This weekend’s UFC card (UFC on FOX 7) airing out of San Jose has a lot of talented fighters that are looking to keep their rankings in their respective weight classes. Of particular interest are the lightweight battle between Josh Thomson and Nate Diaz and the Featherweight tussle pitting Darren Elkins against Chad Mendes. Both fights pit two talented fighters who up until very recently were not on the UFC’s title radar against two fighters who failed in their first attempt to win a belt in their recent challenges and need to win to stay in the title picture.
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Nate Diaz is roughly a two to one favorite over Strikeforce import Josh Thomson, but throw the odds out the window for this one. Both men know each other real well, as Thomson has fought a trilogy against Diaz teammate Gilbert Melendez, who is also on the card. With Benson Henderson beating Diaz, and with GSP blueprinting how to defeat the style in his recent defeat of brother Nick Diaz, the blueprint is there. Look for Thomson to remain aggressive throughout as he takes it to Diaz.
For his bout, Chad Mendes is a massive -750 favorite, with the comeback on Elkins sitting at +450.
Looking at Mendes negatively, he is in the position Jon Fitch was in for the UFC recently. He has dominated the division, but was crushed by the champion and no one on the planet cares to see a rematch. Mendes has two fast finishes since, but the UFC has gone the rout of importing Lightweights in to the Featherweight division rather than see Mendes-Aldo 2.
Elkins is until recently an undercard fighter, who won a fast fight last month and stepped up on short notice to fight Mendes. He really has nothing to lose, as he has already made points with his employer for taking the fight. He will have a solid height and reach advantage over Mendes, and is a good enough wrestler that he will ake Mendes work for the takedowns. Elkins is hard to keep down, and he will be looking to make Mendes work and test his gas. Elkins is a dog for a reason, but he might be worth a look at the current price.