Rafael dos Anjos feeds Nate Diaz crippling series of leg kicks en route to victory
Rafael dos Anjos put on a clinic and then some as he punished and absolutely dismantled Nate Diaz en route to a shutout decision in the co-main event from Phoenix.
Leading up to the fight the attention was on Diaz, who was returning from a year-long exodus from the UFC while dealing with a contract dispute. The former "Ultimate Fighter" winner made headlines when he no-showed an open workout and then landed even more when he made comments about the UFC's most recent signee Phil "CM Punk" Brooks.
All the talk only led to more eyeballs on the fight and that was certainly a good thing for dos Anjos, as he put on one of his strongest performances to date.
Dos Anjos dominated the striking with a series of brutal leg kicks that just chopped away at Diaz. At one point during the first round, dos Anjos' accumulated damage had Diaz limping around the Octagon with his lead leg already ailing early in the fight.
The second round saw much of the same as dos Anjos methodically picked Diaz apart while showing no regard for his opponent's offensive counters. The Brazilian put the fight on the mat when he wanted it there and eventually opened a gash over Diaz's eye that started dribbling blood down into his eyes.
By the final five minutes the writing was on the wall, with Diaz doing just what he had to do to survive, but that's about all he could do against dos Anjos' formidable onslaught.
The judges returned scores that were indicative of the fight with dos Anjos winning 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27.
Following the fight, dos Anjos took his time on the microphone to ask for a title shot and with his latest win it might be hard to deny him the opportunity at some point in 2015.
As for Diaz, his future seems to be in muddy waters at best. He wasn't exactly a company man going into Saturday night, but getting beat in a lopsided decision is ultimately the worst thing for him. Chances are following this fight he won't be getting another top-five opponent in the foreseeable future.