Nate Diaz Earns Title Shot with Win

Diaz (left) was impressive in his lastest outing at 155 pounds.

Diaz Becomes First Fighter to Ever Stop Jim Miller

With a likely crack at the Lightweight Championship on the line, Nate Diaz (16-7) and Jim Miller (21-4) took center stage at the IZOD Center in New Jersey on Saturday night, fighting in the main event of UFC on FOX 3. Diaz used a crafty striking game to set up what would become a show stopping guillotine choke in the second round, finishing a very game Miller for the first time in his professional career.

“I just trained hard for this fight, and I just went out there and fought hard and got started,” Diaz said of the victory. “It happened, and it went good.”

Miller, who resides in New Jersey, was welcomed onto the main floor of the arena with a huge ovation from the hometown crowd, and he looked to feed off that energy once he got into the Octagon. The opening round displayed a battle for positioning in the clinch, and both combatants were throwing off a succession of knees. When they bounced off and returned to the stand-up, Miller looked to mix up kicks and punches while Diaz focused more on the use of his hands. With about 45 seconds left to go in the opening frame, Diaz caught Miller mid-strike with a sharp left hand that dropped him to the canvas. Miller did recover quickly and actually secured a takedown before the horn closed out the first round, though.

As the two fighters awaited the start of the second frame, the crowd began chants of ‘Let’s Go Miller’ in an effort to fire up their native resident. When the action did resume, it was in the form of standing exchanges, and Diaz began to drop his hands and yell at Miller when he was able to touch him early. He playfully threw a soft kick out to accompany his dropping of the hands to entice Miller, but Diaz then rocked his opposition with a right hand when he aggressively came forward to respond to the antics. The action then immediately went to the canvas where a scramble resulted in Diaz spinning into a guillotine choke that he firmly locked into position. Seeing no way out, Miller was forced to tap for the first time in his career. The official time of the stoppage was at the 4:09 mark.

“Nate controlled the fight from bell to bell,” a discouraged Miller stated at the post-fight press conference. “He took the momentum and never let me get any significant shots in there. He rearranged my nose a little bit, and that always sucks. He fought a beautiful fight and had my number.”

With the victory, UFC President Dana White did confirm that Diaz has earned himself a title shot, and he is likely to wait out the result of a title bout between champion Benson Henderson and former titleholder Frankie Edgar before fighting again. White did say the option of facing contender Anthony Pettis is something available for Diaz, but it is his choice to take that pairing or wait out the Henderson-Edgar winner.

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