UFC 111 Preview: The Prelims

Diaz vs. Markham

Mar 25, 2010
Nate Diaz Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

With another prelim twin bill lined up for a live broadcast on Spike this Saturday, it behooves all fans to get their knowledge in order for an especially stacked UFC 111 undercard. Whether it’s trash-talker extraordinaire Nate Diaz making his welterweight debut in the UFC or the prospect of Matt Brown splitting wigs that gets you up in the morning, this is a batch of prelims you need to be up on.

Besides the bouts lined up for the Spike treatment, there’s also the return of the mini-Hulk Matt Riddle, a guy nicknamed “Sho Nuff The Master” and two anthropomorphized battle cruisers lined up for the enjoyment of anyone who likes quality violence. So get ready for another hit to your cable bill by getting down with some major league fight breakdowns courtesy of the guy who once spread a rumor that Mark Kerr was being cast in a Broadway musical about Hall & Oates.

Nate Diaz vs. Rory Markham

The Breakdown: Once a heralded lightweight star in the making, Nate Diaz has dropped three of his last four bouts. He’s looking for a fresh start in his UFC welterweight debut against Midwest uber-slugger Rory Markham. While the mouthy native of Stockton, California’s surly streets doesn’t have to worry about getting outwrestled this time, he does need to worry about Markham’s power.

Prone to getting into unnecessary brawls that render his hyper-aggressive grappling game moot, Diaz’s sojourn to the welterweight class will be utterly pointless if he keeps up that trend against Markham’s cinder block fists. Equal parts karateka and boxer, Markham is especially dangerous up close and Diaz doesn’t use his reach or jab terribly well to control range.

The flip side of the equation is that Diaz’s grappling resides in a different dimension than Markham’s. Markham would rather lop off an arm than be mat chum for a ground shark like Diaz. Although Diaz is no world-class wrestler, he’s very cagey when it comes to scoring takedowns and Markham’s habit of ripping off combinations up close makes him an easy takedown target. Just how focused Diaz is on scoring a takedown will be the deciding factor in this fight, as any time spent on the feet is a waste of time for the younger half of the flying Diaz brothers.

The Bottom Line: This is a much tougher matchup for Diaz than most seem to think -- he’s going to get clipped on the feet repeatedly by Markham. The only reason Diaz will win is that his chin seems to be reinforced with adamantium, which will keep him upright long enough to work a takedown and exploit the difference in talent and technique on the floor. A wild fight ends with Markham falling into Diaz’s web of submissions.
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