UFC Fight Night 20: Maynard vs Diaz Live will take place on January 11th, and will be free on Spike TV. The main event features the rematch of Gray Maynard and Nate Diaz, as Gray Maynard looks to avenge his loss to Diaz on The Ultimate Fighter.
Amir Sodallah vs Brad Blackburn
Amir Sodallah looked real good on The Ultimate Fighter, and has since gone 2-1 in the UFC with wins over Dollaway and Phil Baroni. Brad Blackburn is a tough, but middle of the road fighter who is 3-0 in the UFC and 17-9 overall. Amir has strong Jiu Jitsu and a sick Muay Thai clinch, but only has 3 professional fights under his belt, and hasn't looked all that impressive in any of them. Brad is an experienced veteran and if he can avoid locking up with Amir, he might be able to pound his way to a Unanimous Decision or even hand Amir his second KO loss in three fights. Considering half of Brad's wins have come via KO, I'm giving him the edge on the feet, and the 2nd round TKO victory.
Tom Lawler vs Aaron Simpson
This battle between two up-and-coming wrestlers is going to most likely end up being a snooze-fest on the ground. Tom Lawler is a bit younger, and more experienced, but Aaron Simpson has displayed some very good wrestling skills, and is unbeaten in his MMA career. Aaron Simpson should be able to control Lawler on the ground and ground and pound out a Unanimous Decision.
Efrain Escudero vs Evan Dunham
To be honest, this is a bit of a mismatch. Although Evan is unbeaten, he has yet to show that he can fight at the same level as Efrain, nor has he fought opponents anywhere near the level Efrain has. Escudero has shown extraordinary composure in his fights, great Jiu Jitsu, and got his first knockout in his last fight against the tough Cole Miller. Efrain is young and has great cardio, and should make quick work of Evan. Expect an early submission victory for the up and coming contender Escudero.
Gray Maynard vs Nate Diaz
On paper this looks like a lop-sided battle with unbeaten Gray Maynard, who has wins against fighters like Frankie Edgar, Jim Miller and Roger Huerta, against Nate Diaz who is coming off his first win in three fights against the mediocre Melvin Guillard. What a lot of people don't remember is that Diaz won the first fight between these two easily on The Ultimate Fighter. The reason this fight is not going to be as lop-sided as it seems is that stylistically, Diaz matches up favorably with Maynard. Gray loves to get that takedown and ground n' pound his opponents, but Diaz has one, if not the most dangerous guard in MMA. Diaz has been known to pull off unbelievable submissions from his back, which puts Gray in a dangerous position everytime he takes Diaz to the ground. Gray is the better fighter, with stronger striking and some of the best wrestling in the UFC, but everytime this fight goes to the ground Nate will have the ability to end it. Ultimately, it will come down to how much Gray has been working on his Jiu Jitsu defense. I expect Gray to pound his way to a decision in this fight, but if he is not very careful, Nate will catch him in an armbar or triangle choke. My final prediction, Gray Maynard via split decision.