Hey fight fans, we’ve got a big one here. UFC 196 might have lost the champion versus champion match when Rafael Dos Anjos got hurt, but Nate Diaz taking on Conor McGregor is getting a ton of hype behind it. The fights kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fight Pass, so let’s dive into the predictions.
2016 Important Results:
Jessica: 42-32-2 (57 percent)
Burnsy: 35-27-1 (56 percent)
Ryan: 5-1 (83 percent)
Jason: 7-5 (58 percent)
Jackman: 7-5 (58 percent)
Enrique: 7-5 (58 percent)
Jamie: 3-3 (50 percent)
Justin: 11-1 (92 percent)
Marty: 4-5 (44 percent)
Jared: 6-6 (50 percent)
Parker: 3-4 (43 percent)
Dr. Vet: 19-4-2 (80 percent)
Note from Dr. Vet: For Cowboy vs. Cowboy two weeks ago, my four office cats went 10-1. Teeeeeeeeeeeen and ooooooone. I fear that they will soon form a collective and become something akin to the Borg.
“Resistance is mew-tile.” – @sooziecuzie
This week, I’m going to do something similar, but inter-office bragging rights (and snacks) will be on the line. This week it’s Abby, the Abyssinian Assassin vs. Frodo “Woofin’ 25/8” . Cat vs. Dog.
If you need a reminder of how I did this a few weeks ago – I printed out the pictures from the official card page on UFC.com. Then, I put a small amount (roughly a quarter of a teaspoon for Abby, tablespoon for Frodo) of wet food above the head of each fighter, being sure to not cover any part of the body of the fighter in question. Last time, I put the picture on an elevated examination table. This time, I just put the picture on the floor and had them pick 6 fights each.
Featherweight – Julian “Juicy J” Erosa vs. Teruto “Yashabo” Ishihara
Jessica: Half of Erosa’s fights have been against Ryan Mulvihill and Drew Brokenshire. Ishihara’s losses have come against guys I’ve heard of, like Michinori Tanaka and Ulka Sasaki. Both dudes have reality show experience, with Julian racking up split decision wins before getting knocked out by Artem Lobov on TUF 22, while Ishihara went a more JMMA route, getting majority decisions and then drawing with Mizuto Hirota on the finals of the Road to UFC event. I’m going with Ishihara to take this by decision, mostly because Erosa doesn’t deserve the “Juicy J” nickname.
Burnsy: I don’t like being one of those bros who’s like, “Bro, that’s not very manly of you, bro.” But Juicy J? Yeesh, bro. Yashabo wins just because.
Jared: Isn’t Erosa they guy who got KO’d by Artem “Low Hands” Lobov on TUF?
(*goes a quick Google search*)
Yep, that’s him. Clearly, Erosa’s 14-2 record is deceiving some of the bookies out there, so I’ll start things off by going against the grain and taking Ishihara to win.
Marty: All I can think of is that I vaguely remember Ishihara fighting to a draw in that competition final at the end of September, and everyone wondering why there wasn’t a sudden death fourth round. His first fight outside of Japan isn’t going to go so well, against a guy with six inches on him in height and reach. W: Erosa
Jamie: Um. Whodafugg? Ishihara is the ship from Dead Space, right? Yeah. Cool. Ishihara by tentacle-sodomy.
Dr. Vet: Picker: Abby
Lightweight – Justin “J-Bomb” Salas vs. Jason Saggo
Jessica: Salas is a win one, lose one fighter in the UFC, and he’s due for a win here. Who am I to stand in the way of fate? I’m apparently some kind of dumb jerk, because I have Saggo winning by third round TKO here.
Burnsy: I’ll take J-Bomb to win this one because he used my patented “Can’t think of a nickname? Just use your first letter and -bomb, and voila!” nicknamification system.
Jared: Jesus, neither of these guys have fought in over 2 years. We should all get a win added to our records just for making a prediction in this fight.
Marty: What, I’m supposed to remember what two guys that haven’t fought in over a year can do? Come on, I’ve got the memory of a goldfish over here. Screw it – W: Saggo
Jamie: I am reasonably sure I have heard these names before, perhaps even in the context of fisticuffs. However, I’m just failing to recall anything worthwhile about either of these dudes. I’ll take Saggo by coin flip.
