Originally written on Juiced Sports Blog  |  Last updated 11/17/14
After delivering one of the more shocking upsets the mixed martial arts (MMA) world has seen in recent years, Josh Thomson showed that he's been paying attention in class. In his second-round "Knockout of the Night" of the eminently durable Nate Diaz (watch the replay here), Thomson made a triumphant return to UFC, where he hadn't competed since 2004. In short, like his brother Nick, Nate Diaz has now lost his last two bouts. And given their identical fighting styles, it's clear that opponents have embraced what's worked against them and adjusted to shape their strategies around it. Both will have to add elements to their game as a natural counter to this evolution, or suffer for it. Now, to be fair, it isn't like the Diaz brothers are fighting scrubs. Far from it. Nick's decision loss to Carlos Condit was seen as controversial by some (not this writer, however) and like everyone else lately, he was steamrolled in a title challenge against Georges St. Pierre. And Nate's five-round whitewashing at the hands of lightweight champ Ben Henderson was a gutty — if outgunned — performance. But the dramatic swing of fates lately makes it obvious that the rest of the fight game has paid close attention to what works and what doesn't against the Diaz style. For starters, "The Punk" clearly paid close attention to a key thread running through all three of the Diaz brothers' previous losses: attack the lead leg while being as mobile as possible and constantly changing directions to prevent them from setting up in the pocket and forcing exchanges. And at all costs, prevent from getting smushed up against the cage, where they excel at bashing, grinding and ultimately wearing people down. And he steered clear of exchanging in the pocket beyond one or two quick shots prior to making a hasty exit. If given this range, the Diaz brothers are incredibly tough to discourage, and invariably end up bouncing punches off your head while you swing at the target. Backed with their solid chins, top-notch conditioning and stifling jiu-jitsu game, they, in a straight-up punchout, are absolutely in their element and very tough to beat. But throw in some movement and kicks, and they are suddenly quite human. It's one of the great mysteries how neither Diaz has ever developed even modest kicking ability. Sure, they'll throw one now and then, but they're telegraphed and, frankly, terrible-looking, almost like a passing team calling a running play now and then to keep the defense honest. It's too bad, too, because with their skill set, better kicking would be a huge asset. Very few fighters are willing to go to the ground with them, so there's less worry about being taken down (a common failing with kicks) and it would also allow them to negate movement and expand their attacking range. MMA is constantly adjusting as fighters take notes on what works, and what doesn't. It's clear that opponents have seized upon the Diaz brothers' weaknesses: a lack of kicking, a disdain for defending them, and a general hard-headed approach to how the stand-up game should transpire. They've never been short on toughness, but future bouts will be a real measure of how well they can adjust to a hole that their opponents have readily seized upon, and will continue to do so until it's closed. For complete UFC on FOX 7 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here. Jason Probst can be reached at www.twitter.com/jasonprobst., http://juicedsportsblog.com/sports-news/news/ufc-on-fox-7-results-has-the-diaz-striking-riddle-been-solved
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Sharper, NFLers called spiked drinks 'horny juice'

Rex Ryan: My wife could coach Tom Brady

Jim Harbaugh won in laser tag by 'hunting' 10-year-old kid

Eddie Lacy is ‘very blind,’ refuses to wear goggles

Michael Phelps pleads guilty to DUI, gets probation

NFL scouts not in love with Amari Cooper?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: No teams interested in trading for Lance Stephenson

It is not Chip Kelly's fault if Eagles miss playoffs

FCC declares that 'Redskins' is not obscene

Padres reportedly acquire Justin Upton

Rajon Rondo after trade: My love for Celtics fans is 'unmatched'

Report: Athletics trade Derek Norris to Padres

Will a Chiefs WR finally catch a TD in Week 16?

Jon Lester and the Cubs

The Toronto Raptors reveal their new logo

Things Johnny Manziel, Browns can do to avoid a bad repeat

No. 9: What if the Bengals hired Bill Walsh?

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Predicting the winners of the four NFL divisions up for grabs

Game of the week: Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys

Chase Utley bids farewell to Jimmy Rollins

Are the 49ers going to rebuild or reload?

Ranking NFL coaches on hot seat heading into Week 16

Five draft picks why the Browns won’t make the playoffs

MMA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Game of the week: Colts vs. Cowboys

Phelps gets probation for DUI

NFL coaches on hot seat in Week 16

The Roy Williams-Terrell Owens horse collar turns 10

Most underpaid NFL players in 2014

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

Impact of U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.