If their weigh-in “throwdown” was any indication, the rematch between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor on UFC 202 looks set to be another wildly entertaining fight. The Notorious one will be eager to avenge his first-ever UFC loss, but the Stockton bad boy should be ready to get into another war with the fiery Irishman.
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UFC 202 Main Card Preview
The Main Event
The first fight between Diaz (19-10) and McGregor (19-3, 17 KO) didn’t have the ending many expected. Diaz handed the brash-talking McGregor the first defeat of his UFC career via rear-naked choke despite being a short-notice replacement.
Diaz has proven time and again that he can take a ton of punishment, and he survived long enough for McGregor to eventually gas himself out midway through the second round. With McGregor slowing, Diaz then unleashed his own outstanding boxing to beat up on the Irishman and eventually finished him on the ground with his slick Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
With a full training camp now under his belt, expect Diaz to be much sharper in this fight. But don’t expect his gameplan to change much, if at all. Diaz will charge forward, and he will goad McGregor into doing what he did in the first fight, which is to get into a slugfest.
The much more interesting question is whether McGregor will fall for it again. His track record suggests he will. He’s more than willing to take some damage in order to go for a finish. And after getting stopped in their first fight, McGregor’s ego is likely too big for him to resist trying to knock Diaz out.
But as the first fight showed, that kind of fight figures to favor Diaz – the bigger, stronger fighter with excellent cardio and a granite chin. If McGregor doesn’t change up his approach, he’ll like face the same result in the rematch.
Diaz (EVEN) gets the better of McGregor again, this time via unanimous decision.
Teixeira (25-4, 15 KOs) and Johnson (21-5, 15 KOs) are two very heavy-handed fighters who like to stand and exchange punches. Johnson, though, has the heaviest hands in the entire division. His last four wins have all come via knockout or TKO.
Teixeira has the edge in terms of submission skills – he has seven career submission wins, including one against Ovince St. Preux in 2015 – but Johnson won’t be easy to take down. As long as he keeps the fight on the feet, it’s just a matter of time before “Rumble” lands a fight-altering blow.
Rumble (-210) rocks Teixeira and wins via 2nd round TKO.
It’s been so far, so good for Donald Cerrone (30-7) at welterweight. “Cowboy” has won both of his fights at 170 – against Alex Oliveira via triangle choke and against Patrick Cote via TKO – and claimed Performance of the Night bonuses in both bouts as well.
Rick Story (19-8) will be a tough matchup, though. Story, who is currently riding a three-fight win streak, is a strong and rugged wrestler who can effectively neutralize Cerrone’s dangerous Muay Thai kickboxing and grind out a decision win.
Story (+135) stifles Cerrone’s offense en route to a split decision win.
Lim is 3-2 in his UFC career, but has lost two of his last three fights – to Tarec Saffiedine and Neil Magny. Nevertheless, the South Korean should have the significant experience and conditioning advantage over Mike Perry.
The 24-year-old American will be making his UFC debut as a short-notice replacement for the injured Sultan Aliev. Perry has stopped all six of his opponents – four in the first round – but he will see quite a step up in competition from the foes he’s faced thus far.
Lim (-300) earns an unanimous decision win over Perry.
Means will be in a similarly advantageous position as he faces Sabah Homasi, and the odds back it up. Means is the biggest favorite in the UFC 202 main card. The 27-year-old Homasi, who lost his only fight in The Ultimate Fighter Season 21, will be making his UFC debut as a short-notice replacement for Sean Strickland.
Meanwhile, Means (25-7, 17 KOs) is coming off a KO win over John Howard last December. “The Dirty Bird” is 5-2 in his UFC career, with his only losses coming to welterweight contenders Neil Magny and Matt Brown.
Means (-450) outclasses Homasi and scores a 3rd round TKO win.
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