The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to the Garden State on Saturday for its third event on the Fox network. UFC on Fox 3 “Miller vs. Diaz” features a terrific main event between two world-ranked lightweights in “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 winner Nate Diaz and AMA Fight Club ace Jim Miller. It should make for an explosive, entertaining fight inside the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
Diaz has won back-to-back fights since returning to the lightweight division, having submitted former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Takanori Gomi and outpointed Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts standout Donald Cerrone. Miller, meanwhile, has won eight of his last nine bouts, losing only to reigning UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson in that span.
Sherdog.com caught up with a number of professional fighters and trainers to gauge their opinions on the UFC on Fox 3 headliner:
Michael McDonald: I’m going to go with Diaz. I think his range is going to play a factor. They are both really good on the ground, and I don’t see Nate getting submitted at all. Miller might be able to take him down and control him, but he’s going to have to get into that range first. I think Nate might have the advantage based on that, being able to keep him out at range and land those long shots.
Cung Le: Nate wins this by decision.
Jeff Hougland: I’m going with Diaz by decision or submission. I think he’ll pick apart Miller on the feet using his reach. That will force Miller to take him down. Miller is a great black belt, but I believe Diaz will catch him or it will go to a split decision in Diaz’s favor.
Bryan Caraway: Miller is a beast: great cardio, awesome grappling and scrambling, effective striking. Future champion.
Joe Duarte: After watching Nate beast through Cerrone, I have a hard time seeing how Miller could beat him. “Power ’stache” vs. “209.” I’m going with Diaz via “I ain’t scared, homie!”
Zach Makovsky: I think Diaz fought the best fight of his career in his last bout with Cerrone. He will come out and pressure Miller the same way. Miller, however, will be able to use this against Diaz and take him down at will, beating Diaz up on the ground and grinding out a tough decision win.
John Gunderson: Both of these lightweights bring it each and every time they fight and are fan favorites. In the past fights, Nate has had trouble against other 55ers that outwrestle him to a decision. Jim is a complete fighter, and I believe [he] will try to take Nate down and control him. But I’m a Nate fan and I’m picking Nate, even though these guys could fight 10 times and each when five.
Travis Lutter: Tough fight, but I’m going to go with Nate; can’t wait to see this one.
Johny Hendricks: I’m guessing Miller [wins].
Robert Drysdale: Diaz.
Travis Wiuff: Diaz has looked great lately. I’m taking him by decision.
Kyle Kingsbury: I’m on the fence with this one -- have been since they announced it -- but I’m leaning towards the middle of the fence on this one. Still can’t decide. I’m thinking the top of the Octagon. That’s a nice place to sit and think.
Jacob Volkmann: Miller by unanimous decision.
Nam Phan: Diaz all the way.
Shane Roller: I got Miller by decision.
Mark Bocek: Miller [by] decision.
Yves Edwards: I’m taking Nate in that one. Neither one [of them] will get tired, and Jim will have to take him down so he stops getting punched in the face. When he does, I think Nate will still be too dangerous off his back. Nate [wins] by late sub or decision.
Travis Browne: I think Miller’s gonna take it. His wrestling is [great]. I think he’ll be able to close the gap on the striking, and I think his submission defense is good enough to where he can kind of stay on top and grind one out.
Pros Picking Diaz: 10
Pros Picking Miller: 6
No Pick: 2
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