UFC 202 tips: The key to McGregor's revenge over Diaz? Patience and conditioning
The Irishman's coach is predicting a fourth-round knockout in the main event - that will not be the only stoppage of the night in Las Vegas
Nate Diaz showed up Conor McGregor’s lack of preparation and conditioning the first time these fighters met simply by sticking around until the second round.
The Irishman took his opponent for granted and was punished for doing so.
McGregor had been dominating before he was stunned by a left hook, though, as Diaz struggled to cope with his unconventional strikes from different angles.
McGregor is simply a classier fighter than the American, who has 10 defeats on his record, including three in his last six bouts.
This is a difficult match-up for the featherweight champion, as the first fight proved, but his 15-fight win streak before UFC 196 can’t be forgotten.
McGregor will pace himself better this time – his own coach has predicted a fourth-round knockout victory – and providing he stays out of trouble on the ground, a late-round stoppage is likely.
- McGregor to win by KO, TKO or disqualification
Another stoppage is likely in the co-main event, which features the top two contenders in the light-heavyweight division.
Anthony Johnson and Glover Teixeira are powerful punchers, with a combined total of 31 knockout wins from 55 fights.
Those numbers are testament to the aggressive, front-foot nature of both fighters.
Teixeira has an excellent chin – he has only been stopped once in his career, and even that was in his first professional fight 14 years ago.
But his style will leave him open against Johnson, who boasts a varied attack and a superior striking accuracy of 46 per cent.
Teixeira’s ability to take a punch could see him through the early exchanges, but Johnson will chip away at him and get the stoppage to set up a title bout with Daniel Cormier.
- Johnson to win by KO, TKO or disqualification
Donald Cerrone’s 30-7 record is impressive, but the former lightweight has never faced anyone as big, tough and unconventional as Rick Story.
The southpaw has suffered eight defeats to date, but is currently on an impressive run of three victories.
And while Cerrone is the favourite, he has a long history of struggling against lefties.
Only one of the Cowboy’s seven defeats came against an orthodox fighter.
Story last fought in May when he earned an impressive unanimous decision over Tarec Saffiedine, who currently sits one spot higher than Cerrone in the welterweight rankings.
He is a heavy hitter and a strong wrestler, and his style should see him through despite his underdog status.
Five of the 31-year-old’s last six fights have been decided on points, and while he is capable of winning by stoppage there would be little surprise if this fight goes the distance.
- Story to win
Mike Perry, a UFC newcomer, was a late addition to this fight card after being announced as the replacement for the injured Sultan Aliev less than two weeks ago.
He has had an impressive professional MMA career so far, with an unblemished record of six wins, all by knockout.
He is yet to face a fighter of Hyun Gyu Lim’s calibre, though.
While the South Korean has only fought in the UFC five times himself, he has won three of those bouts, all by stoppage.
He has gone the distance just once in his 13 victories, and while he often takes plenty of punches, he has a strong chin and is very dangerous when throwing knees.
Both of these fighters will come out swinging for an early stoppage, and Lim, the more experienced of the two, will come out on top.
Lim to win by KO, TKO or disqualification