UFC on FOX 7: April 20, 2013 San Jose, California UFC Lightweight Contender Nate Diaz (-170) Profile: TUF 5 winner Nate Diaz (16-8) has been known as one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC, but he is coming off a very disappointing loss to Benson Henderson for the lightweight title that was anything but exciting. While Diaz (16-8) is no longer in his older brother Nick’s shadow, he has still picked up some of his bad habits, which hurt him in his setback to Henderson at UFC on FOX 5. Regardless, he remains one of the most deadly and accurate strikers in the world and owns an overall mark of 11-6 record inside the Octagon, earning 10 post-fight bonuses (five for Submission of the Night and five for Fight of the Night) along the way. The 27-year-old Diaz has looked nearly unstoppable since moving back to 155 with a 3-1 mark, beating up Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller with relative ease before falling to Henderson in their title fight on December 8, 2012. UFC Lightweight Contender Josh Thomson (+130) Profile: Josh Thomson (19-5, 1 No-Contest) is best known for his nearly seven-year-long stint in Strikeforce, which included three epic fights with Gilbert Melendez for the lightweight title. But before Strikeforce, Thomson was a 2-1 in the UFC prior to being unceremoniously let go by the organization. The 34-year-old San Jose native is a true veteran of the sport and comfortable anywhere the fight goes. He has strong offensive and defensive wrestling, the ability to stand with nearly anyone, and good experience fighting off his back as evidenced by his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt along with nine submissions. Thomson is scrappy and skilled, but he can also be his own worst enemy. Injury-prone in the last few years, he has amassed only six fights since late 2009. Thomson has turned to his takedowns and stifling wrestling in recent years, shying away from his inner brawler, which has paid off with wins against K.J. Noons and Pat Healy while nearly leading to victory in a razor-thin, controversial split-decision loss to Melendez in their third meeting last year. Opening UFC on FOX 7 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Diaz a slight -170 favorite (bet $170 to win $100) while Thomson opened as a +130 underdog (bet $100 to win $130) at 5Dimes sportsbook. This is an outstanding matchup between two of the scrappiest 155-pounders in the UFC who also both happen to reside in Northern California. Of his last 15 bouts, Thomson has fought in his hometown of San Jose nine times, going 6-3 with two of the losses coming against Melendez. Diaz has not fought in California since 2006 when he lost to Hermes Franca via armbar submission for the WEC lightweight championship. He will need to be much more aggressive against Thomson than he was against Henderson, who pushed the pace and dominated him from start to finish over five rounds. Thomson has been involved in just two bouts since the end of 2010, and that lack of competition could be a factor here. Meanwhile, Diaz has fought six times over that same stretch and knows he must perform better if he is going to get back into title contention.
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