Dr. Vet: Picker: Frodo
Lightweight – Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez vs. Jim Miller
Jessica: Time for me to enter the Cry Zone. While it’s true that TUF1 did get me (back) into MMA, it wasn’t Griffin versus Bonnar, it was Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez running through chumps on the weekly show. I remember catching episodes after Monday Night Raw (Remember when that was just two hours long?) and seeing this weird kid who tried to channel lighting into his body during storms who just took fools down, beat them up and then sunk in a rear naked choke. Diego got me hooked, and I was a fan of his from then on. Which is why this fight is gonna make me super sad. There’s no way that Diego’s got It any more. He hasn’t had It for a few years, if we’re being honest, not at featherweight on up to welterweight. Diego’s last non-controversial win was probably back in 2011. Yeeesh. Miller’s not as good as he used to be a few years back, when a win over him meant a title shot was right around the corner. He’s still plenty good enough to spill Diego’s blood. Miller wins a decision because it is scientifically proven that Diego Sanchez is too dumb to knock out.
Burnsy: An epic battle of two guys who have lost three of their last four. The UFC seriously needs to stop putting fights like this on any PPV card, even if it’s going down in the free fights portion of the event. Nothing about this fight will make people tuning in for the first time say, “Gee, if all fights are like this, count me in!” Whatever, Sanchez will win by UD in the most boring fight of the night.
Jared: In order to find the last truly legitimate win of Diego Sanchez’s career, you have to go all the way back to 2010, where he picked up a unanimous decision over Paulo Thiago at UFC 121. The rest has just been highly-depressing, one-sided beatdowns and gifted decisions, and even with that, Sanchez is still only 2-4 in his past 6. While I’m sure the UFC will continue giving Sanchez fights due to the “golden boy clause” that can be found in the contracts of every TUF 1 contestant, the man is running on little more than crazy these days. I like Miller to drop him early and possibly submit him.
Marty: The return of the Fight Pass Feature, and this one’s not bad at all. Granted, they’re both 1-for-4 of late, but they put on entertaining fights, and they’re about as hard-headed as you’ll find. FotN contender right here (but won’t be.) I think the originator of the YES! gets to do it again by decision. W: Sanchez
Jamie: I’m really not sure why, in 2016, Diego Sanchez is still in the UFC. But here’s the end of the road. Not even a damaged, shopworn, maybe broken-down Jim Miller could lose to Diego Sanchez. This will be brutal. This will be violent. This will be uncomfortable to watch. Women will sob. Men will hang their heads in shame. Diego Sanchez will not even look human at the end of this. Dana White will not be able to justify Diego’s continued MMA career. I’ve got Sanchez by split decision.
Dr. Vet: Picker: Abby
Featherweight – Darren “The Damage” Elkins vs. Chas “The Scrapper” Skelly
Jessica: Two slender wrestle boys, gettin all shirtless and grabbing on each other. Are we sure this isn’t taking place in some creepy guy’s apartment? Elkins has faced a better crop of competition, so of course he’s got more losses in the UFC. I think Elkins has better wrestling, but I could see Skelly getting a submission during a scramble. This is a tough call for me, but I’m going with Elkins to eke out a decision here.
Burnsy: All right, Skelly time! Dude has won four in a row since losing in his UFC debut, and that includes a win over my guy Jim Alers, so I have to show the Scrapper some respect. Also, Scrapper? That’s the most St. Louis Cardinals fighter nickname of all-time. Only “True Grit” or “The Right Way” could top it. Elkins is win one/lose one, too, and he’s due for a loss, so all signs point to Skelly.
Jared: Darren Elkins may be the most athletically unimpressive fighter in the entire UFC (well, next to CM Punk-OH SNAP!!), but I’ll be damned if the guy doesn’t know how to grind his way to a victory most of the time. I don’t know a whole lot about Skelly, but he hasn’t faced the level of competition that Elkins has and I see him falling victim to that goofy f*cker’s grappling attack en route to a decision loss.
