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UFC 196: McGregor vs Diaz


Who wins and how?  

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"You've seen Conor on salads. Now watch what he's like on steak" - Coach Kavanagh





Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz

Holly Holm vs Miesha Tate - Bantamweight Title

Ilir Latifi vs Gian Villante

Tom Lawlor vs Corey Anderson

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko



Brandon Thatch vs Siyar Bahadurzada

Erick Silva vs Nordine Taleb

Vitor Miranda vs Marcelo Guimaraes

Darren Elkins vs Chas Skelly



Diego Sanchez vs Jim Miller

Justin Salas vs Jason Saggo

Julian Erosa vs Teruto Ishihara


Bit of a 50/50 card for me on paper. There's some killer stuff, some intriguing undercard fights then a load of filler that does nothing for me. The good definitely outweighs the indifferent though.







EDIT - So yeah, most of this post is redundant now. Nate Diaz hijacked this one thanks to Dos Anjos' broken foot.


I'm not rewriting this cunt but here's a McGregor vs Diaz promo anyway...










I don't know about anyone else but, for me, Dos Anjos vs McGregor has come around so fast that it hasn't quite sunk in yet that it's actually happening in a few weeks. This is one superfight that came together incredibly quickly and easily. Usually we get cockteased for ages with these superfights then the UFC doesn't put out. This time though, they've whipped the red panties straight off, threw them on the floor and they're giving it up. Saucy minxes.




How did we get here?


Well the Conor McGregor story has been well documented. He's dominated the MMA headlines pretty much since day one of him stepping foot in the octagon.


He's got to be the fastest rising star in MMA history, hasn't he? As McGregor himself once said - "Who's done what I've done, in the space that I've done it?". No-one, that's who. It's easy to forget because he's crammed so much into his short UFC career but in less than three years he's gone from the dole office to the Facebook prelims of a FUEL TV card in Sweden to UFC champion to biggest star in the UFC. Even crazier when you consider that of his three years in the UFC, he was inactive for a year in the middle of that with a knee injury.


He's smashed his way through the featherweight division in record time. Aside from Frankie Edgar, he's beat all the top guys and as good as cleared out the division.


What really put him over the top though was UFC 194. 'Twas the Night of Red Panty in December when he finally stood across the cage from longtime featherweight king Jose Aldo. A lot of people fancied McGregor to win, a lot thought Aldo would prove too much for McGregor, but most seemed to view it as a 50/50 thing. Whatever the case, everyone was looking forward to an epic war between the two most lethal featherweights on the planet.






A ten year unbeaten streak. A five year UFC championship reign. Gone in 13 seconds.


Nearly two months later, I still can't believe it. You shouldn't be knocking out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds. You just shouldn't, I don't care who you are. After that, what was left for McGregor to do at 145? How could he top that?


A week later the lightweight title was on the line on FOX. Rafael Dos Anjos had stunned the MMA world by battering and dominating Anthony Pettis to win the title at UFC 185 in March. His first defence came against a Donald Cerrone who was riding a long winning streak over a string of top lightweights. Cerrone was in by far his career-best form coming in.






OK, it's not 13 but destroying Donald Cerrone in just over a minute? Yeah, you're a monster.


Dos Anjos then called out McGregor in his post-fight interview. Adding his name to a list including Nate Diaz, Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo as potential next opponents for McGregor. Everyone was wanting in on the McGregor Sweepstakes.


I think he noticed the callouts...




Dos Anjos vs McGregor promo;




I can't wait for this shit. I don't have a fucking clue what happens. Part of me is thinking that McGregor moving up to a higher weight to fight an animal who is wrecking guys at that higher weight is maybe a step too far. But then, like John Kavanagh said...


"You've seen Conor on salads... now watch what he's like on steak."


"I believe this will be another one that won't see the end of the first round. If dos Anjos manages to survive the first exchange, he'll become a panicked grappler. Should that happen, I'm looking forward to people getting an opportunity to see just how comfortable Conor is in that regard." - Coach Kavanagh


The weight thing is a good point. It's not like McGregor has never fought at 155 before. He was the lightweight champion in Cage Warriors. Yeah, that's not even in the same universe as going up in weight to fight RDA but still. And like Kavanagh says, everything we've seen of McGregor in the UFC so far has been after the rough weight cuts to 145. He'll be coming in fresher this time having had an easier cut. Interesting.




