UFC 49 Prelims: Parisyan and Diaz Go Distance, Edwards Stuns Thomson

Nick Diaz vs Karo Parisyan

By Josh Gross Aug 21, 2004
LAS VEGAS, Aug. 21 -- Welterweights Nick Diaz and Karo Parisyan wowed the crowed with an exciting display of submission grappling between moments of toe-to-toe fisticuffs Saturday night in the best of the three UFC 49 off-television bouts.

The youngest fighters in the division, 21-year-olds Diaz and Parisyan squared off in what most felt was a television-worthy fight. It was, and should have been seen live by the national pay-per-view audience, not a still-filling MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The first period was excellent, as the North Hollywood, Calif.-trained Parisyan bullied Stockton, Calif.'s Diaz to the mat with several high-elevation takedowns. Diaz, a slick grappler under the tutelage of Cesar Gracie, brought his legs high and moved his hips to create space, threatening Parisyan with submission. But the Judo black belt shrugged off the subs and answered with power shots from the guard.

Parisyan's ability to control, defend and counter won him the round, and put him on good footing for the remainder of the fight.

As the contest moved into its middle round, the action slowed. Parisyan appeared fatigued, while Diaz measured punches from the outside. Unlike his last bout versus Robbie Lawler, however, a Diaz power punch was nowhere to be found.

Though he owned minutes one through four, Diaz was hardly hurting or endangering Parisyan. In the closing moments of round two, Parisyan landed the only power shots of the period, scoring with a right hook and back-to-back overhand rights. He followed with another takedown to make the period a close one for the judges.

Round three was all Parisyan, whose cardio, in stark contrast to Diaz', was more and more an advantage as the fight waned. Scoring several takedowns, landing the harder punches and refusing to let Diaz control the pace, Parisyan clearly earned the decision victory.

Judges Cecil Peoples (29-28) and Marco Rosales (30-27) scored it for Parisyan, while Las Vegas regular Dalby Shirley judged it 29-28 in Diaz' ledger.

Shirley, who earned his stripes as a boxing referee, continues to incorrectly score mixed martial arts. His lack of grappling knowledge severely impacts how he sees and scores fights, and it should be obvious that unless he commits himself to learning the game, he has no place ringside scoring MMA.

With the win, Parisyan ups his record to 20-3-0 and lines up showdowns against the top tier of the UFC's welterweight division. Diaz, despite the loss, is still in fine position. Having just turned 21, there are many bouts in his future, and, if handled correctly, the loss, which dropped him to 9-3-0, should not impact his ability to grow as a fighter.

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