Marty: This one will be a good test for Skelly, riding a four-fight win streak, against #11, who’s coming up on the 6-year anniversary of his UFC debut. However, if Elkins’ recent outcomes follow its pattern, he’s ending up on the wrong side here. I’ll go with it. W: Skelly
Jamie: Elkins is the new Fitch. God hates fun. Elkins by Godawful UD.
Dr. Vet: Picker: Frodo
Middleweight – Vitor “Lex Luthor” Miranda vs. Marcelo “Magrao” Guimaraes
Jessica: Guimaraes dosen’t seem to fight a whole bunch. He’s only had three fights in the UFC and he joined back in 2012. Miranda is a dangerous puncher and only one of his wins went to the judges. Miranda is going to blast the heck out of Marcelo’s face meats and get a second round KO.
Burnsy: I wish Miranda was a few years younger, because this dude has me sort of hyped from his last two fights, as he won ’em both by TKO. But at 36 he has me concerned about his ability to hang with the younger, up-and-comers. Good thing Magrao really doesn’t qualify there, because he’s 32. I like the way Lex Luthor pummels dudes, so let’s hope he scores the TKO turkey here.
Jared: Guimaraes’ only wins in the UFC have come via split decision. One of those was over Dan Stittgen, aka the guy who got torched by “Wonderboy” Thompson. The other was over Andy Enz, who is Andy Enz. Miranda takes this one with ease.
Marty: Why do I take a shine to a Brazilian when they’re predominantly a striker? JDS on the brain? Vitor Miranda seems much more comfortable now that he’s fighting at 185 where he belongs, instead of 40 pounds higher. I’m hoping for an exciting (T)KO here. Also, maybe Joe Rogan will have figured out how to say “Guimaraes” by this point. W: Miranda
Side note: I wonder if my pick has three friends named…I can’t finish this joke.
Jamie: I’m a comic nerd. I can’t pick against Lex Luthor. Miranda by Kryptonite laser.
Dr. Vet: Picker: Abby
Welterweight – Erick “El Indio” Silva vs. Nordine Taleb
Jessica: Is Taleb a wrestley-grapple man? I don’t think this is rhetorical, I honestly don’t know his general fighting style, but if he is, there’s a good chance he can stifle Silva’s offense and grind out a win. Oh, wait, he lost on two different seasons of The Ultimate Fighter, so he must be mocked. Silva’s going to beat the brakes off Taleb. Erick takes this with a first round KO.
Burnsy: I’m a little more interested in this fight than my colleague, J-Bomb, and I think this one is a sleeper for Fight of the Night. Silva loss by split to Neil Magny his last time out, so he gets serious respect for that, but what I like about him is that when he wins, he finishes. Taleb is a decision guy, though, which makes me think that Silva’s going to get him at some point, but he’s going to have to work to get that win.
Jared: Against anyone but the division’s elite, Erick Silva is nothing short of an eater of worlds. Seriously, the guy turned Takenori Soto’s head into a hacky sack, twisted Jason High into a pretzel, and ran roughshod over Josh Koscheck without breaking a sweat. Nordine Taleb is nowhere near being a member of the division’s elite, so by the logic I’ve just laid before you, I see Silva styling on Taleb and finishing this early.
Marty: This one didn’t exactly jump off the page at me, which is probably why it’s in the middle of the mid-card. Nordine Taleb is perfectly cromulent, I guess; at least Erick Silva’s fights are usually exciting one way or the other. What the hell, I’ll take exciting over cromulent. W: Silva
Jamie: I can’t stand picking Erick Silva fights, because EVERY MOTHERF*CKING TIME it seems like an easy straightforward pick where Silva is gonna unleash some comically fast violence on a poor soul, he shows up looking like he just spent a week sleeping in a room made entirely of HR Giger paintings. Having said this, I’m convincing myself that there’s no way that even living dead Silva is going to lose to Nordine friggin’ Taleb, while at the same time I’m probably gonna scream when he inevitably chokes. Silva by explosive crazy violence, round 1.
Dr. Vet: Picker: Frodo
Welterweight – Brandon “Rukus” Thatch vs. Siyar “The Great” Bahadurzada
Jessica: Holy sh*t, Siyar still exists? I feel like I haven’t seen him since 2012. After checking Fight Finder, I guess that’s because 2012 is the only time he won in the UFC, before dropping a pair of fights in 2013. Yeah, I’m taking RUKUS to do some handsome violence to Siyar’s face, head, chest and torso region. Thatch ends this with a first round KO.
