TUF 18 Finale Bet: Gray Maynard (-135) vs Nate Diaz (+125)

Gray MaynardThe Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale Date: November 30, 2013 Arena: Mandalay Bay Events Center City: Las Vegas, N.V. Bantamweight bout: Gray Maynard (-135) vs Nate Diaz (+125) Fight Breakdown: The main event for The Ultimate Fighter season 18 finale will be a lightweight scrap that completes the trilogy between TUF season five participant Gray Maynard, and winner Nate Diaz. Maynard is the slight favorite in this bout at -135 ($135 to win $100), while Diaz is the slight underdog at +125 ($100 to win $125) at Several Bookmakerss. GRAY MAYNARD (11-2-1-1 NC MMA, 8-2-1-1 NC) is coming off a devastating knockiyr loss at the hands of TJ Grant at UFC 160 six months ago. The loss took away hopes for another title shot, and he now looks to get back on the horse, and back on the win column, as he looks to climb his way up the ladder for another shot at the lightweight crown. An NCAA Division I wrestler out of Michigan State, Maynard is a very talented grappler who has great top control. He used to use his wrestling to dominate his opponents, but then fell in love with his hands. He is a powerful puncher who began honing his boxing skills. He throws good punches, but is flat-footed, and does not have great head movement. His footwork is not very good, and his chin is definitely not what it used to be. Training out of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, C.A., Maynard is prepared to go three hard rounds against Diaz. His gameplan should be to go back to his wrestling-heavy style, as it is his best route to securing a victory here in this match-up. NATE DIAZ (16-9 MMA, 11-7 UFC) is coming off the first knockout loss of his professional mixed martial arts career at the hands of Josh Thompson back in April. He now has back-to-back losses and will be entering this bout with his back against the wall. I’m not sure if that is the case, though, because I can’t see him getting cut. If they kept Leonard Garcia and Dan Hardy around after four losses, I think they would keep Diaz around after three. He claims this is his last fight at lightweight, but he also said that the last time out when he fought Thompson. Dana White does not want Diaz to go back up to welterweight, because he was simply undersized and outclassed in that division. Diaz is a very talented submission artist who is great from any position. He does not have good takedown defense, but when taken down, he is very effective off of his back, both with strikes and submission attempts. Diaz is a skilled boxer who possesses a great jab, and puts together some nice combinations. He trains out of Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Lodi, C.A., and has recently started putting time in at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, C.A. Between both gyms, he currently trains with some of the best fighters on the planet. Diaz has incredible conditioning, and will undoubtedly enter this bout with a cardio advantage. Fight Prediction: Diaz would prefer five rounds, but since this was the co-main event which got bumped up to the main event, it is remaining as a three round affair. The first time they met, Diaz submitted Maynard. The second time, Maynard outpointed Diaz via close split-decision. Now, both of them coming off of devastating knockout losses and are looking to get back in the win column. If the fight plays out on the feet, I believe it will favor Diaz. However, I feel Maynard will be going back to his wrestling roots to grind out a decision here. Gabe’s Pick: Gray Maynard via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Gabe’s Recommended Plays: Gray Maynard -3.5 (+160) 2u to win 3.2u, and Nate Diaz wins inside distance (+335) 1u to win 3.35u

Written by Gabe Killian

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