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This feels to me like a fight to wake up Marc Diakiese. When he first arrived in the UFC in 2016, there was a lot of hype surrounding him. Three straight UFC victories, two of which came via knockout, solidified that hype. However since then, Diakiese has lost four of his last six and has been relegated to fights against lesser competition. Not to discredit Rafael Alves, but with a 19-10 record heading in, he’s not exactly in good standings in the Lightweight division. However, Alves is a live by the sword, die by the sword type fighter. In twenty-nine fights, Alves has only been to the scorecards five times. If Diakiese can’t get up for this fight, Alves is going to overwhelm him.
As for a prediction, I have Diakiese winning. Despite the inactivity and disappointing tenure in the UFC, Diakiese has fought better opponents and is the overall better fighter. In fact, one can argue, Alves represents the ‘easiest’ fight for Diakiese since taking on Teemu Packalen in 2017. Regardless, Diakiese should be able to avoid the wild spurts of Alves, and technically pick him apart on the feet. Diakiese may also mix in some of his newfound wrestling, as he’s worked in a combined seven takedowns in his last two victories. In the end, I believe Diakiese wins via decision.