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Countdown to UFC Orlando: Marc Diakiese vs Michael Johnson

As the UFC winds down its year with a star-studded triple header, Doncaster’s own Marc Diakiese looks to end the year with a bang as he takes on crafty veteran Michael Johnson in a lightweight contest on December 3rd.
Diakiese has had a very positive year, with two wins in 2022 coming over Viacheslav Borshchev and Damir Hadzovic to snap a previous two fight losing streak. His opponent Michael Johnson will look to spoil the party after his split decision loss to Jamie Mullarkey in July put his record at 1-5 in his last 6 fights and 20-18 overall.
A staple of the UFC lightweight division since 2010, Johnson has beaten top contenders like Tony Ferguson, Dustin Poirier and Edson Barboza during his UFC tenure, but a career lacking consistency has led him to Doncaster’s Diakiese, with many questioning if a loss could result in this being his final trip to the octagon.
Heavy hands have been Diakiese’s route to success in his UFC outings, starting his octagon life at 3-0 he caught headlines with a sensational 30 second knockout of Teemu Packalen in front of a packed London crowd, leaving his Finnish opponent stiff on the canvas and earning himself a £50,000 bonus for his troubles.
Despite his heavy hands it was his work in the clinch and multiple takedowns that secured his last win over Damir Hadzovic, knowing “The Bosnian Bomber” would be looking to live up to his name he engaged in a clinch heavy gameplan, not giving his opponent any space to employ his striking game and forcing him to work from his back, carrying his weight for the full 15 minutes.
Keeping his hands high will be crucial for Johnson in this fight, 38 career fights worth of damage have taken their toll and his chin is not what it once was. Even more worrying for Johnson is that his most brutal knockout loss, an overhand right from Josh Emmett, is painfully similar to Diakiese’s finest career performance against Packalen, meaning he will have extra incentive to keep his hands high.
By contrast, Diakiese must not underestimate Johnson or his power. Johnson is notoriously difficult to predict, looking like a top five talent one fight but totally lost in another, but one thing that has stayed with him throughout his career are his incredibly fast hands, which alongside his superb ability to counterstrike have resulted in knockouts of Alan Patrick and Dustin Poirier.
This fight is a tale of two fighters going in opposite directions, a young gun entering his athletic prime vs a crafty veteran looking for one final career swansong, who will win? Tune into UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Holland on December 3rd to find out.

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