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UFC 202 : DIAZ vs McGREGOR 2 – PREVIEW & PICK

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Initially scheduled for the UFC 200 card back in July, the rematch between Nate Diaz (20-10) and Conor McGregor (19-3) is now only days away. The T Mobile Arena here in Las Vegas is set to host UFC 202 this Saturday night and though it’s a stacked card, the main event is one of the most highly anticipated bouts in UFC history.

 
With Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey on the shelf for now, Conor McGregor has undoubtedly emerged as the promotion’s brightest star and it’s biggest draw. That claim is supported by pay-per-view buys and revenue for his past bouts, and rest assured UFC 202 will challenge their success. Couple McGregor’s meteoric rise with his opponent Diaz’s recent accent, and we have the perfect storm for what should be one of the most celebrated night’s in the promotion’s history.

 
Oddsmaker’s initially listed McGregor as a slight favorite at -125, with the take back on Diaz +105. And though that price is still reflective of the market average as of today, currently here in Las Vegas the Westgate Superbook has the fight at -110 either way. Simply put, neither man is much of a favorite or underdog for the rematch.

 
That’s a huge contrast when compared to the odds for their initial confrontation back at UFC 196 in March, where Conor McGregor had opened as high as a -575 betting favorite. The line did drop leading up to the night of the fight, but McGregor still entered the Octagon at -400. Diaz rewarded his supporters by cashing at +300 (3 to 1) or better. So it’s obvious the perception of the betting market has changed significantly in the 5 months which have passed.

 
Simply put, one has to determine whether or not that adjustment is warranted in order to decide whether or not a walk to the betting window is in order…

 
Rather than waste your time reviewing a fight which almost all of us have already seen, I’ll instead focus on the rematch. For starters, both men have enjoyed a full training camp and have been preparing for the opponent they’ll be facing on Saturday, two important factors which weren’t present back in March. Therefore, we can handicap the rematch without having to try and figure out or guess the impact those kind of issues have on a fight.

 
Nate Diaz is a rugged and very well conditioned fighter, but also an efficient boxer and skilled Brazilian Ju Jitsu practitioner. Although he entered the UFC as a lightweight, he’s grown into a legit welterweight who will enjoy both a height and reach advantage over McGregor, and most likely an edge in weight as well. Diaz’s long jab seemed to give McGregor problems the last time but he made the mistake of circling to his right and paid for it early on, as was evident by the bruising on his face afterward buy levitra online with prescription. Both fighters are southpaws and will therefore want to move to their¬†left as much as possible to avoid their opponent’s strong hand. Nate appeared to give Conor the most trouble when he took the fight to him by moving forward and being first.

 
To capture his second straight win against McGregor, Diaz will once again have to weather the early storm and use his excellent gas tank to take the fight into deeper waters. He needs to turn this into another dog fight rather than try to outclass McGregor.

 
For Conor, it was evident in the first bout that his strikes didn’t have the same impact at 170 lbs that they did at 155 lbs. Rather than aim for a one punch knock-out, he’ll need to employ an accumulation of punishment to finish Diaz. McGregor has shown to be the better technician of the two, so he shouldn’t allow himself to be drawn into a brawl or try to prove his manhood against the bigger man. He had a lot of success when moving forward, backing Diaz up against the cage. But being first opens McGregor up to be countered by the longer reach of Diaz, so he’ll need to keep his hands up more than he has in past bouts. McGregor has an obvious speed advantage and if he can use his footwork and not remain stationary, he could become a difficult target to land against.

 
McGregor has avoided 59% of opponent’s strikes and 61% of take-down attempts. More importantly, he’s been successful on 71% of his attempts to take opponent’s down and though Diaz is the more accomplished bjj practitioner, McGregor shouldn’t avoid putting Diaz on his back. Again, to win this rematch he’ll need to be willing to systematically break Nate down rather than look for a fight ending shot to land.

 

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