While UFC 118 main event ended with shock and a lackluster performance out of challenger BJ Penn, the event began with a great battle between welterweight contenders Nate Diaz and Marcus Davis. With the Boston crowd firmly behind "The Irish Hand Grenade", this was looking to be a great fight and it certainly didn't disappoint.
Both fighters came out and immediately began swinging and testing each other early on, with Davis getting the better of the exchange as he dropped Diaz. As both fighters made their way back to their feet, they continued to stand and trade with each other. While Diaz was more effective with his long reach but Davis was landing the harder shots.
As the fight wore on, Diaz accuracy was improving with every shot he threw and Davis' right eye was a mess that was clearly affecting his performance. Davis, the smaller fighter, was certainly having a tough time getting inside of Diaz and landing effective shots as Diaz picked apart his opponent with accuracy and distance.
Once the third round began, Davis was visibly fatigued and continued to take more punishment around his right eye. Now Diaz began mixing up his strikes. Diaz then scored with a take down as he maintained a good posture on Davis, working from half-guard and positioned himself well enough to setup a guillotine and put Davis to sleep in the third round. The fight earned Fight of The Night honors.
What's next for Nate Diaz? This is his third win in his past four fights and it is the fourth time he has recieved Fight of The Night honors. Diaz should start to see a push in competition, testing himself against the likes of Diego Sanchez, Paulo Thiago or Dan Hardy.
What's next for Marcus Davis? While always showing determination and heart, Davis however has picked up one win in his past four fights. It's hard to see Davis receiving a title shot at this point. Perhaps he might want consider fighting sub-par competition to build up his confidence and pick up a few wins before testing himself against elite competition once again. Fights with the winner of Matt Serra vs. Chris Lytle, or Ricardo Almeida come to mind. Also, working on his ground game and submission defense wouldn't hurt either.