Burnsy: Despite both guys coming off two consecutive losses, I won’t call this a pink slip fight. Both guys are quality fighters, so the loser will live to see another day. That will be Siyar, because Thatch’s last two losses have been to Benson Henderson and my man Gunni Goddamned Nelson, and his win before that? KNEE TO THE BODY KO. Thatch is a bad boy and he’s gonna lock up Performance of the Night in this one.
Jared: In a matchup between two promising prospects who have failed to deliver on the big stage for the most part, I gotta take the guy who has at least fought in the past 3 years. Thatch.
Marty: The FS1 feature is between a couple of guys that beat Paulo Thiago then dropped a pair, but Siyar the Great took 2 years off after his last loss. Man, 2 years. I wonder what he did…climb mountains? Attain inner peace? Reboot, heal up, and do stuff that would help after a fight career? Whatever he did, it’s gonna work, because he’s gonna show Thatch the pink slip door with his ground work. W: Bahadurzada
Jamie: BREAKING NEWS: SIYAR BAHADURZADA NOT ACTUALLY DEAD. Thatch, Round 1 sub.
Dr. Vet: Picker: Abby
Bantamweight – Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes vs. Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko
Jessica: Shevchenko looked very impressive in her short-notice UFC debut against Sarah Kaufman. She’s got good kickboxing, and her only loss was back in 2010 to Liz Carmouche. Nunes, however, is super scary. She’s like the female version of Vitor Belfort, in that her wins all come in the first round, and if an opponent can survive that initial onslaught, she doesn’t have much left to throw at you. I think Shevchenko will be able to avoid getting ker-blapped by Nunes in the first, and then she’ll just pick Amanda apart for the next two rounds. Shevchenko wins by third round TKO.
Burnsy: NOO-NEZ! NOO-NEZ! NOO-NEZ! My girl finishes her damn fights. She will finish this one and she will be in the title conversation.
Jared: Shevchenko is legit talent, but Nunes has the size, strength, and momentum as far as UFC wins go, so I’ll take her for the win.
Marty: I wanted to say I was really looking forward to this fight; maybe I will be by the intros. It’s not that I’m underwhelmed by Shevchenko, since she beat Sarah Kaufman in her short-notice UFC debut (by split dec.,) but the Lioness has destroyed everyone in the octagon save Alpha Cat. I don’t know about another “destruction,” but she’s getting the next non-Rowdy title shot. W: Nunes
Jamie: Nunes is, in my opinion, the hardest hitting woman in the UFC. However, she’s got the cardio of a heavyweight halfway up Everest. If she doesn’t finish this early, expect this to get ugly. Nunes by KO, round 1.
Justin: Both of these ladies are tough as fuck. Bullet Valentina is a Muay Thai killer that even has victories over our beloved Joanna. She’s been thrown to the wolves quick and got that decision of Kaufman but I believe Amanda Nunes is an even bigger step-up in competition. The longer this fight goes, the worse it looks for Nunes. I’d say she’s strong enough to earn a victory within the first 2 rounds but Shevchenko has been through the wars and it’s nothing new. Schevchenko by unanimous decision.
Dr. Vet: Picker: Frodo
Light Heavyweight – “Filthy” Tom Lawlor vs. Corey “Beastin 25/8” Anderson
Jessica: Oh dang. Oh dang oh dang ohdang. I like Tom, but I just don’t know if anyone on the planet is capable of dealing with a man that has broken the laws of physics and spacetime and can Beast 25 Hours per Day, 8 Days per Week (I assume that with his increased Beastin abilities, Corey can Beast a full 13 months a year, which is impressive, since that lousy Smarch weather usually puts most people off their Beastin) Buuut, I don’t think overclocked Beastin is prepared to deal with someone as dirty as Filthy Tom. This is going to be a tough scrap, but I think Lawlor gets this with a third round TKO.
Burnsy: I don’t really know what to base this one on. Lawlor TKO’d Gian Villante while Villante was the most embarrassing night of Anderson’s young career. I have vowed to not take Anderson for granted anymore, though, especially because of his silly nickname, and despite my gut telling me to take Lawlor I’m gonna roll with Beastin’ here.
