The fight probably wasn’t the way lightweight contender Gray Maynard pictured it, but before a sold-out crowd at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia, he obtained the victory he wanted more than any other in his career up to that point. The split decision victory over Nate Diaz avenged his defeat to Diaz on The Ultimate Fighter 5.
Diaz stalked Maynard calmly to open the bout, and Maynard responded with the occasional wild haymaker. Maynard was having problems to reach Nate, but the youngest Diaz brother wasn’t exactly scoring a lot of points. The first round ended with both men trying to finish strong and take the round.
The fight got better in round 2, Maynard landed a solid right hand followed by a knee that dropped Diaz briefly, then another right hand knocked him off balance instants later. Nate wasn’t seriously hurt or in danger, but it definitely made an impression on the judges.
Diaz was the more active fighter in round 3, and while Maynard trudged forward, he was not scoring enough to keep Diaz from apparently pilling up the points in this round. Even in the clinch, Diaz was showing no signs of wear, but Maynard did finish strong, and according to two of the three judges, it was enough to secure the victory.
The scores were 30-27, 28-29 and 29-28 in favor of Gray Maynard. The win meant he would then face Kenny Florian in a title eliminator to try and earn a shot at Frankie Edgar for the lightweight title.
Fun Fact: Also on the card was Canadian sensation Rory MacDonald, who was making his UFC debut at 20 years old. Rory showed an impressive ground game submiting veteran Mike Guymon at 4:27 of the first round via armbar.