After a wicked flurry of unanswered punches, Nate Diaz knocked Gray Maynard out at 2:22 of the first round.
Diaz tried early to keep Maynard away with his reach, pawing at him. Maynard, an NCAA Division I wrestling champion, took Diaz down in the first 45 seconds. Diaz hugged him and inched back to the cage. Diaz tried to scramble away, but Maynard took him down again.
The two both got back to their feet and Diaz connected on Maynard with a big right hand.
In the exchange, Diaz hurt Maynard with a several big, looping punches. Maynard stayed up, but was clearly out on his feet. The referee thought about stopping the fight, leaning in, then out, allowing Diaz to land more combinations.
After the referee called off the fight, Maynard stumbled away and fell to the mat on all fours. When he got to his feet, a cut over his left eye poured blood. Diaz landed 34 strikes to 6 for Maynard.
Diaz was looking to get back to his winning ways against Maynard, a man who he beat during Season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter, but then lost a controversial split decision to, later in his career.
Diaz, 16-9, lost to Benson Henderson by decision and then Josh Thomson by knockout, in his last two fights.
Maynard, 13-4, lost two out of his last three fights, to Frankie Edgar and TJ Grant, both by knockout.
“The No. 1 and 2 lightweights in the world right now are me and my man,” Diaz said, as he pulled in Gilbert Melendez during the post-fight interview. Diaz also called his brother Nick Diaz, standing behind him, a “mixed martial arts master.”