GracieFighter.com is reporting that Nick Diaz’s first opponent since being suspended for six months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission following a positive drug test for marijuana will be “Iron” Mike Aina.
The two will square off against each other on September 15 in Honolulu on an EliteXC card televised by Showtime.
Diaz trains with Cesar Gracie’s camp in California while Aina is a member of B.J. Penn’s camp in Hawaii. The match will be the second of two Gracie vs. Penn matchup on the card with Jake Shields (Gracie) and Renato “Charuto” Verrisimo (Penn) being the other.
Aina does not have a lot of name recognition and his record on paper isn’t the best (8-5-1 or 9-6-1 depending on where you go) so I am expecting that the announcement will be met with disappointment by some. However, I think the matchup could surprise a lot of people. Aina is a tough dude with good Jiu-Jitsu. But in the limited footage I’ve seen of him, he also likes to brawl in a style similar to the way Diaz does.
The fight will be contested at 160 pounds and Aina will enter as a heavy underdog. In spite of that fact, if the two decide to stand and trade then I think we could see a very exciting fight.
You can read the official report on GracieFighter.com by clicking here.
Aina is a local fighter and another local guy I would expect to fight on the card is Niko Vitale. I haven’t heard anything official but if you recall, Vitale was tapped as a last-minute replacement for Ninja vs. Joey Villasenor on the 6/22 Shamrock vs. Baroni card. Ninja was able to eventually get cleared and Vitale was removed from the card, however, at the time it was announced that he had signed a multi-fight deal with EliteXC. If they aren’t going to Vitale him in Hawaii, when would they use him?