Ryan Previews UFC 196: McGregor vs Diaz
In Dec of 2015, Ireland’s Conor McGregor shocked the world by defeating the long reigning UFC Featherweight Champ Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds. On the first real shot Conor landed, he got Aldo right in the chin as both were throwing, knocking Aldo down followed by a few hammer fists to a downed Aldo until the referee stopped it. Following the fight, speculation ran rampant on what Conor’s next move would be. In January it was announced his next move would be a move up one weight class to challenge Lightweight champ Rafael Dos Anjos, though a foot injury 2 weeks ago forced Dos Anjos to pull out of the bout. Nate Diaz was then chosen as the replacement opponent, and the Conor insisted that the fight be at 170, one weight class above what McGregor was supposed to fight at. So how do these 2 stars stack up?
In the build up to the fight, there has been a lot of trash talking and shenanigans in the build up but will it actually matter come fight time. In my mind, Conor McGregor is by far the faster fighter. Though going up 2 full weight classes from when he fought in December, will the speed and power be adjusted to the new weight. The time in the cage will tell, but in my mind, if Conor brings the speed and power to 170, he wins very easily. Nate Diaz does have a better ground game and can submit guys, but he usually goes for the standup battle which may end up being a mistake. If anything, Nate’s one saving grace is his chin. Despite having 10 losses, most of his losses are due to decision losses where he didn’t do enough work. His only loss via TKO was via a headkick to the face by Josh Thompson and followed by nasty ground and pound until the ref stopped it. In other words, if this fight stays standing, and if McGregor brings the power to 170, this fight does not last 2 full rounds. If Nate decides to take it to the ground, it could get very interesting. Although with all of the trash talking the 2 have been doing all week, I doubt this fight goes to the ground. I personally am rooting for Diaz but am going with Conor McGregor in 2 by TKO.
Also to me this is fight is a win-win situation for Conor McGregor. If he wins, he can loudly boast about being the greatest to ever participate in the sport and essentially call out whoever he wants and at whatever weight class he wants. And if he loses, he can just blame the fact that he gained too much weight and was too arrogant in the build up. Because he technically has 2 losses , <em> early in his career & Nate Diaz in the buildup has called him out on it </em> he doesn’t have to worry about his mystique being gone. As he’s not an undefeated fighter. He can go back down to 155 and try to call out Dos Anjos for UFC 200 in Jult if he wants.
In the Co Main event, Holly Holm, recent conqueror of Rhonda R ousey, takes on Miesha Tate for the UFC Women’s Featherweight Title . My take is that Holly uses her boxing and cruises to a 5 round decision. It won’t be the most exciting fight in the world but, you gotta do what you gotta do to win, and if anything, Holly wants to come out un injured as a big money rematch with Rousey hangs in the balance whenever Rousey feels its tine to return. Official pick, Holm by Unanimous Decision
At the weigh in yesterday, everybody came in on weight with McGregor coming in at 168, and Diaz at 169. There was a little bit of a skirmish between the 2 during the staredown with Nate getting in a middle finger, which did air on Sportscenter, and dropped a few cuss words during the interview with Joe Rogan though, Fox Sports 2 pretty much muted the entire last half.
UFC 196 airs tonight March 5 on PPV for $59.99, starting at 10:00 pm ET and maybe a little higher in HD or at your local sports bar. I highly recommend the sports bar option, as most don’t charge extra and most there are regular UFC fans who will be loud and boisterous during the 2 main events. I’ll hopefully be back tomrrow with a wrap up of the action.