I may not celebrate everything that UFC’s front office does, but plugging in Nate Diaz as lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos’ replacement opponent for Conor McGregor at this Weekend’s UFC 196 was pure genius.
For marketing reasons, two of the companies most brash competitors will fire darts at one another up until, and even throughout the main event of the evening. Although McGregor will prove to be the most clever of the trash talkers, it will be quite entertaining to hear Diaz resort to his go-to retorts, when on the short end of the stick, ” F*€% YOU” and “I DON’T GIVE A
During the match, the showmanship and taunting will be to the likes of which legends are made of.
The question is who wins what is UFC’s most anticipated fight of the year thus far.
You can rest assure McGregor and Diaz will put on a striking clinic. Both fighters are incredible at using the range that is provided to them. On the flipside, both fighters have shown they are vulnerable to take-downs. In addition, both know hot to work well from the ground: McGregor being one who can ground and pound, while Diaz is about to that and showcase Grade A, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Here’s what will separate these two, helping to determine a winner. In losses to dos Anjos, Josh Thomson, Ben Henderson and Rory MacDonald, Diaz has proven to be vulnerable to pressure. Taking away his distance and applying pressure does indeed burst pipes, when it comes to Diaz. McGregor on the other hand, secured his legitimacy at UFC 189, when he faced serious adversity against Chad Mendes, who took the fight on short notice as a result of them champion Jose Aldo’s injury roughly two weeks before the bout, during their classic interim featherweight title bout. Despite being taken down four times and on the receiving end of a hailstorm of strikes, McGregor snatched himself out of the jaws of defeat and did the unthinkable, knocking out Mendes with a mere 0:03 left in round two.
Many, including myself, have argued that Mendes would’ve beat McGregor with a full training camp. That point is mute, considering results aren’t built on what ifs.
As fun and challenging of a fight this will be, the pressure of McGregor will be too much for one of Stockholm, California’s soldiers. What intrigues me most is how well will McGregor work with an additional 25 pounds, as he makes his debut as a welterweight (170 pounds).
My call is for my fellow Irishman to bring Diaz’s night to an end in round three.
Stay tuned into TNP Sports for a full recap of what will be a memorable main event.
Written by Antoine Hoffman