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MMA UFC

UFC on FX 8: A Look At Late Entry Nik Lentz

Lentz

Ron Chenoy — USA Today Sports Media

UFC on FX 8 features an intriguing fight card that has been studied by fans many times over. However, the featherweight competition is worth reevaluation. Hacran Dias, the hometown favorite, will face Nik Lentz. Previously, Dias was matched with Manny Gamburyan, but injury forced “The Anvil” to succeed his spot to Lentz.

Dias has enjoyed a long rein of dominance since moving from M-1 bouts, including his Octagon debut last summer at UFC 147 when he defeated Iuri Alcantara by unanimous decision. Before that, he was participating mainly in Shooto events, an association powered by shoot wrestling. Dias’ success against Alcantara has a lot to do with the way in which he’s been able to complement the full-contact wrestling approach of Shooto with the wide range of quick jabs needed to defeat fighters from different disciplines. It also gives him an edge with opponents who fight on the floor: Shoot wrestling, as the name suggests, trains fighters in escapes.

The question will be whether Dias has had ample time to adjust his strategy going into Saturday. Lentz, at least in rankings, is a lesser opponent but has built a reputation for overcoming that kind of discrepancy. He owns a 2009 win over UFC veteran Drew Fickett as well as a recent victory over Diego Nunes. In fact, Gamburyan was on the losing side of the same result (a Round 3 unanimous decision) against Nunes.

The other training adjustment Dias will have had to make by Saturday is preparing for a more dynamic and, therefore, less predictable competitor. Gamburyan, while more effective in his strikes and take downs, has a primarily judo, jiu jitsu approach. Lentz has an even proficiency between his strikes and take downs but also has stronger kicks than Gamburyan.

The Dias-Lentz battle may end up being more fun to watch than the originally scheduled match due to the number of intangibles that will be deployed in the Octagon. Dias and Lentz are both dynamic fighters so it’s possible the winner will be the quickest and most adaptable.