Conor vs Nate 2. This could be the highest PPV card of all time. This pair of fighters sold 1.5 million PPV buys at UFC 196, and that was just on 11 days notice. This rematch has been built up for what seems like an eternity. Diaz was a massive underdog in the first fight and we saw what happened there with Diaz outlasting McGregor and eventually finishing the gassed out Irishman in the second round. The fact that the underdog won the fight has made this rematch that much more intriguing. The betting line is now pretty much a pick’em between these two fighters and everyone seems to have an opinion about which team will get the W.
There are some other solid fights on this card and I’ll break down each of the fights with a big name involved.
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Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz
Let’s kick it off with my McGregor vs Diaz breakdown. I was one of the majority of people who expected McGregor wipe the floor with Diaz in their first fight. You could argue that’s exactly what happened for the first 7 or so minutes of that fight, but what we did not account for was Diaz’s chin.
Nate has never been KO’d in his huge UFC career. He’s been TKO’d once, but the majority of the time when he’s getting lit up he simply takes the damage and loses an eventual decision. This brings up the question, will Conor have the endurance and patience to fight Diaz for a full 5 rounds.
Conor has had plenty of time to build up his endurance for this fight and also change his game plan to not exert himself so much going for the kill shot early.
I do think Conor is by far the superior stand up fighter, but the question is whether he can stick it out with Diaz for 5 rounds. I think Conor knows he has so much to lose in this fight that he will be willing to fight it out over 25 minutes and take a decision. Conor has to be willing to allow that to happen for him to win. If he goes for the kill and gasses again the same result as last time could be in the cards. That said, I think Conor is smart enough and disciplined enough to be willing to fight a 5 rounder this time around.
I’m taking McGregor, and if you really like my pick, I’m also going to toss some down on McGregor via decision.
Play: McGregor -130 @ Bovada.lv
Anthony Johnson vs Glover Teixeira
This is fight between two somewhat similar light heavyweights. They both have a ton of power in their hands and finish a lot of fights via KO. The difference is that Johnson is faster, more powerful and the better wrestler. He’s simply better at every aspect except jiu jitsu and I don’t see Glover getting this fight to the ground to take advantage of that discipline anyways.
Glover has pulled off 3 wins in a row, but he’s not looked great for the past couple years. Even in his win over Ryan Bader he looked like the slower fighter and he’s been rocked in a couple of his recent wins before recovering and getting the eventual finish. Against Johnson that’s not gonna fly. If Johnson touches Glover with a clean shot there will be no recovering. It will be lights out.
Glover’s most likely path to victory may be lasting until the third round and hoping that Johnson gasses, but I will be very surprised if he is able to get out of round 1 with Johnson.
Play: Anthony Johnson -200 @ Bovada.lv
Rick Story vs Donald Cerrone
Cowboy has looked very good since jumping up to 170 pounds after his second loss to Rafael dos Anjos in the Lightweight Division. He’s destroyed Alex Oliveira and then put on a clinic against Patrick Cote in his two 170 pound fights and now it seems like Cowboy may be able to make another title push at a new weight class.
I feel like Cowboy gets overlooked sometimes as one of the very elite fighters in the UFC. The guy is 11-2 in his last 13 UFC fights, with his only losses in that span coming to Rafael dos Anjos. In that span he’s beaten the who’s who of the Lightweight division including current champ Eddie Alvarez, ex-champ Benson Henderson, top contender Edson Barboza, and every other prospect that the UFC threw at him. Go back even further and the guy is 18-4 in his UFC career and the other two losses were against ex-champ Anthony Pettis and one of the biggest names in the sport in Nate Diaz (way back in 2011, I think Cerrone would win that fight now). Basically the case I’m trying to make is only the very best fighters in the world can beat Cowboy.
Story is a tough and durable fighter, but he will be severely outclassed in this fight. He might be able to tough out the fight against Cowboy, but I think he will be another name added to the list of guys who have not been able to beat Cerrone in the UFC.
Play: Donald Cerrone -165 @ Bovada.lv
Neil Magny vs Lorenz Larkin
I’ve come to believe that Neil Magny is a winner over the course of his past several fights. Magny is now on a 3 fight win streak and is actually 10-1 over his last 11 with the only loss coming to Demian Maia, who has been tearing up the division for the past several years. Magny pulled out tight decisions over Erick Silva and Kelvin Gastelum recently, but the highlight had to be his come from behind win over Hector Lombard, where he finished the Cuban in the third round.
Larkin is a solid fighter, but Magny is extremely active, so I do not expect him to lose a decision. He’s also very durable, having taken some huge shots lately and come back to win those fights. Larkin is going to have to finish Magny to win this one and I simply don’t see that happening.
Play: Magny -140 @ Bovada.lv
Cody Garbrandt vs Takeya Mizugaki
I like Garbrandt in this one, but I think his hype train might be moving too quickly right now. I do favour him to beat Mizugaki, but the odds are too short for me to place a bet. My prediction is Garbrandt, but I’m passing on this one in terms of placing a wager.
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