UFC 196: McGregor V Diaz

The co-main event saw Holly Holm (C) defend the bantamweight title for the first time against Miesha Tate (#2). The match saw Holm trying to avoid being taken down, whilst Tate tried to avoid initiating too much against a good counter-striker in Holm. Round 2 saw Tate take Holm down and control the position well, threatening with a choke towards the end of the round, whilst Rounds 1, 3 and 4 saw a striking contest on the feet that Holm seemed to be having the better of, although Rounds 1 and 3 were close (4 was a bit clearer in Holm’s favour). Holm seemed to be doing enough in Round 5 to keep Tate away and keep the title, but Tate shot for a takedown and in the scramble got Holm’s back; Holm stood back up and tried to throw Tate off, but Tate was able to hold on to the choke she had and take Holm back down, with the fight ending moments later as Holm was choked out.

The main event saw Conor McGregor take on Nate Diaz at short notice (McGregor V Dos Anjos having been cancelled due to an injury to Dos Anjos) at Welterweight, two weight divisions up from where McGregor is champion. There were plenty of striking exchanges in the first round and McGregor seemed to be getting the better of them, opening up a cut above Diaz’s right eye. McGregor was looking to make use of uppercuts and seemed to keep his hands down in defence, preferring to rely on reflexes to avoid punches. The second round was similar until Diaz landed a good shot on McGregor’s chin, forcing him back. Diaz pressed forward and landed more strikes with McGregor against the cage, but he was able to get out. Diaz continued pressing forwards when the action returned to the centre of the Octagon and McGregor changed levels, looking for a takedown. Diaz defended well and ended up in top position and unleashed some ground and pound; McGregor looked to avoid this but only succeeded in giving up his back, allowing Diaz to sink a rear naked choke that resulted in McGregor tapping.

The results make for an interesting future in the UFC. Tate’s victory gives her the championship. I think Holm is entitled to a rematch as I had her ahead on the scorecards, with Tate only able to win by stoppage. However, the future of Ronda Rousey is still unknown and Rousey and Tate having fought twice before and Rousey has won both times. McGregor’s stated aim of adding the Welterweight title to his collection (he stated he was contemplating doing that after having beaten Dos Anjos) now looks less likely, but his next fight will surely still be a title fight even after the loss to Diaz; the only question is whether it will be for the Lightweight title against Dos Anjos or a defence of the Featherweight title. Following McGregor’s loss, Jose Aldo has already demanded a rematch again and is pushing for the fight to be at UFC 200. With UFC 200 fast approaching (and undoubtedly being a big milestone), I think that the UFC will want it’s two most marketable stars on show and will look to have Tate V Rousey for the Bantamweight title and Dos Anjos against McGregor for the Lightweigh title; this would give them the return of one of their marketable stars in a title match and a chance for their other highly marketable star to become a champion in two different weight categories.

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