It was an amazing night for UFC 202, which was marred by a controversial decision.
The main card was filled with TKOs, including Donald Cerrone’s TKO of Rick Story in the second round and Anthony Johnson’s 13-second uppercut victory over Glover Teixeira.
After those two consecutive victories, we were ready for the main event.
Conor McGregor strutted into the Octagon to The Notorious B.I.G. The confidence and arrogance was very visible from the start of the current UFC Featherweight Champion.
Nate Diaz, his opponent, entered next to Tupac Shakur. The crowd clearly loved McGregor from the start.
Anticipation was successfully built for this fight. No more bottles would be thrown at press conferences. The time for talking was over.
When referee John McCarthy signaled the bout to start, both men were very patient throughout. There was no sense of urgency throughout the fight.
McGregor won the first round with strategic strikes. Diaz won the third round with a flurry of rights and lefts.
While watching this fight, I had a hard time scoring it. I’ve seen tough fights before with a clear winner and loser when going the distance. Yet, this one was a very tricky one.
Diaz landed more strikes in the second and third rounds, but McGregor landed more in the rest of the rounds. His combination of leg kicks and short elbows did the trick. Avoiding Diaz on the ground also proved beneficial to McGregor. He learned from his mistakes to not take on Diaz on the ground, which was in his opponent’s wheelhouse.
The fatigue showed on both men, with McGregor breathing heavy and Diaz wearing the crimson mask of blood. Each man scored a takedown in the last round, but it all depended on the judges.
The judges gave the victory to McGregor via majority decision (48-47, 47-47, 48-47). That’s actually the one problem I have with this bout. Yes, a victory is a victory. But the majority decision just seems cheap.
If you look at the fight, McGregor maintained control. It wasn’t a dominating performance. However, it was very telling when McGregor kept the fight standing. He didn’t even rush in to finish Diaz when he could’ve in respect of Diaz’s ground game.
Perhaps that’s why the scoring went the way it did. Maybe they preferred tenacity instead of tactical precision.
Regardless, this shouldn’t be enough to satisfy the fans. Conor McGregor shouldn’t be completely satisfied with his victory either.
Nate Diaz is the man that made Conor McGregor tap out in their first encounter. The psychological advantage will still go to Diaz if they have an inevitable third bout.
If that’s the case, McGregor needs to finish Diaz. He needs to prove that he can finish off his bane instead of surviving it.
Yes, it’s a cause for celebration in the McGregor camp. But caution must be considered the next time Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz battle once more.
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