Nick Diaz taunting Paul Daley
The main event of the evening features a welterweight bout between the disgruntled Nick Diaz and "The Prodigy" BJ Penn.
Both competitors bring a lot of baggage into the Octagon. Their tirades and personal chaos outside of the cage will be analyzed extensively prior to this Saturday.
I will spare you the theatrics of each competitor and focus on each individual's skill sets and overall mixed martial arts abilities.
Diaz is a unique competitor. Provided accolades for his stand-up skills, Diaz truly is a very weak boxer. The Stockton, California native is more of a slap-style striker integrating a variety of kicks into his attack.
Because of this slap style, Diaz lacks decisive one-punch knockout power. That said, however, his technique is very effective and he has decimated a wide variety of opponents including the hard-hitting Paul Daley.
In addition to his slap style offense, Diaz lacks any form of boxing defense. Known for taunting his opposition by keeping his hands down and chin out, Diaz provides a target to his opponent urging them to swing as hard as possible allowing Diaz to counter-strike and gain an advantage.
Blessed with an iron chin and a tremendous cardiovascular conditioning reservoir, Diaz has no problems standing and trading in the center of the Octagon with any opponent.
Like Diaz, BJ Penn is also blessed with an iron jaw and will stand and trade in the center of the Octagon as well. Unlike Diaz, however, Penn is more of a traditional boxer.
Penn's stand-up striking offense has evolved exponentially over the years and he is a consistent threat on his feet.
Come this Saturday, Diaz will repeatedly bait Penn by dropping his hands and providing his jaw as a target.
Keeping his distance, Diaz will pepper Penn with his jab and mix in a variety of body shots, testing the suspect conditioning of the former champion.
Working his way inside, Penn will counter Diaz's slap punches with dirty boxing as well as hooks and uppercuts from close counters.
If this matchup goes to the ground, both competitors are excellent ground technicians and can essentially cancel out one another's attacks, sweeps and defenses in the jiu-jitsu game.
The variable in this welterweight clash will be Penn's conditioning. Diaz will continually batter Penn with a variety of strikes, wearing down "The Prodigy."
Taunting Penn into a stand-up battle, Diaz will ultimately wear down the Hawaiian native with repeated body shots and a multitude of strikes from various planes and angles.
This fight strategy will eventually secure Diaz with a decision victory over Penn, providing the disgruntled welterweight another opportunity at championship gold.
Winner: Nick Diaz via unanimous decision victory