Lightweight contender Gray Maynard avenged the only loss of his MMA career on Monday, edging TUF 5 winner Nate Diaz by split decision in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 20 at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia.
Maynard and Diaz first met in the semifinals of The Ultimate Fighter 5 in 2007 and Diaz scored a second-round submission before going on to win the reality series, but Monday’s matchup was a different story.Rather than the wrestler Maynard and submission wiz Diaz trying to win the fight on the ground, the pair boxed for three lackluster rounds in the headliner, with Maynard earning the win with more effective striking.
Maynard ups his perfect professional record to 9-0 with the victory, his sixth-straight decision win, but the subpar performance makes the next title shot at BJ Penn likely to go to Frankie Edgar, while Diaz has now lost three of his last four and drops to 11-5.
After nearly being finished by The Ultimate Fighter 8 winner Efrain Escudero in the opening round of the UFN 20 co-main event, Evan Dunham rebounded and forced Escudero to submit to an armbar in the third. Though Escudero eventually tapped, his reluctance to quit likely cost him more than just the fight, as he quickly exited the cage with a likely broken arm.
Also on the UFC Fight Night 20 main card, Aaron Simpson overcame early flurries from Tom Lawlor to win a controversial split decision while The Ultimate Fighter 7 winner Amir Sadollah dominated Brad Blackburn en route to a unanimous decision win.
The complete results for UFC Fight Night 20 were:
UFC Fight Night 20 Quick Results
- Gray Maynard def. Nate Diaz via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
- Evan Dunham def. Efrain Escudero via submission (armbar) – Round 3, 1:59
- Aaron Simpson def. Tom Lawlor via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Amir Sadollah def. Brad Blackburn via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Chris Leben def. Jay Silva via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Rick Story def. Jesse Lennox via split decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Thiago Tavares vs. Nik Lentz – majority draw (28-28, 28-28, 29-27)
- Rory MacDonald def. Mike Guymon via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 4:27
- Rafael dos Anjos def. Kyle Bradley via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Gerald Harris def. John Salter via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 3:24
- Nick Catone def. Jesse Forbes via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Pictured: Gray Maynard