UFC 202: McGregor vs. Diaz II:
Due to having a hectic week this week my picks will be like the other experts in the MMA world just picking the winner and how I see them winning their respective fight.
Online Prelims (6:30 PM/ET)
Alberto Uda (9-1) vs. Marvin Vettori (10-2): I have Vettori winning via 2nd round submission.
Colby Covington (9-1) vs. Max Griffin (12-2): I think Colby Covington picks up a grind out beat ‘em up unanimous decision win.
#7 Neil Magny (18-5) vs. Lorenz Larkin (17-5, 1NC): This fight is going to be incredible and I am having a hard time picking the winner but I am going to take Magny via unanimous decision.
FS1 Prelims (8 PM/ET):
#13 Randa Markos (6-4) vs. Cortney Casey (5-3): I think Randa picks up the win via unanimous decision to kick off the televised prelims.
Artem Lobov (12 – 12, 1NC) vs. Chris Avila (5-2): I got Chris Avila winning this fight via a first round TKO.
#8 Raquel Pennington (7-6) vs. Elizabeth Phillips (5-3): I think this fight will be a good win and I believe Raquel wins this fight via a 2nd round submission.
#8 Cody Garbrandt (9-0) vs. #11 Takeya Mizugaki (21-9-2): The main event of the televised prelims has one of the best young fighters in the UFC against a veteran of the octagon. This fight will not leave the first round in my point of view as Garbrandt will knock Takeya out in the first round.
Main Card (10PM/ET):
Tim Means (25-7-1) vs. Sabah Homasi (11-5): This fight will have some flurry of fists and I believe that Homasi will pick up the upset of Tim Means via a 3rd round TKO.
Hyun Gyu Lim (13-5-1) vs. Mike Perry (6-0): Hyun Gyu Lim is a veteran of the sport and he will be facing the classless Mike Perry, if you don’t understand that one watch the youtube video of the weigh ins. Mike Perry though is a beast and I believe he will pick up the 2nd round KO stoppage.
#9 Rick Story (19-8) vs. #14 Donald Cerrone (30-7, 1NC): This fight will take place in Cerrone’s newest weight class, the welterweight division. I think Cerrone is as good as they come and will pick up the win via 2nd round submission.
#1 Anthony Johnson (21-5) vs. #2 Glover Teixeira (25-4): This fight is a blockbuster I am amazed it didn’t get a UFC fight night main event. Anthony Johnson is a beast and Glover is a freak so this fight could go either way. That being said after seeing their last respective fights I think it could finally be Anthony’s time and he will get this win in the 3rd round via a brutal TKO.
(FW C) Connor McGregor (19-3) vs. (#4 LW) Nate Diaz (20-10): This fight is the most heated rivalry in the UFC at this point, the only one that comes close being Cormier and Jon Jones. These two really hate each other’s guts and we saw a big glimpse of that at the press conference when it turned into a childish act of throwing water bottles between two classless and trashy fighters. I think Connor with a full camp preparing for 170 could be dangerous and I just personally don’t see him letting this fight become another loss. I truly think McGregor picks up the win, for the record until last night I was thinking Diaz, I think he gets it done via 1st round TKO late in the 1st.
Fox Sports 1 prelims
Randa Markos (6-4) vs. Cortney Casey (5-3): The first fight of the night is at strawweight. Markos has three wins by submission and two of them were in the first round. She is also a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Upon joining the UFC, all of her fights have gone to decision, wins and losses. Now it says something about her ability to go the distance, but it could also show that say something about her ability to finish and get finished. Her opponent, Cortney Casey, has won four of her last six fights. She has won three fights by knockout and two more by submission and all of those finishes were in the first round. She is a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, so there is a slight edge over Markos as far as rank goes. She was also a Division I soccer player so she will have great cardio if forced past the first round that she is used to. I think this fight will actually go pretty quick and Casey will overpower Markos and get a late first round TKO.
