UFC 196

McGregor x Diaz - Picks & Predictions

Trash talk treasure trove. What title fight?

PICK vs. OPPONENT

McGregor x Diaz
Holm x Tate
Ilir x Gian
Lawlor x Anderson
Nunes x Shevchenko
Thatch x Bahadurzada
Silva x Taleb
Elkins x Skelly
Miller x Sanchez

PARLAY: $20

Lawlor (+255)
Elkins (+130)
Miller (-140)

to win $259

PREDICTIONS

McGregor x Diaz

The hand punch at the weigh-ins was too much for me. I finally decide to root for McGregor and he has to go and take a cheap shot against a late notice replacement. This harkens back to the timeless phrase, "Don’t punch the hand before it helps you get fed." Something like that. There’s no way this fight has a clean ending. Nate’s size and jiu jitsu scare me and Conor shouldn’t take this one lightly. He isn’t fighting Diego Brandao or Dennis Siver. He'll be across the cage from the pride of Stockton, CA – Mr. Nate Diaz, who whips punches, slaps, and middle fingers at a relentless clip. That’s a lot for the Irishman to be worried about, but he doesn't seem to be sweating this one. That probably has something to do with him being the matchmaker and the fact he won't be cutting a single pound of weight. At the moment, Conor seems too confident in his movement and his power to lose. He’s locked himself into the upper echelon and his diversity of offensive striking will make it a long night for anyone.

Nate Diaz was picked for this fight because he was on the sidelines, or, more accurately, hanging out under the bleachers.  Conor needed a late replacement for his lightweight debut but instead chose to make a welterweight premiere.  Instead of a fresh Cowboy Cerrone, or a hungry Pettis, he called upon the 209. Nate Diaz took the call on 10 days notice. Hyping this fight is, all of a sudden, no problem. That was a smart financial move by Conor but I believe he was too quick to allow this fight to happen at 170. That makes me think McGregor’s banking on laziness. That extra five pounds, I think, was to goad Nate into not stomping on the gas for this "camp". After all, what does Nate have to worry about? He’s coming off the best performance of his career and has always fought smaller opponents. More accurately, he's been fighting and beating them – when he feels like it. Unfortunately I think the lack of true preparation will hurt Diaz the most. His natural skills will still be an obstacle for Conor as  he won't be TKO’d easily. I've also seen enough doube-bird triangles to be convinced that Conor needs to kiss his blarney stones and hope this one doesn’t hit the mat. 

Considering the weight, the jiu jitsu, the bad blood, the skill sets, and the massive amount of hype surrounding this event, there are too many x-factors for me to be dead set on an outcome. I’ll call for a Conor finish, but I won’t bet the farm on him. In fact, Diaz at +350ish isn’t a terrible bet assuming he really wants to win this one. At the worst, this fight will be an offensive clinic with plenty of offensive hand gestures. Color me thrilled.

Holm x Tate

Holly Holm, who just finally got all of Rousey’s blood off her, couldn’t wait to step into the octagon again. She’ll be going up against the infamous Meisha Tate, Rousey’s true nemesis and female MMA superstar. As I just noticed, it is embarrassingly hard to talk about the women’s 135 division without bringing up the Rowdy ex-champ.

Meisha Tate likes to fight ugly and Holly Holm couldn’t fight any cleaner unless she carried around a bucket of bleach. That’s probably how her hair stays so golden. On paper, Holly has her way with Meisha, who is notoriously tough in her own right. The professional striking background, competent grappling, and Jackon’s MMA gameplan make Holly seem statuesque and unbeatable. Especially coming off that Rousey win. Tate can work a smothering game and probably land a bomb or two, but I can’t envision her stealing more than 2 rounds away from the Champ. Tate’s good everywhere but not great, which is unfortunate because it would rhyme, but her heart will always be her biggest asset. Holm’s footwork and pace will be too much. Holly will be too hard to grab, never mind hold onto, and I think she carries Meisha to a decision or a late stoppage. Prove me wrong, children. Prove me wrong.