Jared: Given their respective performances against Gian Villante, MMA math would dictate that the “Filthy” one should win this by TKO. But as we know, anyone who even brings up MMA math as a way of analyzing fights is a dense dullard with a probable drinking problem and serious mommy issues, so I’ll take Anderson.
Marty: All I can think to say about this is: I want pro graps fans to win in UFC, so Ariel Helwani talking about the slow heel turn works fine for me. Oh, and being back at 205 will probably do just fine for him. W: Lawlor
Jamie: The Notorious Tom McLawlor is a national treasure, and if you don’t love him you’re a terrible person. Tom Lawlor by super-boring UD.
Justin: I love Tom Lawlor but how often is he Beastin’? I don’t think it’s 25/8. I’m pretty sure it’s not even 24/7. In fact, Lawlor has been pretty wishy-washy in his last fights. Of course, the “crafty veteran” (goddamn we love saying that all the time) could definitely pull off the win. He KOed the guy that KOed Anderson after all, but I just think they’ll be too much Beastin’ going on. I’m saying we get the UD for Anderson or a surprise late round KO.
Dr. Vet: Picker: Abby
Light Heavyweight – Gian Villante vs. Ilir “The Sledgehammer” Latifi
Jessica: If this was the rap world, I’d call this the Weed Carriers Invitational. We’ve got two lackeys here, Gian for Chris Weidman and Ilir for Alex Gustafsson, and I don’t really care who wins, I just want to see the two Big Dawgs duke it out next. That being said, I’m taking Latifi, because that dude can friggin PAWNCH. Latifi wins by first round megaton KO and then engages in some romantic horse riding on the beach.
Burnsy: This could be a really good one, which would make it a really quick one, or it could be a lazy dud. I’m going with a quick one, as Latifi will turn Villante’s lights off in the first round.
Jared: Despite being a decent puncher in his own right, Villante is just way too hittable, (especially as the fight progresses) and Latifi throws bricks. I’ll take “The Sledgehammer” by TKO.
Marty: On a relatively quick turnaround of seven weeks, Latifi’s going to use his overhand right and stone head to take out Villante. At the very least, he’ll put up more of a fight than a 40-something Aussie. W: Latifi
Jamie: Jesus, this fight. Somehow, this is happening. It is the most brutal indictment of the 205-pound weight class that I can think of to say that Gian Villante is somehow on a UFC pay-per-view main card. Latifi’s not that good (I’m bracing for the wave of comments about UNBEATABLE UFC CHAMPION ILIR THA KILIR, GAWD OF THE LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS) but he’s more than talented enough to wreck Villante’s face. Latifi by KO, round 2.
Justin: Illir Latifi posted a picture riding shirtless on horseback like Putin. (can we post that here?) (Editor’s Note: Yeah boyee) Therefore, I must not pick against him. Besides, Lawlor KOed Villante. Latifi by mascule, MMA Math KO in Round 2
Dr. Vet: Picker: Frodo
Bantamweight Title – Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm vs. Miesha “Cupcake” Tate
Jessica: I’m not trying to launch myself at supersonic speeds at the Holly Holm bandwagon, but she’s got this. I’m starting to believe more and more that her early UFC fights were in first or second gear, and then she kicked it into fourth against Ronda. Miesha’s smart and won’t just bullrush in, so I don’t think Holly will do as much damage as quickly, but I still see Holm winning this. It’s going to take a lot of circling and stuffed take downs, but much like Tate’s second ever fight against Kaitlin Young, Holm wins with a headkick knockout. Let’s say in the third round.
