After plenty of smack talk, Nate Diaz delivered a three-round beating of Donald Cerrone, winning by decision 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.
The battle started before the fight even began. When the two came to the center of the Octagon for fight instructions, Cerrone flashed Diaz the middle finger when told to touch gloves. "You can touch gloves ... or not," referee Herb Dean said.
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They started throwing immediately, with Diaz trying for the takedown. Cerrone pushed him off and landed a punch on the way out. Diaz found his rhythm, and landed more strikes early in the bout. Cerrone responded later on with kicks, but Diaz gave the majority of punishment.
With a bloodied and bruised face, Cerrone responded with leg kicks that put Diaz on the ground twice early in the second round. A head kick then put Diaz on the ground, and another leg kick did the same. Under the two-minute mark, Diaz began to throw the punches that made him successful in the first. Though Cerrone continued to use kicks, Diaz wobbled Cerrone late in the round.
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As he waited to start the third round, Diaz flashed both middle fingers at Cerrone. He was confident heading into the round with good reason. Diaz continued to land combinations, and was not bothered by Cerrone's leg sweep. They traded punches furiously for the rest of the round, but did shake hands as soon as the final horn sounded.
Compustrike estimated that Diaz landed 258 strikes to Cerrone's 66.
"I train hard, I've got good training partners," Diaz said after the fight. "I hope I didn't look too sloppy. I'm glad I got the win."
The fight had plenty of build-up, as Diaz had been insulted by Cerrone trying to shake his hand at a UFC event. It culminated with the two getting into a scuffle at the pre-fight press conference. After the bout, both men apologized and congratulated each other.
Diaz finished the year with two wins, and has a record of 15-7. Cerrone fought five times in 2011, going 4-1. His record fell to 17-4.
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