UFC 202: McGregor vs Diaz 2 predictions
The preamble is finally over.
It’s time for the skills to do the talking from here on in as Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz anchor the main event of UFC 202.
Both fighters may want to strive for the Fight-of-the-Night to recover some of the fines likely will receive from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), UFC president Dana White or both.
At any rate, this should be fun.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman checks in with her thoughts on card.
UFC FIGHT PASS PRELIMS (6:30PM ET/3:30PM PT)
ALBERTO UDA (9-1-0) VS MARVIN VETTORI (10-2-0)
Wiseman: Uda has the privilege of welcoming Vettori to the UFC, but I don’t expect it to be a sweet one. These guys each throw with bad intentions. Uda is scrappy and prefers to pressure, throwing knees in the clinch, and damage from inside. Vettori throws everything he has with each strike, be it standing or ground-and-pound. Uda will take a load of damage as he is pushing forward to try to establish his Muay Thai clinch. Vettori doesn’t have the experience, but with how Uda pushing forward, it will play right into Vettori’s wheelhouse. If things go to the mat, Vettori has fight ending ground-and-pound with we saw against Tom Richards. The power of Vettori and his counter striking will give problems to Uda.
Wiseman Prediction: Marvin Vettori via submission
COLBY COVINGTON (9-1-0) VS MAX GRIFFIN (12-2-0)
Wiseman: Covington is a rough battle for anyone, but that doesn’t mean that Griffin can’t end the night with his power. Griffin likes to stand and use his striking. Covington, if you haven’t heard of him, he is a standout wrestler. Griffin, if he times things right, could catch Covington with a shot. However, Covington is too good setting up his takedowns, and too powerful to be stopped. Covington has been in the octagon with the likes of Mike Pyle and got him on the mat. That speaks for itself right there. Covington will do the same with Griffin, which will take away Griffin’s best weapon, his striking.
Wiseman Prediction: Colby Covington via unanimous decision
#7 NEIL MAGNY (18-5-0) VS LORENZ LARKIN (17-5-0, 1NC)
Wiseman: This is a huge step up in competition for Larkin. Magny is the fighter that went on a serious winning streak of fights in 2015, fighting guys in the upper half of the division and winning. Larkin, has power, don’t discredit that, he can end someone’s night in a hurry. However, Magny has an eight-inch reach advantage, moves at all kinds of angles, fights extremely long (like Jon Jones), and is a guy that you can’t be predictable with. Larkin moves forward too much, and is always looking for the knockout, which is entertaining, but Magny has more tools in the shed.
Wiseman Prediction: Neil Magny via unanimous decision
TSN 2 PRELIMS (8PM ET/5PM PT)
#13 RANDA MARKOS (6-4-0) VS CORTNEY CASEY (5-3-0)
Wiseman: While Casey didn’t have the best start with the UFC, having lost her first twi fights, she put a stamp on her most recent fight, ending it due to elbows. She is walking in to see Markos, a lady who can take a strike, welcomes blood, yet still walks forward. I have this fight being a brawl between two ladies still trying to make a mark. Markos has fought higher level opponents in the UFC, but she hasn’t been able to find her place yet, therefore has been inconsistent. While I don’t see either fighter backing down in this one, I have the durability and experience of Markos paying off, which will give her two wins back-to-back.
Wiseman Prediction: Randa Markos via unanimous decision
ARTEM LOBOV (12-12-1, 1NC) VS CHRIS AVILA (5-2-0)
Wiseman: The fact that these fighters are from the Diaz and McGregor camp only adds fuel to the flame. Avila likes to throw a few strikes to get into the clinch. Lobov is the opposite; he likes to fight with a karate-like stance, keep distance on his side, use his powerful striking to knock out his opponents. Cardio isn’t the friend of either fighter, so there is no advantage there. Due to the fact that Avila is going to eat a lot when trying to come forward, as well as how Lobov moves away from straight forward movement, I see him using his more more than Avila using the clinch.
Wiseman Prediction: Artem Lobov via TKO
#8 RAQUEL PENNINGTON (7-6-0) VS ELIZABETH PHILLIPS (5-3-0)
Wiseman: Phillips comes forward like a tornado, just swinging fists. On the mat, Phillips is all about the ground-and-pound. When we look at Pennington, she has been around for a long time and has faced the best; Holly Holm, Jessica Andrade, just to name a couple. When Pennington is facing an aggressive striker, like Phillips, she uses her grappling game. While Pennington tends to have a slow start when against an aggressive fighter, she is a veteran of the sport and has tons of heart. I see her weathering the early storm, testing the gas tank of Phillips, and grinding out the win.
