UFC 196 recap: “As I said, you can’t underestimate a Diaz!”

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    UFC 196 this past Saturday did NOT disappoint! We were treated to a plethora of great performances, including two of the most shocking upsets in recent history (with the exception of Rousey vs. Holm).

    The “Main Event”, which in case you live under a rock, was quite possibly one of the biggest fights ever. Pitting one of the most dynamic and outspoken fighters ever, Conor McGregor, against one of the toughest, most technical boxers, and potentially one of the best Jiu-jitsu artists in the game, Nate Diaz.

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    As the fighters approached the Octagon it was blatantly obvious to see that McGregor was in a sort-of celebratory mood, smiling, laughing, engaging the fans. While Diaz was clearly mentally ready for war with his signature mean mugg, ready to “kill or be killed” as he likes to say.

    Prior to the start of the fight, during Bruce Buffer’s introduction, Conor could be seen strolling around near the center of the Octagon, jawing at Nate, saying “you’re too small boy”, and “you’re too skinny”, laughing, trying to get one last mental jab in. Unfortunately for him, which was made crystal clear the day before at the weigh-ins, Nate appeared to be in Conor’s head…

    As round 1 got underway it was overtly clear that Nate was pacing himself, figuring out the timing of McGregor, and trying to keep him at distance. On the other hand, McGregor was going almost strictly for knockout shots which is nothing new for Nate. He’s fought, and beaten, some of the hardest hitters in the game, like Melvin Guillard, & Rory MacDonald(at 170lbs), etc,….
     Conor has never fought anyone like Nate. He’s never had to deal with the caliber boxer, nobody as natural a jiu-jitsu ace, and nobody as physically and mentally durable as a Diaz brother before. Whereas, like I said in my pre-fight article, Nate has fought the best of the best at a couple different weight divisions. He’s dealt with adversity, he’s been knocked down, he’s been on his back with a superior grappler.

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    Round 1 clearly belonged to McGregor as he successfully displayed his unique striking style, landing his left hand numerous times, and although not connecting, he did show a variety of kicks as well. In the clinch and on the ground, as short lived as the time was, CLEARLY favored Nate and his length, where he also appeared physically stronger.

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    As round 1 came to a close and the fighters returned to their corners Nate was cut up and bleeding a little, Conor had a few small welts on his face and body, but Conor, with his hands on his hips, was noticeably straining to regain his breath. Diaz’s corner men were clearly emotionally charged, throwing all kinds of advice his way, frantically rubbing ice on him and trying to close the cut above his right eye.

… And then, it happened…

    While Nate’s corner men were running around like crazy, throwing all kinds of strategy at him, he calmly looked over at the camera, and smiled…. And at that moment all TRUE Diaz fans knew that the fight was about to actually begin…

    As the 2nd round commenced there was a candidly different bounce in Nate’s step. Conor, fully recovered, continued with the head-hunting, continued throwing and looking for the big shots. Nate, having acquired Conor’s timing, started landing 2 and 3 punch combos, seemingly at will, and he even managed to land 6 or 7 “Stockton Slaps”.

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    Conor attempted to clinch, where he was immediately backed up to the cage and systematically picked apart by the knees and fists of Diaz, while he trash talked Conor. Although McGregor managed to cut Diaz with a glancing left hand, it only seemed to further motivate him…
“Thop, thop,..thop…” Nate starts to connect with that heavy 70% jab that you can just feel through the TV screen.

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Then Nate lands 2 consecutive 3punch combos, the jab, straight, and that wonderful long, seemigly delayed, right hook that catches people like Wonderboy’s head kick, lands flush on Conor, and you see his eyes drop as he slowly attempts to retreat…

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Nate Diaz, like a predator going-in for the kill, throws his hands up to taunt Conor, shouting “WHAT, motherfucker”, and proceeds to walk Conor down, landing that jab, and a rocked McGregor shoots for the takedown…. He fulfilled his own prophecy, he had “Become a panicked grappler”

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Nate IMMEDIATELY put him in a power guillotine, Conor rolled onto his side, and Nate sliced through, and like Joe Rogan said “Like fire through bushes”, took the mount, landed punches, McGregor attempted to roll out, and gave up his back. Like the world-class BJJ black belt Nate is he sunk in the hooks, and beautifully punched Conor’s head into place to synch in the choke, and it was all over…

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Diaz jumps up, like a medieval warrior with his face covered in blood, flexing both biceps, basking in the victory that he’d just beaten out of that seemingly invincible superstar, Conor McGregor.

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You can see the full fight HERE at MMA-CORE.com

Leave a comment as to what you think should be next for each fighter. Should Conor fight RDA or Frankie Edgar? Should Diaz stay at 170lbs and fight Robbie Lawler, or should he go back down to 155lbs, his natural weight class, and fight for a title?….. Thanks for reading and I look forward to your opinions.

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