The moment the entire MMA world has been waiting for all summer is finally here as the rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC 202 is set to take place. The card, which takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, airs live on Pay-Per-View and features not just a great main event, but also a very solid undercard full of some excellent bouts.
Here are five things to keep your eyes on during UFC 202.
1) McGregor Looks For Revenge Against Diaz
Heading into 2016, Conor McGregor was really enjoying his life. At 28, McGregor had become the biggest star in MMA and had just knocked out Jose Aldo to win the UFC featherweight title. Young and ultra-confident, McGregor told the UFC he wanted to move up to 155lbs and challenge Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight title, and the two were scheduled to meet in the main event of UFC 196. However, dos Anjos suffered an injury in training and McGregor instead fought Nate Diaz in a short-notice welterweight bout. McGregor was a massive favorite to win, and in the first round of their UFC 196 main event he looked good, but as the fight wore on McGregor began to tire, Diaz started taking over, and after getting rocked on the feet, Diaz tapped McGregor out on the mat in a monumental upset victory.
McGregor was not happy about how the fight went and demanded a rematch, which the UFC obliged him with at UFC 200. However, McGregor did not show up for his media obligations and the promotion cancelled the fight, ultimately re-booking it for the main event of UFC 202. McGregor is the ultimate competitor and there’s no doubt the loss to Diaz has eaten him alive for the last five months. Now, in the main event of UFC 202, McGregor will get his chance to extract revenge in what should be an absolutely phenomenal fight that every MMA fan needs to watch.
2) Diaz Aims To Prove First McGregor Fight Was No Fluke
On the other hand, Diaz is looking to prove wrong all the doubters who said the first McGregor fight was a fluke. After submitting McGregor in the first fight as a huge underdog, it’s incredible how many people are still doubting Diaz, who once again enters as the underdog. Then again, this is common for Diaz, who has been counted out his entire career. But after beating McGregor on the biggest stage, it’s impossible to sleep on him anymore. Diaz is the bigger man once again, and at 31 is in the prime of his career, having won three of his last four fights and looking better and better every time we see him. But again, for whatever reason there are still those who doubt the Stockton native. But if he beats McGregor a second time in the main event of UFC 202, no one will be able to doubt him ever again, and a win will set him up for another massive payday, perhaps against Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title next.
3) Story, Cerrone Clash In Battle Of Surging Welterweights
Here we have two welterweights on hot streaks in a fun main card matchup as Rick Story takes on Donald Cerrone. Story, long underrated in the UFC’s 170lb division, is currently riding a three-fight win streak, having most recently defeated Tarec Saffiedine earlier this year. Now 31, Story has been in the UFC since 2009, and he recently made the decision to train with the Blackzilians. He is firing on all cylinders right now and a few more wins could get him in the title picture. His opponent, Cerrone, 33, is one of the most active fighters on the UFC roster and has already won two fights in 2016. Cerrone has won 10 of his last 11 fights in the Octagon and has gone 2-0 since moving up to welterweight, winning Performance of the Night awards for his stoppage wins over Patrick Cote and Alex Oliviera. Cerrone may move back down to lightweight, but for now he’s a welterweight, and this fight against Story truly has “Fight of the Night” written all over it as both men are extremely durable yet both never stop coming for the entire 15 minutes.
4) Garbrandt Looks For Biggest Career Win Against Veteran Mizugaki
Cody Garbrandt is one of the top prospects in the UFC bantamweight division, and after defeating Thomas Almedia via highlight-reel knockout in his last fight, for his follow-up fight the UFC has given him a tough veteran test in the form of Takeya Mizugaki, who he meets in the FS1 headliner. Gabrandt, 25, is a perfect 9-0 in MMA with eight knockout wins, but he has never faced a battle-tested veteran so far in his career. That all changes against Mizugaki, who has been fighting for 11 years as a pro and who has as much experience as anyone at 135lbs. Mizugaki, 32, is coming off of a decision win over George Roop and although he is no longer a title contender, his wrestling and boxing make him the perfect gatekeeper in the bantamweight division, and the perfect test to see where Garbrandt truly stands in the weight class.
5) Magny, Larkin Look To Rise Up Welterweight Ladder
In a clash between rising welterweight contenders, Neil Magny takes on Lorenz Larkin in what should be an excellent fight that headlines the Fight Pass portion of the card. Magny came into the UFC with little fanfare in 2013 after a failed stint on “The Ultimate Fighter,” and after starting his Octagon tenure 1-2, no one ever thought he would be in the position he’s in today, being ranked in the top-10 as the winner of 10 of his last 11 fights. With his lone loss in three years coming to title contender Demian Maia, and currently riding a three-fight win streak, Magny isn’t far away from nearing the title picture. To get there, he’ll have to get past Lorenz Larkin, who has gone 3-1 since dropping down to welterweight. Both Magny and Larkin, who are both 29, have all the skills necessary to make a run for the 170lb crown, but in a stacked division, both guys need to keep their winning ways alive, making this a top notch matchup that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
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