Wiseman Prediction: Raquel Pennington via unanimous decision
#8 CODY GARBRANDT (9-0-0) VS #11 TAKEYA MIZUGAKI (21-9-2)
Wiseman: When Mizugaki processes things and dictates the pace, he shines. He does not do well when he is against an aggressor. We saw that against Dominick Cruz. Garbrandt is the same kind of fighter, but it’s his power and wrestling that will set him apart in this match. Mizugaki is good at putting things together at his pace, but Garbrandt is that plus a counter-striker. I don’t see anything different that exactly what we’ve seen from Garbrandt; a smart game plan, good head movement, and crisp counter-striking.
Wiseman Prediction: Cody Garbrandt via TKO
MAIN CARD (10PM ET/7PM PT)
TIM MEANS (25-7-1) VS SABAH HOMASI (11-5-0)
Homasi was the more energetic fighter at the weigh-ins, but Means as fought the better competition. Homasi is making his UFC debut, moving up from Titan FC. Despite his aloofness on the scale, Means has done enough in the past that he knows how to win.
Wiseman Prediction: Tim Means via unanimous decision
HYUN GYU LIM (13-5-1) VS MIKE PERRY (6-0-0)
Wiseman: Lim has been in there against stiff competition. Gomi, Magny, Saffedine, just to name a few. Lim likes to apply pressure and own the center of the octagon. He fights long, likes flying knees, and uses his left just to unload the right. Perry, he is being welcomed into the UFC, so this is the biggest fight of his career. Currently, he uses his powerful striking to do the trick. He needs to figure out how to get inside the pocket, in striking range, to use his weapon. Again, Lim applies pressure just to use his knees and power right. This will force Perry to dig a little deeper.
Wiseman Prediction: Hyun Gyu Lim via TKO.
#9 RICK STORY (19-8-0) VS #14 DONALD CERRONE (30-7-0, 1NC)
Wiseman: These guys don’t mess around, so this is going to be a battle. Story is riding a three-fight win streak, while Cerrone has won his past two fights. If we look at the Cerrone that we have today, he is going to give Story problems. He fights long with his kick boxing stance. He has a dangerous ground game. He is durable, and confident after beating the veteran via TKO, Patrick Cote. He has fought the best in two weight classes. Story is powerful, but is predictable. That’s his weakness. He will move forward and come out swinging. Cerrone will use his kicks and striking, then when Story goes for a takedown, Cerrone is just as threatening on the mat as he is standing, we saw that against Charles Oliveira.
Wiseman Prediction: Donald Cerrone via submission
#1 ANTHONY JOHNSON (21-5-0) VS #2 GLOVER TEIXEIRA (25-4-0)
Wiseman: Teixeira has been in some wars, and no one can take that from him. However, Johnson is just on a new level. His power will be a major threat to the already tested chin of Teixeira. Johnson is just behind Jones, or Cormier, depending on who you think is the real champ. Either way, the speed and power of Johnson is just going to be too much for Teixeira. Teixeira doesn’t throw the wrestling or pace needed to crack Johnson, therefore I don’t see this going well for Teixeira.
Wiseman Prediction: Anthony Johnson via TKO
NATE DIAZ (20-10-0) VS CONOR MCGREGOR (19-3-0)
Wiseman: The only things that are the same in this rematch is the weight and the fighters; everything else is different. The reason McGregor lost in the first fight was because he gassed, wasn’t expecting Diaz’s durability, and lacked a ground game. What is going to be different this time? Diaz will still be durable, he is still a master on the mat, but this time he won’t take as much damage because he has actually had a camp. I know that McGregor brought in training partners, state of the art training facility, etc., but the problems he had before will still be the same. McGregor isn’t used to dealing with people who can stand his power shots, which won’t be any different this fight. McGregor needs to throw more kicks to do damage to the lead leg of Diaz, as he always weighs heavy on his lead leg. However, the changes that McGregor needed to make, I don’t see being shown in this match up, especially for a potential five round fight.
Wiseman Prediction: Nate Diaz via submission