Here are some quick thoughts and takeaways from UFC 202, easily one of the best UFC ‘PPV’s of all-time. I also recap how my predictions went:
-The Notorious Conor McGregor returns to his throne with a decision victory over Nate Diaz. McGregor put on a show during his 5-round war with Nate Diaz utilizing his vicious leg kicks and sharp straight left hands as he tuned up Diaz. Anyone claiming Diaz won that fight have never competed in combat sports or is an active Diaz Stockton posse member. I had it 4-1 in favor of McGregor but I’ll concede if you were extra generous he could have won it merely 3-2. Any other score cards or results are preposterous. This is not meant to take away from Nate Diaz, the guy is an absolute warrior in every sense of the word. Diaz made McGregor earn that victory every minute of every round. Diaz just never was able to hurt McGregor like he was able to in their first matchup. Most of his “strikes landed” were a result of slap boxing McGregor against the fence. They were nowhere near as effective as the vicious leg kicks, and knockdowns that came via Conor McGregor’s strikes.
-In his post-fight interview, McGregor announced he is going to go after the 155lbs Lightweight division title. For now, it sounds like McGregor will abandon his 145lbs Featherweight belt. This move will likely infuriate Jose Aldo who is dying to get a rematch with McGregor. It would not shock me, if Aldo tries to chase McGregor up to 155lbs as long as the UFC is willing to make the fight. Many are predicting a trilogy fight between Diaz and McGregor, likely at 155lbs instead of the previous 170lbs matchups. Obviously it makes sense with regards to which fight would bring in the most dollars. However, I could see the UFC putting McGregor in against a guy like Eddie Alvarez (current Lightweight Champion) or even Donald Cerrone; if they want to really shake the division up. I do not believe they’ll risk McGregor vs a grappler at 155lbs if he does not fight Diaz next. Whoever McGregor fights next, he’ll surely have a major say in the matter. Now that he avenged his loss to Diaz, he has even more negotiating leverage as the lone superstar in the UFC’s universe.
-Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson hit Glover Teixeira with a nuclear bomb of an uppercut, and with that secured himself a rematch with the Light heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier. I thought if Teixeira could get out of the 1st round he’d finish Johnson off. However, Johnson’s power is so devastating, surviving a single round was impossible for the Brazilian. I do not put much stock into the Jon Jones rumors regarding his ability to get reinstatement and jump the line for a shot at the title before Rumble. All the ‘reports’ state that even “if” Jones receives a reduced sentence for his failed PED test, he’ll still have to serve a 6 month suspension. As of today he has only served one month of that suspension. This paves the way for a potential Cormier vs Johnson 2 rematch likely to occur later this fall, with Jones making his return against the winner of that bout either in December or January if his suspension ends.
-Cody ‘No Love’ Garbrandt is the truth. His absolute destruction of Takeya Mizugaki, has given him the credibility to demand a shot at the title either in his next fight or the one after that. He has lightweight or featherweight power in a Bantamweight division, making him a force to reckon with whomever he faces next. He exchanged words with current champion Dominic Cruz in his post-fight interview which certainly helps his name recognition. I think it is only a matter of time until we see those two square off in the octagon.
-Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone reminded everyone he is a bad man, after he knocked out the extremely tough Rick Story. I think Cerrone stays at Welterweight (170lbs) where he looks most comfortable. I’d really like to see a Johny Hendricks, Carlos Condit, or a guy who fought on this same card Lorenz Larkin, matchup for Cerrone’s next opponent as he tries to break into the top 5 of the welterweight division. A Larkin vs Cerrone fight would be an absolute fireworks display if it got made.
-Neil Magny danced with the devil one too many times, and it finally bit him against Lorenz ‘The Monsoon’ Larkin. Larkin finished Magny in brutal fashion via 1st round TKO. Magny has to sure up his striking defense if he ever wants to challange the division as a serious contender. Larkin could be a real nightmare for the Welterweight division, with the impressive power he showed putting Magny away.
My UFC 202 predictions:
Neil Magny @ -130 (Loss) -$110
Cody Garbrandt @ -520 (Win) +$6
Mike Perry @ +250 (Win) $250
Rick Story +120 (Loss) -$100
Glover Teixeira +170 (Loss) -$100
Conor McGregor -115 (Win) +$100
UFC 202 results (3-3) (+$46)
Prediction Record Year to Date (7-4-0) (+$65)
-Record& predication record are for winners only, unless specified otherwise using increments of $100 (for + odds) & $110 (for – odds) as hypothetical wagers for each prediction