Nate Diaz Defeats Anthony Pettis Via Decision in Return from 3-Year UFC Hiatus

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2019

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 17:  (R-L) Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis embrace after their welterweight bout during the UFC 241 event at the Honda Center on August 17, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Nate Diaz is back. The 34-year-old picked up a unanimous-decision win over Anthony Pettis in the co-main event of UFC 241 on Saturday night in Anaheim, California. 

Diaz utilized relentless pressure and signature cardio to outwork his opponent during three rounds and convince all three judges he was the victor (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

The first round featured a little bit of everything. The Stockton, California, native pressed forward while Pettis answered with sharp counters. A Diaz takedown highlighted the grappling in the round where he was able to take Showtime's back. 

Marc Raimondi @marc_raimondi

Diaz 10-9. His work on the ground, getting into mount, getting Pettis’ back and landing hard shots was the most effective thing in the round. #UFC241

Diaz's trademark pressure only intensified as the fight moved to the second stanza. He pinned Pettis against the cage and went to work with hooks and knees to the body and head. 

UFC @ufc

Diaz is teeing off on Pettis as round 2 comes to a close! #UFC241 https://t.co/oB6cmHTcl7

The third round almost saw Diaz finish the fight. With Showtime up against the fence once again, Diaz put him on the floor with brutal knees, but Pettis utilized good grappling defense to recover and eventually wind up in Diaz's guard. 

UFC @ufc

DIAZ IS GOING OFF! #UFC241 https://t.co/BxawfsNBnp

There was no shortage of praise for Diaz after he put on an impressive performance coming off a three-year layoff. He showed no signs of ring rust in three rounds of solid action:

Adam Hill @AdamHillLVRJ

Nearly 3 years to the day after he last stepped in the octagon and with all kinds of questions about motivation, Nate Diaz just won all three rounds and is going to get a unanimous decision win over former champ Anthony Pettis. That's incredibly impressive #ufc241

After the bout, Diaz called out Jorge Masvidal in what would be a welcome fight in fans' eyes:

Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN

Nathan Diaz calls out Street Jesus Jorge Masvidal and the world rejoices

The performance is Diaz's first appearance in the Octagon since his loss to Conor McGregor in their massive UFC 202 bout. 

Diaz defeated McGregor via submission at UFC 196 but followed it with a decision loss the second time out. Now, Diaz, who has made his name as an action fighter in the UFC, is looking for a specific type of opponent. 

"I'm back, to showcase real martial skills against real martial artists," Diaz said, per Gavin Porter of UFC.com. "To let all the fighters know who are holding on and scoring points and winning the rounds that's cool, right on for getting your money, but that's some wack-ass martial arts. That's not even martial arts; that's point fighting."

The Diaz brothers have always been a bit enigmatic when it comes to matchmaking. Nick Diaz hasn't fought since 2015 and only fought three times from 2012 to 2015. 

With Nate's win against Pettis in Saturday's co-main event, the likelihood that we get another big Diaz fight increases. The Diaz brothers have been a proven hype machine, and Nate Diaz's two fights with McGregor were both blockbusters. 

Should The Notorious return to the Octagon any time soon, Diaz will now have a case to meet him a third time.