UFC 202 Goes Berserk! The Diaz Vs. McGregor Rematch Turns In To A Dog Fight And Becomes An Immediate Frontrunner For Fight Of The Year
Just when you thought things were going downhill, you watch a fight and go “WOW!”
The UFC has quietly had its back against the wall the last several months. The brand has been taking hits due to a constant changing of the guard at the top of each division, as well as Conor McGregor’s first loss to Nate Diaz. There has been a ton of speculation about what would happen to the drawing power of the entire organization if McGregor fell to Diaz a consecutive time.
Just a few years back the organization had a long list of great fighters, nay, Hall of Fame worthy fighters who dominated their opponents and held belts in their respective weight classes for what seemed like an eternity. Among the names of former champions and God’s of the Arena are featherweight José Aldo (defeated), welterweight Georges St. Pierre (retired), middleweight Anderson Silva (defeated), light heavyweight Jon Jones (suspended), and heavyweight Cain Velazquez (defeated) to name a few. Even Dominick Cruz landed on this list when he was sidelined with consecutive injuries forcing him to take 2 years off. Most of the guys on this list went 8-10 fights defending their belts, or 5-10 years without a single loss. Most if not all of them hold a record for their particular division, or a record for the UFC itself.
Today’s current roster of revolving champions are being dethroned practically on a monthly basis, and their replacements, those newly crowned champs, are being taken down just about as quickly as they get their hands on the prize. In the course of little under a year, ten champions including Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Meisha Tate, T.J. Dillishaw, Robbie Lawler, Chris Weidman, and Luke Rockhold have had the belt slip from their grasp. And that’s not even the entire list! The damaging effect on the brand is that the UFC is losing their big stars, whose power to draw money into venues and generate big pay-per-view bucks is diminished with every loss.
Having recently been sold for $4 Billion, the UFC’s biggest star and featherweight champion Conor McGregor put the fight world on his shoulders and went 25-grueling minutes with the heavier man Nate Diaz. Diaz is as tough as a coffin nail, and nearly impossible to finish with strikes alone. If you didn’t see the fight check it out – McGregor threw everything except the kitchen sink and Diaz. Diaz, battered and pouring blood just kept coming forward like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator.
The fight was reminiscent of the co-main event, Robbie Lawler versus Rory MacDonald 2 at UFC 189. That was one of the bloodiest fights ever, with both men going toe to toe until the final minute of the 5th round when MacDonald’s shattered nose could take no more.
In the opening round, McGregor dropped Diaz with some hard punches while chopping down his lead leg. In the second round, he scored a couple of knock downs again using that big left hand - but towards the end of the second round Diaz caught McGregor with a flurry of punches, and McGregor seemed to run out of gas after having the bigger Diaz swarming him. He eluded Diaz by moving away to catch his breath in the 3rd and 4th round, only to have Nate stalk him, pointing his finger and flipping him off to get his attention.
In the 4th round, McGregor hunkered down and landed some clean shots again – without the zip he had enjoyed early on. The 5th round was just a grinder, with both men basically up against the cage until the final seconds. It was a close fought match, but McGregor emerged with the decision.
After McGregor fell to Diaz a few months back, he immediately demanded a rematch. This time, McGregor got to call the shot and would like to have Diaz come down in weight to fight again. Diaz’ profanity laced post fight interview set this match up for an exciting third installment, which will likely happen at 155 pounds – but only after McGregor has gone back to 145-pounds to defend his belt or the UFC has threatened to force him to vacate it.
There are plenty of fights scheduled through the beginning of December, but we will likely have to wait until the holidays or early 2017 to get another one as big as this.