UFC 202 is headlined by the fight that everyone wanted to see at UFC 200, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor v Nate Diaz. Whilst we had to wait a little longer than expected due to a dispute over media commitments, the UFC is getting the best of both worlds. Not only did they have the stacked UFC 200 to sell to their fans, they managed to keep their biggest draw card for a fight that is sure to swell the UFC’s coffers even more.
UFC 202 Previews
McGregor v Diaz
The first fight between these two came about after Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of his scheduled 155-pound title fight with McGregor at short notice with a broken foot. Nate Diaz stepped in to take the fight with ten days notice, at an agreed weight of 170 pounds. As history will show, McGregor was dominant in the first round, before gassing badly in the second round, enabling Nate Diaz to get the W.
For the second fight, McGregor has demanded the fight to once again be at 170 pounds so there are no excuses should he claim victory. This is a request that Diaz would only be all too happy to oblige, being the larger of the two this will definitely suit him more.
The contrasts between the first fight and the second fight have thrown up many storylines for us to consider:
• McGregor had prepared for a fight at 155 pounds with a fighter that has a very different style of fighting compared to Nate Diaz. Will a full fight camp preparing for Nate Diaz at the larger weight alter the outcome for the first fight?
• Diaz was partying on a boat in Mexico prior to taking on the first fight. How will Diaz perform given a full fight camp? One can only assume there will be an improved performance by Diaz also.
• McGregor has played a much smaller role in terms of media build up to the rematch, and there is no doubting that this is so he can focus on his training. Conversely, Nate Diaz seems to be doing plenty of media work. What, if any, impact will this have on the fight?
• One for the conspiracy theorists – McGregor loves money. Diaz loves money. Trilogies make money! Everyone loves a decider, and having a third fight makes great business sense for all involved (I must admit that this is more hope than anything. The Wolf would happily watch the build-ups and fights between these two every few months).
So where do we see this going? Whilst no doubting the commitment McGregor is showing to the cause, I can’t see any reason why we should expect a different result. Diaz is going to be more comfortable at the weight. He beat McGregor the first time around on little notice whilst on holidays, and a full fight camp can only help. McGregor hit Diaz with some big shots, but never really had Diaz in trouble, and Diaz loves to stand and trade blows, something McGregor has been openly saying he is willing to do again this time around. Let’s just hope that this one lives up to the hype! Take Diaz for the outright win and win by submission.
Best: Nate Diaz WIN ($2.00)
Value: Diaz by submission ($3.50)
Johnson v Teixeira
On any other card, this fight is BIG. The number 1 contender in the light heavyweight division against the number 2 contender would almost deserve top billing in itself, but with McGregor v Diaz headlining, this is a potential classic that is being overlooked. Two fighters that love the stand up, going toe to toe, with plenty to gain, and plenty to lose. Whilst Johnson is a fairly strong favourite, there is plenty of value in Teixeira at his current price. I am leaning towards Johnson, but there is definitely an upset alert on this one.
Bet: Anthony Johnson ($1.45) by Knockout
Cerrone v Story
Cowboy Cerrone faces Rick Story in his second fight after moving up a class to welterweight. A win would see Cerrone start making his way into title contention, but Story has been showing a bit of form of late, and The Wolf can smell an upset.
Bet: Rick Story ($2.40) by Decision
Lim v Perry
On paper this is a fight that is probably lucky to be on a Pay Per View event, but quite often these are the fights that turn into the most entertaining. Hyun Gyu Lim faces Mike Perry, who has taken the fight on two week’s notice. Lim is one of the better fighters in his division, and his conditioning alone should be enough for him to seal the win.
Bet: Hyun Gyu Lim ($1.30)
Means v Homasi
Another fight with another late change in opponent, this time with Sabah Homasi stepping in on two weeks notice to fight Tim Means. Means is coming off a 6 month drug suspension, whilst Homasi will be having his second fight in a month. It’s hard to see the upset here, and I’m taking the shorts on Means.
Bet: Tim Means ($1.22)
Other: Total Rounds Under 1.5 ($2.00)