Nate Diaz and Josh Thomson are two of the top lightweights in the world, but their fight was overshadowed by the UFC on Fox 7 main and co-main events in the lead-up to Saturday night’s event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
Thomson in particular hasn’t received much of the spotlight over the past few years, mired with injuries and in the Strikeforce shadows.
He’s fought in the UFC before, albeit not since 2004, but against Diaz, he proved why he should be back in the Octagon.
From the opening bell, Diaz tried to goad Thomson into a brawl, but he would have none of it.
Thomson kept his distance, attacking Diaz’s legs with low kicks, frequently switching stances, and darting in and out with his punch combinations.
The plan came together perfectly in the second round, Thomson starting to bloody Diaz’s face with short elbows every time Diaz pressed in to clinch with him. Gaining some space, Thomson landed a head kick that sent Diaz staggering backwards across the Octagon.
As soon as the damage registered, Thomson rushed Diaz to the mat, and then unleashed a furious barrage of punches and elbows, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
Thomson was obviously elated – as he should be – running a victory lap around the Octagon.
The last time that Thomson fought in the UFC, there was no lightweight championship. Now, putting a stamp on his return, Thomson is surely gunning for the belt that wasn’t even in existence then.
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