UFC on Fox 3 may not sport the sort of star power that mixed-martial arts fans have come to expect, but the main event—a lightweight bout between risers Jim Miller and Nate Diaz—should be a thrill to watch nonetheless.
Especially for those in Miller's corner.
Miller figures to be a crowd favorite on Saturday anyway, as the fight is set to take place at the IZOD Center in his home state of New Jersey.
But that alone won't necessarily turn the tables in his favor. Diaz is no pushover and figures to find himself in title contention if he beats Miller. Like older brother (and suspended UFC star) Nick Diaz, Nate is a superb stand-up fighter, with the hand speed to land punches in bunches and score points on the judges' cards as a result.
In fact, Diaz owns the all-time UFC record for significant strikes landed, with the 238 on which he connected against Donald Cerrone at UFC 141.
The previous record was 178, held by big bro Nick.
Miller's stand-up game isn't anything to ignore, but it's hardly up to Diaz's standards. Where Miller makes his mark is on the ground. The AMA Fight Club product holds a black belt in jiu-jitsu and is adept at avoiding the submissions of others while keeping himself in positive position on the mat.
Diaz can certainly compete on the ground, though his game is still relatively weak in that regard, particularly when compared to Miller. Diaz has made himself available for takedowns in the past, and will regret it if he does so again opposite Miller in the Octagon.
The wild card here may well be the length of the fight. The Miller-Diaz bout is scheduled to go five rounds, though neither combatant has ever gone longer than 15 minutes.
And though both are known to have top-notch cardio, it's MIller's ability to control the action down low that figures to put him on top in the end. It'll be close, and hotly contested throughout, but expect Miller to shine through by the slimmest of margins, perhaps setting up a tasty rematch at some point down the line.