This is a brilliant fight. Two absolute beasts in their prime, meeting at the perfect time, both champions coming off quick KOs. It's got all the ingredients of a special fight.




Holm vs Tate is the co-main event. The first UFC women's bantamweight title fight not featuring Ronda Rousey. This is a bit of a fascinating one to me. Because had this fight been booked before the events of last November, I wouldn't have hesitated for one second picking Miesha Tate to win. Holm had looked lacklustre in her first two UFC fights and Tate was coming off some good wins and is a tested vet. That one night made everyone rethink things.






Holly Holm came into the cage in Australia as a huge underdog. Basically, she was considered a sacrificial lamb. Someone for Rousey to get a showcase win against in front of a massive record crowd in a stadium.


Clearly, Holm didn't get the memo that she was being brought in to lose...




She twatted Ronda all over the cage. More impressively than that, she defended Rousey's attempts to grapple. She had answers for Ronda's attempts to clinch or judo throw her. And the one time Ronda was in a position to slap the old armbar on, Holm was prepared well enough to escape. THEN she kicked Rousey's face off.


I think Rousey's only just off the baby food after that. Her jaw was fucked. And she's only just started making appearances again. Holm really did a job on her.




Holm got an incredible reception upon returning to Albuquerque with the belt. This photo reminds me of that bit in Rocky III, all that's missing is a big statue of Holm. And Mr T.




Look at that turnout!


I've said it a few times since UFC 193 but I don't think I've ever done a 180 on a fighter so quickly as I did with Holly Holm. It wasn't even that I disliked her. She always seemed nice enough. And I was excited when the UFC signed her because I'd liked the fights I'd seen of hers in the smaller promotions. I was just really really unimpressed with her first two UFC outings. To the point I thought she'd bitten off more than she could chew.


The Rousey performance and knockout flipped that on its head though. Maybe she's just one of those fighters who raises their game when they're in with better opposition. If she fights like that again here, I can't see Miesha coping at all. She's never been a particularly strong striker and she often gets caught with strikes herself. Doesn't bode well against Holm.


Miesha's training hard though. I snapped this in the gym earlier...




Yes I did.


Seriously, I don't see this ending well for ol' Cupcake. Then again, I always count her out. I picked Jessica Eye to beat her, I picked Sara McMann to beat her. I just don't see a clear path for her to beat Holm. Other than just straight wrestling. If she can make that work then her chances go up significantly but Holm's clinch and takedown defence seems pretty solid and her distance management, footwork and counter striking leads me to think this is a bit of a nightmare matchup for someone like Tate who's a good all-rounder but not outstanding in any one area.




I think it'll be a good fight though. One thing about Tate is she's granite tough. She makes a habit of having exciting fights as well. Just don't like her chances of winning this one. Can't really lose though whatever the result of this one. If Holm wins we get Holm vs Rousey 2 which will be massive. If Tate wins we get Tate vs Rousey 3, this time with Rousey as the challenger.




Lawlor vs Anderson I'm interested in purely as a fan of 'Filthy' Tom Lawlor. He's been one of the more entertaining characters in the UFC for years now. Mostly for shit outside the cage. The wacky entrances, weighing in as the likes of Dan Severn, Steven Seagal and the fucking SHOCKMASTER! Shit like that. He's just a fun character to have around. He was actually going to weigh in as Conor McGregor for his last fight, in McGregor's Reebok outfit and stuff, but Reebok blocked it. Fuck off.


Don't expect much wackiness out of him here. I think he's given up on it now :( I hope he wins though. Corey Anderson bores me. And his 'Beastin' 25/8' nickname is dogshit.




Nunes vs Shevchenko is a fight that probably won't get much love going in but it's one of the more compelling fights on the card for me. UFC fans will be familiar with Amanda Nunes. She's badass. Battered Sara McMann, gave Cat Zingano hell in their fight. She's a finisher and an exciting, aggressive fighter.


It's Valentina Shevchenko who I'm intrigued by here though. She won her UFC debut, beating Sarah Kaufman on really short notice. I was impressed but didn't think much of it. She's got quite a background though. She's got really good kickboxing record (56-2) and she beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk in kickboxing. She's had a couple of pro boxing fights (she's 2-0), she's a Tae Kwon Do black-belt and she's 12-1 in MMA. I haven't watched her UFC debut since it happened, and truth be told, I wasn't paying close attention to the fight at the time, but from what I remember she showed a fairly strong ground game for a striker as well. Which against a veteran like Kaufman, on short notice, is very impressive.




