Perhaps the greatest mystery to come out of UFC 183 was how in the world Nick Diaz believed he was ahead on the cards going into round 5. But secondarily, several observers were perplexed as Diaz circled Silva with his elbow weirdly hovering at the edge of the horizon. Yes, Nick Diaz ironically approached Silva like a fearless chicken, as if taunting the greatest fighter of all time with one naked wing. But Diaz isn’t Kenny Florian, and the move didn’t appear to have any offensive value. Nick wasn’t, for instance, probably waiting to unwind an unconventional articulating back fist in a puff of feathers.
According to some fellows on the Internet, Diaz may have been trying to break Silva’s hands with his pointy appendage. But he’d have to have been awfully lucky, given how the tiny surface area of his telegraphed elbow was hanging in a fixed position and all. Perhaps it decorative, an homage to some neurotic neighborhood thug Diaz grew fond of in Stockton, a young man with a stylistic psychological combative tick. Again, probably not the correct answer. Nick doesn’t appear to be all that sentimental.
But some guy named rockafella on the Underground at least has a plausible idea. He’s pretty sure Nick was using a tested strategy for limiting the angles from which Silva could punch. “It’s for blocking,” he explained. “It cuts down on the amount of angles a punch can reach your head by quite a bit. Rory McDonald uses it a lot as well lately if you go and watch. Especially against Woodley and more recently versus Tarec.”
If rockafella is right, it may partially explain why Silva didn’t look as dangerous as we expect him to look in a stand-up fight, against an opponent who isn’t an explosive wrestler. Maybe that little elbow really did limit his range of striking options. But until Nick spills the beans at the tail end of some rambling one-question 45-minute interview, we have ourselves a proper mystery. And it may be that Nick Diaz has simply gone completely mad, mirroring his imaginary spirit animal while getting ready to lay an egg in round 5.