Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will finally come face to face once again in one of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history—a welterweight bout at UFC 202 on Saturday, August 20.
Diaz shocked the world with a submission win at UFC 196, coming into the fight on short notice against a man who had seemed almost unbeatable up until that point.
As reported by Odds Shark's Justin Hartling, McGregor is a slight favourite this time around, with bookmakers anticipating that he'll be better prepared for Diaz's resilient fighting style. Here's a look at the latest odds (as of Friday, 10:30 a.m. ET):
|McGregor vs. Diaz Odds|
The Notorious One didn't have much difficulty hitting Diaz in their first meeting, landing solid shots throughout the first round, but he visibly tired and was unable to keep up the volume in the second. Diaz rocked him with a vicious blow, and McGregor never recovered, going for an ill-advised takedown that ended in a simple submission for Diaz.
McGregor blamed a lack of conditioning for the loss, and per James Dielhenn of Sky Sports, he's taking that part of his preparation far more seriously this time around:
McGregor made no secret of his preference to train at night then sleep all morning. But not any more...
"We do an early session and a late session - we do skills-based stuff early then strength and conditioning, and cardiovascular, later in the day," said McGregor's sports scientist Julian Dalby, exclusively to Sky Sports.
"From a neuro standpoint, the athlete is sharper and fresher earlier in the day. For the second session, the athlete doesn't feel like he has to hold back in the conditioning training. You don't have to worry that, if you get tired, someone will get you in a guillotine choke!"
What hasn't changed is McGregor's tendency to try and get under his opponent's skin during the pre-fight media tour. The UFC hasn't hyped this bout in the way they hyped the Irishman's title fight with Jose Aldo, but when you have two brash, outspoken personalities like Diaz and McGregor, little is needed.
This incident during a recent press conference sent Twitter into overdrive, via Bleacher Report UK (warning: NSFW language):
TMZ Sports explained what happened:
Naturally, the incident led to plenty of back-and-forths between fans of both fighters on social media, but other UFC fighters got involved as well. Dan Henderson can't wait for these two to meet again:
Bleacher Report's Jonathan Snowden wonders whether McGregor's pre-fight tactics are having any effect, however:
The big question ahead of this bout is of course whether there's any reason to believe McGregor has any chance of avenging his loss in the first place. After all, Diaz's advantages in size and reach are still there, as is his strong ground game, and this time, he'll be better prepared.
Diaz is as durable as they come, and while he has been knocked out before, he tends to take big shots far better than most. McGregor has the hand speed for a sustained attack to win by decision, but he's simply not used to fighting a guy who is physically bigger than him―he always had a huge reach advantage in the featherweight division.
The key to this fight will be McGregor's ability to establish his jab―he tends to rely too much on his left hand, something that won't work against Diaz. If he can mix in enough kicks to keep Diaz on his heels and he has the stamina to keep it up until the final bell, then he should be able to avenge his UFC 196 defeat.
Prediction: McGregor takes a close decision win.