Artem Lovov (12-12-1) vs. Chris Avila (5-2): The second match for the prelims is in the lightweight division. Chris Avila is making his debut in the UFC tonight. Before the UFC, he has won three matches by knockout and another by submission. Avila is a teammate of the Diaz brothers and he has a similar fighting style as them. He prefers to counter-strike and just smothers once it gets to the ground. His opponent is Artem Lobov who has gone 3-2-1 in his last six fights. Lobov has won five fights by knockout and two more by submission and two of those were in the first round. He is a heavy-handed striker that has done alot of damage to past fighters. I think this fight will definitely go to the second round with Lobov pushing the pace and probably taking damage from counter-strikes. I believe that Lobov will tire from being the agressor and Avila will get that perfect shot to get a second round knockout.
(#8) Raquel Pennington (7-6) vs. Elizabeth Phillips (5-3): This fight will be in the womens bantamweight. Pennington has won four of her last six and two in a row. Three of her wins have been by submission and one was by knockout. Regardless of her wins going in favor of grappling, she is a very strong striker. She has great stopping power which usually causes her opponents to get her on the ground. Her opponent, Elizabeth Phillips, has two wins by knockout and another by submission with one of them in the first round. Phillips has a record of 1-2 in the UFC. I think this will be the fight where Pennington gets to show off her striking and pull off a first round knockout.
(#8) Cody Garbrandt (9-0) vs. (#11) Takeya Mizugaki (21-9-2): Here we are at the main event for the prelims and we are seeing a fight in the bantamweight division. The undefeated Cody Garbrandt has eight wins by knockout and six of them were in the first round. Before the UFC, he went 32-1 as an amateur boxer so his stopping power has been a huge factor for a long time. His opponent is Takeya Mizugaki who has just over triple the octagon experience. Mizugaki has won seven of his last ten fights. In his career he has won five fights by knockout and another by submission. These two fighters are going to come out swinging from the start and this will most likely be the most interesting match so far. I predict it will be a good back and forth for a long while, but Garbrandt will be able to put down Mizugaki in the third due to having more finishing experience.
Tim Means (25-7-1) vs. Sabah Homasi (11-5): The first fight of the main card will be taking off in the welterweight division. First up, Tim Means who has won five of his last six fights. He has 17 career wins by knockout and four wins by submission. This will be Means’ eighth fight at welterweight with his welterweight record being 5-2. His opponent is Sabah Homasi who is making his debut in the UFC, but is a well-experienced fighter from American Top Team. Homasi has eight wins by knockout and two wins by submission with five of those finishes in the first round. He is also on a three fight win streak. This fight will be another very strike heavy matchup. Means is a very versatile striker who can pick up a victory in almost any situation. I think in the first or second round Means will be able to land a devastating knockout.
Hyun Gyu Lim (13-5-1) vs. Mike Perry (7-0): The next fight is another fight in the welterweight division. Hyun Gyu Lim has won eight of his last ten fights. He has won ten fights by knockout and two more by submission with nine of them in the first round. Lim is on a great finishing rate with finishing ten of his last twelve wins. His opponent is the undefeated Mike Perry who has won all seven matches by knockout and five of them were in the first round. Perry is a blue belt in jiu-jitsu and claims he is “a black belt with these hands.” I think his confidence will translate over into the fight and he will attempt to always push the pace. I think Perry will be the first to take the lead and probably get the first round. Then when Lim realizes he is losing he will come back strong. I see this fight going to decision because I believe it will be very back and forth with who maintains control of the match. At the end of three rounds I predict Hyun Gyu Lim will win via decision.
