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8/18/16: Five Predictions For Saturday’s UFC 202 “Diaz vs. McGregor II” Event
There are several interesting matchups on Saturday’s card with significant implications for the future in the UFC, so today I’ve got five predictions for the event.
5. Neil Magny and Lorenz Larkin will put on a show: The UFC Fight Pass featured fight is one of the best fights on the card on paper, and I think it’s going to deliver in the cage as well. Larkin, even in his losing efforts, has been an extremely entertaining striker. Magny, by contrast, has become a very exciting competitor on the feet and on the ground. These two are fighting for position in a packed-tight welterweight division, and I expect them to bring the best out of one another on Saturday night.
4. Rick Story beats Donald Cerrone: “Cowboy” has looked good in two welterweight fights so far, but neither of those opponents are quite the durable, reliable, and all around more talented fighter that is Rick Story. Story’s beaten two of the welterweight division’s best in his last two fights, and he’s got everything in his skillset to stifle Cerrone’s offense. We’ve seen plenty of ways that Cerrone can be beaten in the past, and Story’s the type of fighter capable of taking advantage of those holes. Should the fight go Cerrone’s way it would be as impressive a win as he’s gotten in some time, but I think this is Story’s to lose.
3. Cody Garbrandt blitzes Takeya Mizugaki: Garbrandt wants to make a statement in the bantamweight division, and he wants to prove that he’s deserving of a shot at Dominick Cruz. Mizugaki’s a historically durable fighter, and only a select few have beaten him decisively. Garbrandt pulls that off on Saturday night as he steps up for another significant and impressive performance to move one step closer to that shot.
2. Glover Teixeira takes out “Rumble” Johnson: Anthony Johnson’s absolutely got the type of power that can take out anyone he faces, but if he fails to put someone away he has a tendency to fade. Teixeira’s got the same type of power with a more well rounded attack and a better gas tank. He’s continued on past significant damage in the past only to win fights, and that’s what I expect out of this one. Johnson’s going to do his best to finish the Brazilian off real quick, but when that fails it’s going to be Teixeira taking over and securing a title shot.
1. Diaz-McGregor II ends by the third round: These two don’t need five rounds. Diaz showed what he can do at just about any point when he connects, and he’s coming into the rematch in much better shape. He’s been very good at welterweight in his career with the exception of some fights against much bigger and stronger fighters. That’s not the Featherweight Champion. Still, McGregor’s spent a camp specifically training for Diaz this time around, and he’s got the type of striking game that can do enough damage to potentially stop this fight. Either McGregor finds a way to stop this fight using similar success to what he was doing early at UFC 196, or Diaz weathers the storm and takes him out a second time. I don’t think the fight reaches the late rounds either way.
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