Nick Diaz vs. Josh Koscheck: Head-to-Toe Breakdown

James MacDonaldFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2012

Nick Diaz vs. Josh Koscheck: Head-to-Toe Breakdown

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    You caught me. I wrote an article condemning the potentiality of this encounter, yet here I am, enthusiastically dissecting it for your pleasure—or displeasure, as the case may be.

    Nick Diaz vs. Josh Koscheck might make about as much business sense as giving James Toney a crack at Junior dos Santos’ heavyweight title, but you can bank on me tuning in nevertheless.

    In the unlikely event that Joe Silva decides to put this matchup together, read on for a breakdown of each fighter’s skills.

Striking

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    In theory, this category should be easy to pick. After all, Nick Diaz has some of the best hands the sport has to offer, while Koscheck’s greatest weapon is his Ric Flair-esque eye-poke.

    In a straight kickboxing match, one would expect Diaz to overwhelm the former AKA veteran with the sheer volume of his output. However, the threat of the takedown might sound a note of caution to the Cesar Gracie protégé.

    It is perhaps worth pointing out that Koscheck, despite my earlier remark, does possess a pretty potent right hand. If he lands his fastball-style overhand right, the bout is generally over.

    The problem is, he rarely lands it.

    Koscheck doesn’t just telegraph the right hand, he airmails it. More importantly, even if he lands his favourite shot, Diaz’s chin is so solid that it could chip a diamond.

    Edge: Nick Diaz

Grappling

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    Although Diaz has made great strides in his wrestling game over the years, he is clearly second best in this category.

    A former NCAA champion wrestler from Edinboro University, Josh Koscheck is one of the most successful pure wrestlers to ever cross over into MMA.

    More importantly, he is one of the best functional wrestlers in the UFC. In other words, he has successfully adapted his wrestling to the sport’s nuances.

    In the past, Diaz has struggled against fighters who have focused on taking him to the mat. Although his offensive guard is usually an effective deterrent, Koscheck would likely rather take his chances on the floor than on the feet.

    Edge: Josh Koscheck

Submissions

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    This is another fairly straightforward category to pick.

    Nick Diaz is amongst the most lethal submission artists in the sport. Indeed, I recently listed him as possessing one of the most dangerous guards in MMA.

    Josh Koscheck, on the other hand, is a much less potent offensive force on the ground. Instead, he is adept at fending off submissions. He has a deep understanding of the positional aspects of BJJ, but he offers no real threat of his own.

    Despite Koscheck’s highly respectable ability to defend submissions, he may quickly find that he is out of his depth when he has to deal with Diaz’s tireless offensive guard.

    Edge: Nick Diaz

Experience

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    Both are highly experienced competitors.

    Josh Koscheck has been competing in MMA for close to a decade and has had a lifetime of experience as a competitive wrestler.

    Nick Diaz, on the other hand, was just 18 years old when he first competed as a mixed martial artist. Now 29, he is aided by almost 12 years of experience.

    One would be at pains to choose a winner in this category; therefore, I am not giving either man the edge.

    Edge: Both/Neither

Prediction

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    This would be an extremely risky fight for Nick Diaz to take, given that Koscheck is not just a stylistic nightmare for him, but because he is almost totally absent from the title picture.

    There is always the danger that The Ultimate Fighter veteran will utilise his formidable wrestling game to ride out a decision. While I suspect that Diaz will be far too active to allow a so-called lay ‘n’ pray, one can never be sure.

    The smart money is on Nick trying to keep the fight standing, where he has the clearest advantage. However, there is some doubt as to whether he will be able to keep it there.

    In the event that Koscheck is able to wrestle his foe to the ground, Diaz’s ground game will likely be too advanced for him to handle.

    Prediction: Nick Diaz by armbar midway through the third round.