Silva vs Taleb should be a wild fight. Both like a proper scrap. They've both had an up and down run of results of late but you can usually count on these guys to deliver a good fight. Hoping Erick Silva gets back in the win column in style here. He's almost become the Brazilian Roger Huerta for me now, in that he's seemingly got everything going for him but it just hasn't clicked for whatever reason.




Sanchez vs Miller is probably going to be a crazy fight. It's already been confirmed that this fight is going to be on Fight Pass. Can't even be arsed to complain now. I totally get why they're going this route with Fight Pass. Just think the PPV or FS1 bits would benefit more from having this fight than whatever tiny amount of new Fight Pass subs it attracts. Oh well, I'll definitely be tracking this one down. Can't go wrong with these two.




Brandon Thatch vs Siyar Bahadurzada is a fight between two guys who were once both pretty highly hyped. Both entered the UFC with high expectations and both got off to strong starts. Then both went off the boil and hit the L column hard. Both have had their injury issues as well. Lots of parallels with these two actually. Should be a good fight. They're both dangerous and aggressive, both powerful. I'm looking forward to this.


Oh and if all that's not enough...




Apparently BJ Penn is fighting on this card. So he says anyway. He's said he's going to fight at featherweight and go after the title. Jesus wept. The rumour is that Dennis Siver is going to be the opponent but the show is four weeks away now and the UFC have still yet to confirm anything on this. Penn still insists it's happening.


"As far as I understand, the opponent is already chosen and everybody's working for that goal on March 5th. As far as I understand, you know? I talked to Dana and we're gonna see how all this plays out."

For what it's worth, Penn is training with Greg Jackson now;




Don't think that makes any difference at all sadly. Anyone who saw his last fight against Frankie Edgar will agree he's shot to fuck now. But regardless, as much as I'd rather he stay retired, his name and return certainly adds a little bit of spice to the card. Not that this one really needs it but whatever.




McGregor at lightweight then.

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Fucking hell the next 5 or so cards are looking stacked. I am very interested to see what Conor looks like at the higher weight as well, if he's smashing Aldo a day after looking like he's on death's door, whearas I could see him rocking up to the weigh-ins munching a Subway. I feel sorry for the smashing Tate is going to get though.

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Incredible write-up as always wand.


I'm back to doubting Conor. I know I shouldn't after the last one, and it's the last thing I want to see personally, but I think Dos Anjos is going to give him the Anthony Pettis treatment and the fun is going to come to grinding halt. I pray it doesn't happen of course, but Jesus Christ. Conor couldn't have chosen a tougher fight to take. He's a maniac.


I think Tate might be a tougher fight for Holly than Ronda was. That's not say Tate is more skilled than Ronda, but I think she's definitely proven to have more heart. For me, Tate is sort of like the female version of Robbie Lawler. She doesn't believe in coasting in the final round and will claw and fight to the very last second. There's been a few fights where her third round performances have won her the fight. If Holly doesn't knock her out she's at the very least going to have to fight her tooth and nail until the end. I still think ill pick Holly though. Probably in the third or fourth.

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I'm back to doubting Conor. I know I shouldn't after the last one, and it's the last thing I want to see personally, but I think Dos Anjos is going to give him the Anthony Pettis treatment and the fun is going to come to grinding halt. I pray it doesn't happen of course, but Jesus Christ. Conor couldn't have chosen a tougher fight to take. He's a maniac.

Funnily enough, a friend asked me what I thought of McGregor vs RDA last night, and I pretty much said the same thing.


I need some of the faith that Herbie has!

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I'm done doubting McGregor. After what he did to Aldo, I'm done. While I won't be at all shocked if Dos Anjos beats him, I'm thinking McGregor wins in two or three rounds.


Which probably means Dos Anjos is going to murder him. Seriously, for someone who's spent probably an unhealthy chunk of my life watching fights, I am SHIT at predicting them.


Quick heads up - I'm going McGregor and Holm by KO. So you might want to bet on RDA and Tate.

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Which probably means Dos Anjos is going to murder him. Seriously, for someone who's spent probably an unhealthy chunk of my life watching fights, I am SHIT at predicting them.

To be fair, combat sport is a fucker to predict.


