UFC on Fox 3 Rewind: Diaz chokes out Miller

Published on May 7 at 12:47 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

Nate Diaz’s ascent up the food chain in the lightweight division continued Saturday night when he became the first fighter to finish Jim Miller with a second-round submission in the main event of UFC on Fox 3 at The Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Diaz hooked up his backers as a plus-150 underdog.

The Stockton, Calif. native was a more generous underdog leading up to the fight with gamblers earning a plus-180 return (risk $100 to win $180) if they got their action in early. Miller closed as a minus-180 favorite at most spots.

Since dropping down to the 155-pound loop, Diaz has run through Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone and Miller. Now he’s expected to get a shot at the belt against the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson.

Diaz was dominant from the start, using his high-level boxing to pepper away at Miller’s face. Diaz’s height and length were clear advantages and he began to pour it on in the second stanza.

When Diaz starts taunting his opponent, you know he’s in a groove. After getting busy early in the second round, the showboating and Stockton slaps became a constant. Miller began bleeding from his nose and clearly lost some zip on his punches.

When Miller went for a takedown late in Round 2, Diaz took advantage and locked in a guillotine choke that forced Miller to tap. After a seven-fight winning streak, Miller has lost two of three fights.

Wagers on ‘under’ 4 ½ rounds for a plus-145 payout were winners (risk $100 to win $145).

In the co-main event, Johny Hendricks won a split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) over Josh Koscheck as a minus-150 favorite. This was a pick ‘em fight for most of the week before books adjusted Hendricks to a somewhat healthy ‘chalk’ on Saturday afternoon.

BrianEdwardsSports.com scored the fight in favor of Koscheck by a 29-28 count. We had him winning Rounds 1 and 3.

Koscheck seemed to get the better of the stand-up exchanges in Round 1, but that changed in the second five-minute frame. Hendricks connected with several big lefts that created swelling around Koscheck’s right eye that was so badly injured in his second loss to Georges St. Pierre.

Hendricks was the more active fighter on the feet the first few minutes of the third round, but Koscheck executed a takedown with about two minutes remaining. From there, he kept the top position and inflicted damage on Hendricks.

Nevertheless, Koscheck apparently didn’t deal out enough ground-and-pound treatment in the eyes of a pair of judges.

Alan ‘The Talent’ Belcher played the leg-lock game with Rousimar Palhares and emerged unscathed, something few middleweights in the world can say. After escaping from a heel-hook attempt, Belcher pounded Palhares in ground-and-pound fashion to secure his fourth consecutive victory as a plus-175 underdog (paid $175 on $100 wagers).

Bets on ‘under’ 2 ½ rounds at an expensive price were winners.

The first fight on the Fox card was expected to deliver fireworks and it didn’t disappoint. Lavar Johnson knocked out Pat Barry as a plus-135 underdog with 22 second left in the first round.

In the opening minute, Barry landed a couple of his powerful leg kicks but he felt Johnson’s power during several exchanges. Those strikes from Johnson, in addition to multiple knees, prompted Barry to go for a double.

When Johnson sprawled nicely, Barry moved into mount in the ensuing scramble. For the next three minutes, Barry was in control from on top. Not known for his ground game, Barry moved to side control and attempted an Americana that had Johnson in a world of pain.

However, Johnson was able to roll out with an underhook and get back to his feet at the 1:10 mark. The momentum shifted back to Johnson when he backed Barry up with an enormous body kick. After connecting with several punches, Barry tried to respond with a head kick but it didn’t land cleanly.

Johnson then went on a rampage with a vicious flurry, connecting with more than a dozen powerful punches while Barry covered up. Finally, Barry fell and the referee brought the carnage to an end.

Wagers on ‘under’ 1 ½ rounds sent bettors to collect at the window.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

–The underdogs were barking all night long, going 6-4.

–Michael Johnson handed Tony Ferguson his first loss in the Octagon as a generous plus-230 underdog.

–Diaz garnered Submission of the Night honors.

–The Fight of the Night went to Louis Gaudinot and John Lineker. Gaudinot won by guillotine choke with six seconds left in the second round. He hooked up his supporters with a healthy plus-240 payout.

–At the post-fight presser, Koscheck said his eye was fine, that he had no blurred vision and wanted to get back in the cage as soon as possible.

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