Burnsy: I’m still tired of Tate as a championship contender. She hasn’t done a single thing that has made me say, “Damn, that fighter deserves another shot.” She’s won four in a row, sure, but do you remember a single moment from those fights? No, because they were all unspectacular decisions. She went two-and-change with Ronda Rousey, but she still lost. And yet all this time she sits there like the Diaz sister, yapping her mouth about why she should be getting a title shot. I respect that, because top level charisma is in short supply in the UFC right now, but she’s not a serious contender. You know who Miesha Tate is? She’s Chael Sonnen. She’ll always be in the conversation because she knows how to get into the conversation. So, that all said, can she do what Holly Holm did and learn the weaknesses that she’ll need to exploit to do the unthinkable and ruin the Holm-Rousey rematch like she claims she’ll do? I doubt it, because again, she’s never proven that she’s an elite level fighter. So I’m taking Holm because I think she’s obviously the better fighter, but I’m also picking Holm because it would be a shame for Tate to win the belt and then lose it to Rousey in three months. We deserve Holm-Rousey 2 and not Rousey-Tate 3.
Jared: I’m not entirely sure what skills Miesha Tate possess that makes her a nightmare for Holm, as some have suggested, but the woman does find a way to win against anyone not named Ronda Rousey. Unfortunately, Tate was also flash-KO’d by Sara McMann, who has approximately 1/10th of the striking prowess of Holm, which says more to me about this fight than anything. Holm is gonna touch Tate early and often and set up that Rousey rematch that may or may not ever actually happen.
Marty: I want this to be a good fight. I really, really do. I mean, it’ll be entertaining for sure, but I want it to be competitive. I just don’t know how competitive it’ll be. No, you know what, I shouldn’t say that. Tate is definitely a better striker than a misguided Ronda Rousey, but she’s certainly not as good of a grappler. The best plan to knock off a striker is to take them to the mat, but if a champion judoka couldn’t do much with Holly down there, what hope does Miesha have? She loses the reach comparison, so I would think the champ would be able to pick her apart rather efficiently. This might go longer than six minutes for Holm, but she’s still getting the finish and retention. W: Holm
Oh, and read Jessica’s Keys to Victory. The last line in that paragraph killed me. Dead. (Editor’s Note: THE ANTIDOTE SHALL BE DELIVERED TO YOU POST HASTE, THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION)
Jamie: Holly Holm’s striking is hideously overrated, which is to say that it’s still miles ahead of the rest of the division. Miesha is going to surprise some people and turn this into an honest-to-God fight, but she’s just not good enough to keep up with Holly for the full five rounds, and when she screws up, Holly will capitalize on it. Holm by round 4 KO
Justin: Holly Holm, the best women’s fighter in Earthrealm, has what it takes to cement herself in this fight. …Until she wins and then everyone clamors for a rematch with Ronda Rousey even though I find it completely unnecessary. Miesha Tate is no joke and will not bull rush Holm running straight into her strikes. However, I feel like Holm’s movement will stifle Tate and Holm will be able to get off her strikes and make it a long night for Tate. Holm could also find a home to land a sick headkick to put Tate (look up Tate taking headkicks) away if Tate loses composure. Holm by unanimous decision.
Dr. Vet: Picker: Abby
Welterweight – “The Notorious” Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz
Jessica: Are you kidding me? This is the fight that gets made to save the show? Nate’s 2-3 in his last five, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one expecting him to look like utter dogsh*t against Johnson in December based of his performance against RDA in 2014. Now he’s coming in off basically no camp and it’s gotta be at welterweight because I doubt that Diaz is in any kind of fight-ready shape. Conor might be stymied a bit by Nate’s longer reach and high volume, but he also won’t stand flat-footed and let Diaz just tee off on him. Diaz is a tough guy to stop, but Conor hits really friggin hard, and I think he’ll accumulate a ton of damage. I’m not really happy about any of this, but I’ll say Conor takes a third round TKO.
Burnsy: Nate looked like the most diabolically cranial fighter in the world in his victory over Michael Johnson. That was just one of the best under-his-skin fights I’ve ever watched, because Johnson had nothing for him, and it was hard to watch him sinking in quicksand. Nate’s last win before that was a first round TKO of Gray Maynard, who, let’s face it, is a Glass Joe at this point in his career. Other than that, Diaz hasn’t done much to deserve our faith. And yet… I’m picking Diaz. I love Conor McGregor, and I don’t get why UFC fans don’t like him when he is everything the company and sport have needed for years — a brash, ballsy, arrogant, flamboyant, sh*t-talking superstar who does not lose — and wants to win every belt in his prime. But I’m getting that feeling that I got before Rousey lost, when I wanted to pick Holm but stuck with Rousey because she doesn’t lose. I want McGregor to win and expect him to, but I am a pessimist and fear the end of all good things. So, prove me wrong, Notorious One, but I think Diaz wins this one and keeps stirring the pot.
