira, Jim Miller, Michael Chiesa and former UFC title contender Stephen Thompson. He’s also faced Tony Ferguson, Dustin Poirier and current UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway.
Big-Time Reach Edge For Diaz
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If Diaz can solve the offensive skills of Pettis and use his advantage in term of reach, he should be able to delight the hometown crowd and score a victory. That would likely position him for a potential title fight or third bout with McGregor, which is surely something the UFC would love to have happen.
UFC 241 takes place this Saturday night live from the Honda Center in Anaheim and airs via ESPN+ pay-per-view. The main event features Stipe Miocic challenging Daniel Cormier for the heavyweight championship along with Yoel Romero vs. Paulo Costa. Related: UFC 241 Timeline: Daniel Cormier Vs. Stipe Miocic 2
UFC 241: Cormier Vs. Miocic 2 Fight Card
MAIN CARD (ESPN+ Pay-Per-View)
UFC Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Cormier (c) vs. Stipe Miocic
Welterweight: Anthony Pettis vs. Nate Diaz
Middleweight: Yoel Romero vs. Paulo Costa
Featherweight: Gabriel Benitez vs. Sodiq Yusuff
Middleweight: Derek Brunson vs. Ian Heinisch
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN)
Lightweight: Clay Collard vs. Devonte Smith
Bantamweight: Raphael Assuncao vs. Cory Sandhagen
Bantamweight: Manny Bermudez vs. Casey Kenney
Lightweight: Drakkar Klose vs. Christos Giagos
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass)
Strawweight: Hannah Cifers vs. Jodie Esquibel
Bantamweight: Kyung Ho Kang vs. Brandon Davis
Female Flyweight: Sabina Mazo vs. Shana Dobson