Market: Winner (Draw no bet)
Bet: Nate Diaz
Stake: 3/10 units
Profit: +12 units
Michael Johnson (1.18) vs. Nate Diaz (5.00) – UFC Lightweight Division
Johnson is 8-5 in UFC, 16-9 overall. Last 5: W-W-W-W-L
Diaz is 12-8 in UFC, 17-10 overall. Last 5: W-L-L-W-L
Johnson (29) was unlucky to lose a split decision to Beneil Dariush but if you’re being honest, sometimes that’s going to happen when you fight conservatively and fail to put a stamp on your win having believed yourself to have won the first two rounds. Overall it’s been a remarkable career turnaround with excellent UFC wins over Tony Ferguson (decision), Gleison Tibau (KO), Edson Barboza (decision), Joe Lauzon (decision) and Danny Castillo (KO). Other UFC losses to Reza Madadi (submission), Myles Jury (decision), Paul Sass (submission) and Jonathan Brookins (decision in TUF 12 final). Fantastic technical striking game with high level footwork and movement. His weakness in the past has been takedown defence (particularly single legs) and being controlled on the bottom – It’s been a while since he’s lost like that but he’s mainly been fighting strikers or guys with weak wrestling. 6/9 losses by submission. Trains at Blackzillians.
Diaz (30) is 4-5 in his last 9 and has only fought once in the last two years, but the level of competition he’s been facing has been ridiculous with wins over Gomi, Cerrone, Miller and Maynard to go along with losses to dos Anjos, Henderson, Thomson, MacDonald and Kim. Clearly didn’t take the dos Anjos fight seriously last year, missing weight and acting like he wanted out of his UFC contract, but he looks to be in shape for this one. Winner of TUF 5, beating Corey Hill, Rob Emerson, Gray Maynard and Manny Gamburyan on his way. Finisher with 15/17 wins by finish, including 11 submissions. His weakness, just like his brother, has always been takedown defence and striking footwork although he makes up for these deficiencies with an excellent guard and superb cardio/toughness. Trains at Cesar Gracie Fight Team.
I think the odds are off in this one. 3 rounds suits Johnson, I think if this was 5 rounds the odds should be close to evens. Johnson will need to use his technical striking to outpoint Diaz; his footwork should keep him safe from Diaz’s weak wrestling. While Johnson is the better technical striker, Diaz is the more nasty one capable of inflicting fight-changing damage. If Diaz does start landing significantly on the feet then I can see Johnson going for a desperation takedown and falling into a submission. I think around 65-70% of the time Johnson is able to win a decision but Diaz is being underrated here. He is a threat both standing and on the ground. Johnson has lost to much worse fighters in the past.