Jared: OK, can we all just agree that the youngest Diaz is being “hugely” undervalued in this fight? Short notice or not, Diaz has the reach, the size, and most importantly, the submission skills to tap damn near anyone. The question is whether he will actually attempt to get the fight to the ground or whether his pride force him into a standup battle with McGregor. According to literally everything we know about the Diaz’s, the answer to that is a firm “f*ck yes” for the latter. At this point, McGregor is a force of pure will, and I don’t see Nate being the man that stops him.
Marty: The featherweight (145) champ against the fifth-ranked lightweight (155) in a short-notice welterweight (170) fight, but Conor knows how to promote and Nate knows how to cuss and flip birds. I’m trying to look at this logically, but something’s trying to get me to throw that out the window.
Nate’s fighting at 170, which he can hit more easily, and he just picked apart Michael Johnson in December, but this is on short notice, and despite having a weight advantage, his opponent didn’t have to cut at all. Hard head, great striking, and a ground game to go with it. Cocky, mouthy, and will slap you in the face if you let him (and even if you don’t.)
Conor fighting at welterweight − weighing in at 168, even − is the healthiest you’ll even see him in the cage; that’s what happens when you don’t have to cut anything at all. For once, he has to fight someone noticeably bigger than him, but that doesn’t have to mean anything. As he said after beating Jose Aldo, “precision beats power, and timing beats speed.” I don’t think Conor’s psych-out tactics will work very well on Diaz or vice versa, but if Diaz isn’t sharp, Conor’s quote will be accurate again.
I think the key here, as was the case against Chad Mendes, is whether McGregor can keep this fight standing. Against Mendes, he had a bit of trouble on the mat, but no camp gassed Mendes quickly. Diaz didn’t have a camp either, but having the weight advantage should help him keep McGregor down. On the other hand, Conor is at full power with no weight cut, so there’s probably no chance he gets tired late, should it get there. You know, provided he isn’t getting pummeled the whole time.
Gee whiz, which way to go? W: McGregor
Jamie: This is actually a fantastic bit of last-minute matchmaking. Let’s get the obvious out of the way here. Yes, Conor and his pool noodles are going to play touch-butt all over Nate’s face. Provided Conor doesn’t do something incredibly stupid, this is entirely his fight. At the same time, I know a few friends of mine have put some money down on Nate by sub, thinking that it’s his only way of winning, and it’s entirely within the realm of possibility. I’m not confident in this enough to put money on it, but there’s certainly an argument to be made for Nate by sub. That being said,.it’s not gonna happen. McGregor by round one KO.
Justin: I actually think this Conor McGregor’s biggest fight yet. McGregor has made a career out saying “I told you so”. Each time he proves us all liars as we tell him what he can’t do and he fucking goes out there and does it. Well, this time, McGregor has leaped straight off the deep end and is up two weight classes from home and he is driving through Stockton in a Royce that doesn’t belong. While this isn’t the title fight, this fight will still answer so many questions: How does McGregor’s sniper left leveled up with a 90% critical hit fair at a higher weight? What happens when McGregor’s psychological warfare and whiskey-tinged tongue goes up against a graffiti-covered brick wall? Obviously Diaz has the advantage on the ground, but mostly only uses it when people try to bail out from being overwhelmed by his punches. The fact is, Diaz is going to stand and trade with the Irishman and one person is going to fall. Diaz is crazy durable, but also hittable. I feel that, even with the tall, lankiness of Diaz and the 2′ reach advantage, that McGregor will find his target and give Diaz his 2nd KO of his career. McGregor by KO in Round 3.
Dr. Vet: Picker: Frodo
Pick: McGregor, TKO (Hound in Pound)
Performance of the Night
Jessica: Rukus, Silva
Burnsy: Thatch, Diaz
Marty: Holm, Nunes
Fight of the Night
Jessica: Sanchez vs. Miller
Burnsy: McGregor vs. Diaz
Marty: McGregor vs Diaz