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Ready 4 War: Paul v Diaz Preview and Prediction

UFC legend Nate Diaz steps into the boxing ring for a lucrative bout against Jake Paul at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on Sunday morning.

Paul Diaz

UFC legend Nate Diaz steps into the boxing ring for a lucrative bout against Jake Paul at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on Saturday night (Sunday morning SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld. 

3 AM Sunday SA time

Jake Paul (1.25) v Nate Diaz (3.80) (Cruiserweight)

At this stage, three-and-a-half years after his first fight, Paul’s boxing career is what it is. It’s a sideshow focused on the entertainment side of boxing. As a purist, it’ll never sit pretty with me, but I get it. 

The YouTuber turned prize-fighter went legit in his last bout, finally facing a professional boxer for the first time in Tommy Fury in Saudi Arabia in February. He ended up suffering his first defeat but to his credit, he was anything but outclassed by the brother of heavyweight great Tyson Fury, dropping a split decision. 

Now 6-1 with four knockouts, “The Problem Child” initially had his sights set on a running it back against Fury but pivoted to a bigger money fight in Diaz, a man he’d called out for ages. 

Diaz had finished up his UFC contract with a fourth-round submission win over Tony Ferguson last September and the lure of a big payday saw him put his mixed martial arts career on hold and sign up to face Paul in what’ll be his professional boxing debut. 

An MMA icon, Diaz is a fighter’s fighter. He’s as raw and real as it gets, a scrapper from the mean streets of Stockton who became one of the biggest stars in UFC history with his warrior spirit, relentlessness and superhuman toughness.

A terminator with swagger, he goes to war every time he fights and has out-dogged and drowned many a man with his willingness to go to the trenches and otherworldly conditioning. 

His legend is far greater than his record of 21-13 suggests. His heart and skill have seen him fight for the title and produce iconic moments, none greater than his stunning upset win over Conor McGregor, who was unbeaten in the UFC and the featherweight champion when they fought for the first time in March 2016. 

That star-making triumph, though, came by submission and is one of a dozen tap-out victories. Though he has good striking in the MMA realm, grappling is the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt’s bread and butter and without it, he’s far less of a threat. 

Not blessed with stopping power, Diaz only has five knockouts in his almost 20-year MMA career. Consider, too, that that’s with the small, four-ounce gloves, AND, he normally fights at 155 pounds, with an odd fight at 170. 

The bout against the younger and bigger Paul, who has proven one-punch knockout power, will be at 185 pounds, which is why the beloved 38-year-old is such a big underdog.  

Diaz’s striking success in MMA is the result of him melting foes with pressure and endless boxing barrages. To that end, the fact that Paul’s agreed to make this a 10-round fight after it originally being an eight-rounder does give Diaz a shot. He’s not going to knockout Paul, but he could possibly outlast him. 

That said, Diaz has never fought at 185 pounds before, and it remains to be seen how it affects his legendary gas tank. In the twilight of his combat sports career, he’s slowed down considerably as well, which should make him a very hittable target for 26-year-old Paul. 

I don’t see Paul starching him like he did former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in their second fight. However, Diaz has a ton of scar tissue after all the epic wars he’s been in and gets cut more often than not. 

He lost the historic BMF title fight against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244 by TKO due to a cut/doctor stoppage and that’s how I see this one ending towards the tail-end of the tilt as well. 

Prediction: Paul by TKO.

Best Bet: Paul by KO/TKO/DQ at 1.66.

Alternative Bet: Over 7.5 rounds at 1.80.

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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