Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - Two of mixed martial arts’ purest fighters locked up in the main event of UFC Fight Night at the Omaha Civic Auditorium, and lightweight up and comers Nate Diaz and Josh Neer didn’t disappoint, with Diaz eking out a three round split decision in an entertaining bout that let the world know that at 155 pounds, the future is in good hands.
By Thomas Gerbasi
OMAHA, NE, September 17 –Two of mixed martial arts’ purest fighters locked up in the main event of UFC Fight Night at the Omaha Civic Auditorium, and lightweight up and comers Nate Diaz and Josh Neer didn’t disappoint, with Diaz eking out a three round split decision in an entertaining bout that let the world know that at 155 pounds, the future is in good hands.
“Josh Neer ain’t no Black Belt in jiu-jitsu like the other guys I fought,” said Diaz. “That guy can fight.”
Scores were 29-28 twice, and 28-29 for Diaz, whose brother Nick had submitted Neer at UFC 62 in August of 2006.
Not surprisingly, both fighters engaged immediately, with Neer shooting out a leg kick and Diaz firing back, leading to a Neer takedown. Diaz battled his way up, but was sent back to the canvas. Again, Diaz rose and the two locked up against the fence. Diaz fired off quick strikes that did little damage, but they did allow him to break free, where he capitalized on his good fortune with some quick flurries on Neer, who had his back pressed against the Octagon. Moments later, after Neer fought free, Diaz scored with a beautiful throw and followed up with some ground and pound while moving from position to position under the round ended.
There was no let-up in round two, with some quick exchanges followed by a Neer takedown. Again, the two got up quickly before going back to the mat, with Neer content to fire off kicks from the bottom while Diaz looked for an opening from the top. With three minutes left, both fighters stood and Neer brought it back to the canvas, almost getting a submission locked in on Diaz who eluded danger and now began mounting his offensive from his back. Neer wouldn’t be tricked into a mistake though, and a kick to the chest of Diaz was followed up by punches against the fence. Diaz didn’t stay out of the action for long though, as he always seemed to be doing something, whether punching or spinning Neer in order to keep the action moving.
Diaz came out fast for the final round, firing off peppering shots at Neer while looking for – and getting - the takedown. Diaz shot in quick on a couple of occasions, and Neer responded with two brief triangle attempts that the Stockton native easily discarded. By the midway point of the round, Diaz got Neer’s back and then moved into the mount position as the Iowan turned, but ‘The Dentist’s resilience foiled Diaz yet again. In the final minute, the two stood and locked up, with Neer working on Diaz’ arm as they fell back to the mat, but as was the story throughout the bout, each move was met by a counter in what ultimately could best be described as a chess match with gloves.
With the win, Diaz improves to 10-2; Neer falls to 24-7-1.