(#9) Rick Story (19-8) vs. (#14) Donald Cerrone (30-7): This next fight will be our third fight in a row at welterweight. First up is “The Horror Story” who is actually used to being here at welterweight. Story has won 12 of his last 17 fights and has won three in a row. On top of that, nine of his last 13 fights have gone to decision. In his career he has four wins by knockout and two by submission. On the opposite side of the ring is a man who has a knack for getting the finish. Cerrone has won 10 of his last 11 fights with his only loss coming from the Lightweight Champion. Cerrone is a great finisher with 16 wins coming from submission and another six from knockout. Just because his finishes are leaning way towards submissions, doesn’t mean he is just a grappler; actually the opposite. He tends to come out guns blazing and just tears his opponent apart then when he knocks them down he swarms in and sinks in some crazy chokes. Cerrone is the favorite for this fight and I believe it is because he will come in quick and just overpower Rick Story. I predict Cerrone will wear him down and in the second get a submission to win him the fight.
(#1) Anthony Johnson (21-5) vs. (#2) Glover Teixiera (25-4): The co-main event for the night will take place between two of the best in the light heavyweight division. Anthony Johnson is known for being one of the biggest, baddest dudes in the division to the point where he almost knocked out Dan Cormier in one punch. He has 15 wins by knockout and 11 of them were in the first round. Not only is he strong, but he is fast enough to keep up with some of the quickest in the division and is a great wrestler. His opponent is Glover Teixiera who has finished 12 of his last 13 wins. Teixiera has the exact same finishes as Donald Cerrone, but in reverse, with 16 wins by knockout and another six by submission. This will be an amazing stand up match, but Teixiera will have to be very careful not to get hit too many times. I think it could be to Teixiera’s benefit to get Johnson on the ground, but even then he could be a handful. I think this match will last a couple rounds with Glover trying a few different ways to win, then in the third Rumble will pick up the third round TKO.
Nate Diaz (20-10) vs. (C) Conor McGregor (19-3): Here we are at the main event and there are two very different types of audiences going into this fight. On one side we think Nate Diaz is going to kick ass again because why wouldn’t he? He walks around at this weight and Conor has to constantly stuff his face to get close. The other side is the group of us that think Conor is actually going to have a better camp than last time and think nothing can stop McGregor this time. Where my allegiance falls isn’t quite determined yet. First up I will talk about the Champion and the poster-boy of the UFC, Conor McGregor. His loss to Nate Diaz snapped a 15 fight win streak. McGregor has 17 wins by knockout and another win by submission with 13 of these wins in the first round. He is a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu which is a bit of a surprise to me because it seems like most of the time he gets put on the ground he gets in a lot of trouble. For example, it took him almost a full round to get out from under Chad Mendes and practically the moment Diaz put him on the ground he got the life choked out of him. I can only pray for him and his team that this was the most important thing they did during camp because a guy like Diaz will only keep showing people why nobody should get him on the ground. Now, Nate Diaz is such a terrifying threat on the ground because he is a third degree black belt in Gracie jiu-jitsu taught by Ceaser Gracie himself from the very beginning. Therefore, all feelings aside and looking at it unbiased, He and his brother Nick are arguably on the very top of the list of people in the UFC you don’t want to try and out-grapple with only a few people more dangerous than them. Now as far as stats go, Diaz has 12 wins by submission and five by knockout with eight finishes in the first round also showing he is a good striker, but he prefers to stay outside and counter-strike. Nate is one the cockiest people in the UFC and he lets it show in the ring. I think that he may come in even more relaxed and almost underestimating. He has good reason to be, but we have never really seen this kind of Conor McGregor we have the possibility of seeing tonight and I truly think if Conor comes in calculated and not ready to bullshit like he has been in the media and really sees this as a do or die moment then I think McGregor could knock Nate out. My problem with that theory is that you are asking someone to completely 180 there personality and I’m not sure if he can do this. I am going to make a prediction, well two actually, and I am going to base my prediction off of how we see McGregor come out tonight. If he looks like he isn’t taking it serious and just sees it as another popularity moment then I predict another Diaz submission except this time in the first. If we see Conor walk out and look like the whole world is tuned out and this fight is the only thing that matters, like a scene straight out of a movie, then I say Conor will get a second round knockout.