Frankie Edgar vs. Nate Diaz: Head-to-Toe Breakdown

Matt JuulContributor IIIMay 15, 2012

Frankie Edgar vs. Nate Diaz: Head-to-Toe Breakdown

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    As if the UFC lightweight title picture wasn't already convoluted, newly minted No. 1 contender Nate Diaz has decided to wait for his shot at the belt rather than take another fight.

    Diaz's next opponent will then be the winner of the rematch between current champ Benson Henderson and former title holder Frankie Edgar.

    If Edgar can regain his belt, he will have another tough matchup ahead, as Diaz brings both terrific boxing and slick jiu-jitsu to the table.

    Here is the head-to-toe breakdown of this possible future bout.

Striking/Boxing

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    A striking style virtually identical to his brother's, Diaz's unorthodox boxing has been integral to his success over the years.

    Utilizing a barrage of combinations, Diaz has decimated the competition en route to taking the No. 1 contender spot.  

    His recent wins over elite strikers such as Donald Cerrone and Takanori Gomi makes Diaz one of the most fearsome strikers in the lightweight division.

    Edgar has great striking as well, with his quick footwork and slips making him hard to read.  Edgar also has fast hands and kicks that can land from any angle.

    However, Diaz is just on another level because of his superb boxing skills as well as his reach advantage.

    Advantage: Diaz

Wrestling

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    Over the years, Edgar has proven himself as one of the best wrestlers at 155.

    Edgar's quick shots and fast transitions have allowed him to put legends like BJ Penn on their backs.

    Diaz's only real weakness is in the wrestling department—a glaring hole that Rory MacDonald capitalized on at UFC 129.

    In terms of takedown ability and takedown defense, Edgar has a huge advantage over Diaz.

    Advantage: Edgar

Submissions

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    While a solid BJJ brown belt under Ricardo Almeida, Edgar has rarely shown off his submission skills inside the Octagon.

    Edgar has only tapped out an opponent once in his UFC career, a rear-naked choke victory over Matt Veach in 2009.

    Owning submission wins over the likes of Jim Miller and Kurt Pellegrino, Diaz has proven himself as an elite BJJ black belt against some of the best grapplers in the UFC.

    With 11 of his 16 career victories coming by way of tapout, it's clear that the ground is Diaz's domain.

    Advantage: Diaz

Strength

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    While not a towering figure, Edgar does possess a lot of strength considering his frame.

    Edgar's compact, muscular figure is perfect for his style of explosive fighting.

    Diaz is no slouch, but it terms of pure strength and muscle mass, Edgar takes this one.

    Advantage: Edgar

Cardio

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    Like his older brother, Diaz has cardio for days, as he often spends his free time participating in triathlons.

    Not afraid to go the distance with any opponent, it's virtually impossible to tire Diaz out.

    Edgar also possesses great cardio and has gone to the third round or later in all but five of his fights.

    If these two guys do eventually face each other, don't expect either fighter to gas out. 

    Advantage: Even

Variables

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    Edgar

    For the former champion, footwork is key.

    Edgar has to neutralize Diaz's reach advantage by circling before blasting in to fight on the inside.  

    Dirty boxing and clinching against the cage will be integral in stopping Diaz's combinations.

    Once he has Diaz up against the fence, Edgar can work for takedowns, but he must be weary of Diaz's submission skills.  Edgar must stay cautious as he ground and pounds, or else Diaz will take arm or choke him out. 

     

    Diaz

    The biggest advantage Diaz has is his reach, a factor that he can use to pick Edgar apart from the outside.

    Utilizing his long arms and legs, Diaz can stay away from Edgar's dirty boxing and takedowns while simultaneously picking him apart.

    If the fight does go to the ground, Diaz must keep an active guard and constantly sweep or attempt submissions to fend off Edgar's strikes from the top.

Prediction

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    If this bout does happen, it will be a surefire Fight of the Night, as both fighters consistently put on a show.

    Diaz will have the better of Edgar in the striking and will likely pick the former champion apart from the outside.

    If Edgar does lock Diaz up, he will have to utilize his dirty boxing and wrestling skills to wear his opponent down.

    In the end, however, Diaz's boxing and reach advantage will earn him the nod.

    Prediction: Diaz via unanimous decision

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