Young Diaz ready for next challenge


Young Diaz ready for next challenge

When it comes to Northern California MMA, there is one prominent team that stands tall amongst the many -- Cesar Gracie Fight Team.

With the likes of Nick Diaz, Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez leading the way, it is sometimes difficult to point out the best fighter on the team.

Nick’s younger brother Nate is beginning to work his way into that discussion, and may even be considered the best after UFC on FOX 5. The younger Diaz will challenge Benson Henderson (17-2-0) for the UFC lightweight title.

Diaz wasn’t just handed this title shot based on name. He has beaten some of the top lightweights the UFC has to offer. After winning Season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter, Diaz went up to welterweight, but mixed results sent him to the lightweight division.

Since returning to the ranks of the 155 pounders, Diaz is 3-0 with two submission victories and a dominant unanimous decision victory over Donald Cerrone. His last three victories, including an overall record of 16-7, have earned him a shot at the lightweight title. For having such a stellar career, this will Diaz’s first title shot in the UFC.

Diaz has ruffled feathers, just like older brother Nick, in his time with the UFC. He’s been brass, vulgar and even downright obnoxious at times. But, he has been able to back it up inside the octagon.

Some say the Diaz brothers gain an upper hand by their brash attitude and get under the skin of their opponents. Nate will likely employ that Stockton attitude against Henderson, but Benson isn’t nicknamed “Smooth” for no reason.

The current lightweight champion has kept his cool under dire circumstances. After defeating Frankie Edgar for the title in a five-round battle earlier this year, Henderson silenced critics by defeating Edgar in a rematch that was highly controversial. Yet, through it all, “Smooth” has stayed…well, smooth.

This will be the first ever meeting between Henderson and Diaz, but with two similar styles it could be another instant classic from the UFC’s deepest division.

WRESTLING: Henderson is a two-time NAIA All-American Wrestler and is considered one of the top wrestlers in the UFC.
Edge: Henderson

STRIKING: This one is dead even. Both fighters are strong on their feet, but in different ways. Diaz is a phenomenal boxer and has shown the ability to win bouts with his fists. He’s a smart technician and picks his spots. Henderson on the other hand, is a black belt in Taekwondo and has been known to throw some of the harder kicks in MMA. This could be an interesting bout if things stay standing.
Edge: Draw

GRAPPLING: The nod on this must go to the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Nate Diaz. Diaz was awarded his black belt earlier this year after years of training in BJJ under the Gracie umbrella. He has won five Submission of the Night honors and is one of the more feared grappling technicians in the division.
Edge: Diaz

Nitesh Dutt is a Production Assistant at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @NiteshDutt.  

Cal falls to No. 11 Oregon; Ducks lose Brooks


Cal falls to No. 11 Oregon; Ducks lose Brooks

EUGENE, Ore. — Jordan Bell scored a career-high 26 points, Casey Benson had 15 on five 3-pointers and No. 11 Oregon rolled to an 86-63 victory over California on Thursday night.

The Ducks (17-2, 6-0 Pac-12) matched a 104-year-old school record with their 15th consecutive win, but they lost preseason All-America Dillon Brooks to a lower leg injury late in the first half.

Brooks, who had offseason surgery on his left foot, limped off the court as Oregon was building a 44-30 halftime lead. Oregon officials tweeted that Brooks had injured his lower left leg after he did not appear with his teammates for the second half.

Bell took up the scoring slack by shooting 11 of 12 from the field to go with six rebounds and four blocked shots.

Jabari Bird had 21 points to lead the Golden Bears (13-6, 4-3), who had won three straight and eight of their last 10 meetings with the Ducks.

Source: Bears deny 49ers attempt to bring back Fangio

Source: Bears deny 49ers attempt to bring back Fangio

The 49ers inquired about the possibility of re-hiring defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan's staff, but the Chicago Bears denied permssion, a source told

Fangio recently completed his second season as the Bears' defensive coordinator after spending four seasons in the same position on Jim Harbaugh's staff with the 49ers.

The Bears made it known to the 49ers that Fangio would not be allowed out of his contract. It never got to the point where the 49ers made a formal request to speak with Fangio, a source said.

Fangio's defenses were the strength of three 49ers teams that advanced to the NFC Championship game, including one Super Bowl appearance. He interviewed for the 49ers' head-coaching job after the 49ers parted ways with Harbaugh. After being passed over for defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, Fangio ended up on John Fox's staff with the Bears.

The Sacramento Bee was first to report the 49ers were blocked in their attempt to lure Fangio back to the organization.