Check how the MMA landscape looked just 2 years ago. While injury prone, Pettis looked a cert to become the face of the sport. After his sterling effort against GSP, it looked like Hendricks was going to become a fixture as Welterweight Champion. While it's easy cite the wear and tear now, after butchering JDS for 5 rounds in their rubber match, Cain looked near unbeatable as Heavyweight Champion


Today, none of these 3 are close to the pinnacle of the sport. Furthermore, the 3 fighters who dethroned them are all veterans in their 30's, who were thought to be lifetime fringe contenders. 


That's why it's best to enjoy Conor's run on top while you still can. You never know when the ride will slow down. 

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Great read


I can't remember the last time a main event had me so 50/50....oh wait I can it was Aldo v McGregor! My gut tells me Dos Anjos because he has simply looked untouchable lately where McGregor was given more than enough by Mendes and for a long period of the second it actually looked like McGregor was going to lose. But I honestly wouldn't be shocked if McGregor went in there and got the KO, like he says "Have I been wrong yet?". Like you mentioned this is 2 fighters in their prime, its fascinating as it gets


I have always fancied Tate to beat Holm, I have always felt Tate has the right tools to overcome her, I felt this before Rousey/Holm and I still feel it now. If Tate can survive any early onslaught I fancy her to pick up the shock TKO late on, Tate can take a punch and kick and she can grapple (remember she went 3 rounds with Ronda), Holm is a good fighter but lets not forget she has only had 1 outstanding performance in her UFC run, her other two fights were all business. Not to dig up a can of worms but I still believe Ronda was just having a 'bad day at the office' and Holm was having the fight of her life which resulted in what happened. Surely the big question is will UFC have Ronda at ringside?

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For me the reason I am picking Conor is because he just fucking oozes confidence. He goes in knowing he's going to win and never really seems to get flustered and it was in the Mendes fight where his opponent was changed at short notice with a completely different style and he still overcame. Even when he gets smacked about he doesn't appear to get flustered. That kind of mental toughness can really upset an opponent where you've given them a great shot and they don't back down or cower away from you.


My reasons for picking Holm is because she is obviously a very good striker, then you combine that with the fact she trains at Jackson Winkeljohn. In my mind the best MMA gym in the world. As much as Greg Jackson's a toss pot he is still a very good tactician, combining that with a great striking coach in Winkeljohn and anyone who has the physicality and intelligence to follow instructions is going to be dangerous. I just think the Rousey fight was the best type of fight for Holm to show off her skills, because Rousey isn't anywhere near the best female striker. So all Holm had to do was defend against her judo, which is easy if you make sure you're not in grappling range. The answer to beating Rousing was always staying on the outside and picking your shots, but most of her opponents would get flustered as soon as Rousey was in range.

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I've been on somewhat of a hot streak with my predictions since the Holly Holm win bizarrely, to the point where I've been picking and getting entire main cards correct. I wish I had been putting some cash down on it but I know as soon as I do it, it will go tits up.


I've been using my gut rather my head and my head is telling me an RDA demolition, but my gut is telling me a Mcgregor KO within 2 rounds. 


I think what seperates Mcgregor to RDA's previous opponents is his accuracy and power. Neither Bendo, Pettis, and Cerrone has the combination of KO power and accuracy that Mcgregor possesses. They may have one or other, but certainly not both.


Mcgregor's chin seems rock solid too, and he may eat some big shots, but he has the reach advantage and speed advantage over RDA.


However, RDA still fucking terrifies me and for Mcgregor to step up like this without a test at lightweight shows some major balls. 


Holm and Tate is a good fight, but Holm should beat Tate if the same Holm turns up that faced Rousey. Where Tate may get her chances is her ability to take punishment and wear on her opponent. Holm can keep her at range, but if she doesn't find that KO, Tate may give her a few problems just by pure tenacity. That said, I see a Holm win here, and if she's prepared, a comfortable win too. 


The rest of the card is a bit shit to be honest, and could do with a decent fight to go under Holm/Tate. It's a shame this Mcgregor/RDA fight hasn't had the time to truly build up some heat as it could have topped Aldo/Mcgregor if it had time. It may still, but it's going to be a tough to do. 

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Incredible write up as always pal.


I'm fucking pumped for this card man, there is so much drama & tention going into this one this is what makes the ufc so so incredible.


Mcgregor 1st round tko - Taking yet another belt home and going to find another belt to make his straight after.


Tate 2nd round ko- I like Misha she came across well on TUF and seems down to earth. In the octigon she can really switch gears from the prim and propper princess to a beast. I hope she can prove herself with this one as i don't see her getting many more belt chances


Rest of the card looks tasty but that co-main is just silly good.

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