In the past few days since #UFC202 provided one of the most vicious knockouts in #UFC history, as well as one of the most entertaining fights of all time, there has arisen some controversy regarding the decision in the Main Event.
Now, regardless of fanship and bias, I have objectively watched the fight, in entirety, more than 5 but less than 10 times. My personal and professional opinion is that Nate Diaz won that fight… But, Diaz winning a close decision isn’t the sexy outcome. It doesn’t set the stage for a rematch, and it elevates a Diaz far higher than Dana White ever wanted, while at the same time smashing the mystique of his new Golden Goose… Since Rousey pulled a GSP. Finally, NSAC and the judging panel isn’t stupid. They’re aware that going through this whole build-up, pageantry and process for a 3rd time can ONLY net them millions in revenue.
All of that aside, let’s get into the fight….
Conor came out strong, as expected, landing combinations, leg kicks, hurting Nate Diaz once, and dropping him twice. Although, as I’ll say about the 3rd knockdown in the 2nd round, the 2nd, and aforementioned 3rd round knockdowns, seemed a little too easy, a little too Werdum-like. Not only that, but McGregor failed to capitalize on them. He didn’t attempt any ground and pound, and at no point did he have Diaz in any danger whatsoever of being finished.
The 2nd round began much like the first with Conor landing ultra-sharp counters, continued brutalizing Nate’s leg (although it arguably just made him mad), and appeared to be just on a different level.
But then, just like the first fight, Conor started to slow down just a little bit. Started to breathe just a tiny bit heavier. And Nate Diaz, like a shark, smells even the tiniest bit of blood in the water and goes into attack mode. Nate began landing his jab, landing the 1-2 and the “Stockton Slap”, he backed Conor against the cage and ripped combos a la Nick Diaz… The 2nd round is when Conor STARTED running away and avoiding engaging…
… Last I checked, before the fights when Goldberg goes over the rules and the judging parameters, does he not say “Aggression and Octagon Control”?? Well, Nate absolutely dominated those categories for the entire fight.
The beginning of the 3rd round looked like the beginning of the end for McGregor. Nate was dominant. Landing at-will, backing Conor to the cage in every exchange, chasing Conor around the Octagon, talking shit, and nearly having the fight stopped, with Conor’s ONLY saving grace being the bell.
The 4th round began with McGregor breathing heavy, looking defeated, and nearly everyone in the arena, and on TV, believing this round would be the end for him… However, quite the contrary. Conor proved to not only every single one of us, but to himself, that he is completely capable of digging deep and going the distance, and even that he’s capable of coming back to win a round when it’s looking bleek.. Although, I ultimately ended up scoring the 4th a draw or Conor by a point, he truly gutted it out…
Round 5 began with Diaz pacing back and forth waiting for Big John McCarthy to start the round, throwing up his trademark double biceps, face covered in blood, while Conor looked gassed, defeated.. Nate landed a couple jabs and IMMEDIATELY, at 4:42, Conor started running, again… As soon as Nate initiated contact, or an exchange, Conor would either run away, or was immediately backed into the cage. He was clinched up and beat on, EXACTLY like Randy Couture and Daniel Cormier are famous for doing…
Although, we know the judges didn’t exactly see it the same way… Even though one scored it a draw.
Thanks to MMA-CORE for providing all the footage needed for doing my fight review, and thanks to Getty Images for the stellar shots.