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Cesar Gracie Believes Diaz Can Test Silva’s Chin

Cesar Gracie sees a finish coming this January when Nick Diaz returns to the Octagon to face Anderson Silva.

The scheduled five-round middleweight main event for UFC 183 will also see Silva fight for the first time since a gruesome broken leg suffered this past December against Chris Weidman.

“I believe it’s going to be a stand-up fight the entire time,” said Gracie, in an interview with MMA Fighting. “Nick is better on the ground, his jiu-jitsu is better, but I believe it’s going to be a stand-up fight and it won’t last five rounds.

“I think it will be over before five rounds; someone will get knocked out.”

Gracie, who works with Diaz in California, isn’t betting on his fighter getting dropped. Silva has lost two straight to Weidman, suffering his first defeats inside the Octagon.

“Nick is hard to knock out, he was knocked out only once in the beginning of his career,” Gracie said. “Anderson is bigger than Nick, but he’s turning 40 now and his chin is not the same anymore.

“If Nick can get in there and punch him, I think he wins this fight. Nick will turn 31 in August, he’s just a kid. Anderson is fast and dangerous. I don’t know who’s going to win, but I know it’s going to be a good fight.”

Diaz hasn’t fought since 2009 above welterweight when he defeated both Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith at 180 pounds. He retired after a loss to Georges St-Pierre for the UFC title, and will be stepping back into the Octagon for the first time in over two years when he meets Silva.

“He was training, but he really retired,” Gracie said. “He wanted more money and everything, and he didn’t train like he used to. He was more relaxed, doing things he liked.”

The last time a fight involving Diaz was stopped early on his behalf came in 2007 due to a cut vs. K.J. Noons. His only true knockout loss came via TKO in 2002 in his fifth career fight to Jeremy Jackson.

Jackson retired in 2007 and holds two wins in three fights over Diaz. He submitted him at UFC 44 and lost to him in their first meeting in 2002.

scott coker

Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal doesn’t speak very highly of his time working with Bjorn Rebney.

Lawal, a former Strikeforce champion, lashed out against Rebney following his loss earlier this year to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. While things settled down during the post-fight press conference, Lawal jumped at the chance to fire off comments against the former Bellator president during an interview with MMA Fighting.

Rebney was replaced by Scott Coker, who Lawal worked with at Strikeforce.

“I personally think he’s an (expletive),” Lawal said. “If I had a chance to see him, I’d put them hands on him. He’s deceptive, fake.

“He flew me out to that meeting. It was just a bunch of bull he was spitting me. He’s a liar. He can’t make eye contact with me. He’s a liar. When it came down to it, he’s out of touch with MMA as a whole.”

Rebney helped build a base for Bellator through the use of tournaments, crowning champions and contenders. That, though, sometimes left the promotion without the ability to reward immediate rematches. Ben Askren, Hector Lombard and others left Bellator as champions in their respective weight classes, while a lengthy legal battle was engaged with lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.

“No one respected him,” Lawal said. “They thought he was a good businessman, but when it came down to it, he was out of tune, out of touch with the MMA media, crowd, audience, everything.

“Everybody in Bellator and Viacom, they’re cool as hell. I’ll bleed for them. But Bjorn is shady. No one got a good vibe from him.”

ufc 183

For Nick Diaz, the weight-disadvantage he’ll like have against Anderson Silva in January will not be an issue.

Diaz, who will return from a self-imposed retirement to kick-start the new year, talked about his weight and return during a conference call with reporters recently. The bout is set to serve as the main event for UFC 183 in Las Vegas.

“I’m getting a little older, but I always thought I could fight at a catchweight at 160, or fight at 170, 185, maybe even 155,” Diaz said (thanks to MMAjunkie.com for the quotes). “I’m pretty heavy and I naturally don’t really have a hard time gaining weight. I put on a lot of miles and a lot of work just to get down under 185 pounds. It can be pretty rough making 170.”

Diaz (26-9) is a former Strikeforce champion and one-time contender to the UFC welterweight title. He lost each of his last two, falling via decision to Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit, and now walks around at 200 pounds, making the middleweight cut to 185 an easier one.

“I think that’s one of my strengths,” he said. “I could probably fight, at a time, at any weight. I’m not bigger than I used to be now. I’m pretty heavy and I naturally don’t really have a hard time gaining weight.”

The last time Diaz stepped inside the Octagon was March 2013, while Silva fought in December of last year. “The Spider” has dropped his last two fights, as well, falling to Chris Weidman both times.

UFC president Dana White commented that a win over Silva could propel Diaz into a title shot, but the fighter didn’t want to make any promises.

“Day-by-day, fight-by-fight,” he said (thanks to UFC.com for the quotes). “I was looking for the biggest fight I could get myself into. That’s what I’ve done since I was 18 years old and I got into the UFC. I don’t enjoy fighting. Definitely not.”

gilbert melendez

Gilbert Melendez is listening to Anthony Pettis.

It appears as if Pettis, the UFC lightweight champion, told Melendez the two should work on “selling” their upcoming planned title fight. While nothing has been set by the promotion, “El Nino” said December 6 in his latest Instagram post for a date.

The two will be coaches on the soon-to-air Ultimate Fighter season featuring an all-female strawweight cast. If they fight in December, it will be part of the Chris Weidman-Vitor Belfort UFC 181 card from Las Vegas.

Melendez is a former Strikeforce champion who lost via decision to Benson Henderson for the UFC title.

Pettis kept up his end of the trash-talking through social media, replying to Melendez that “u won’t make it out the 1st round!!! Your not even the number 1 contender Henderson is.”

vitor belfort

Vitor Belfort has had enough of the trash talk regarding his name.

Belfort, who will face Chris Weidman for the UFC middleweight title in December at UFC 181 as long as he successfully passes all drug tests given to him by the Nevada Athletic Commission, lashed out against the likes of Luke Rockhold and others during a recent interview with MMA Fighting.

Rockhold has called into question the decision by the NAC to grant “The Phenom” his fight license on a conditional basis. Others have also done the same, dragging Belfort’s name through the proverbial mud in doing so.

“Eighteen years ago, I was in this game. I had to fight twice in one night. In 2004, I became the light heavyweight champion. I’m so glad I’m still here and I think that affects a lot of people, and gives joy to a lot of people. A lot of guys, they are just mama’s boys with powder on their butts. When you get knocked out, just shut your mouth, go to the gym and train.”

Belfort landed a kick to the head of Rockhold that dropped the former Strikeforce champion in Brazil. Rockhold has expressed interest in avenging that loss, citing Belfort’s use of TRT at the time. The Brazilian was granted an exemption to use the drug, but that has since been outlawed by both the UFC and many commissions.

“Eighteen years ago, all of these boys were in high school and right now, they think they are going to use me as a ladder,” he said. “But the ladder is so high, the altitude is so high, they cannot breath. I think they are just afraid. That playboy is still in shock from the kick. He’s in shock.

“People are in sock. That’s the word. Lions don’t apologize for being lions. I don’t. It is what it is.”

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