UFC 202 Odds and Prediction: Will Conor McGregor Get His Revenge?
Published on August 18, 2016
UFC fans get the battle they’ve been waiting for, as Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz are set to finally butt heads again this Saturday at the much-hyped UFC 202.
There have been other huge fights in the UFC this year and we actually just got done with a massive UFC 200 event, but it feels like there is extra intensity associated with this rematch.
Diaz got the best of McGregor when they first went head to head back at UFC 196, when Notorious opted to jump up a weight class to see if he could take down bigger fighters. The two ensued in a total blood bath, exchanging blows in a borderline epic contest.
Of course, McGregor entered as the favorite due to his prior dominance in the UFC, while his big name surely added to the fight’s allure. Diaz was always known as a tenacious fighter who was tough and scrappy, but many still felt McGregor would complete his transition to the next level with a big win.
That didn’t happen. McGregor certainly delivered numerous blows to Diaz, but none of them stuck and Diaz ended up taking the Irishman to the ground and submitting him via a rear naked choke:
McGregor is a terrific MMA fighter, but he’s been a lot of show over the last several months.
Conor McGregor certainly had a lot to say about this fight.
— BJ PENN (@bjpenndotcom)
From stalking Jose Aldo in the crowd at UFC 200, to rumors of a potential superfight boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr., the guy has been everywhere, yet hasn’t fought in what feels like forever.
That certainly doesn’t mean he won’t be prepared. In fact, McGregor is probably in the best shape of his life and more dialed in and determined than ever.
Of course, Diaz is not one to lose focus or get caught up in the moment. He was excited about the prospect of forcing Notorious back down a notch or two the first time they locked horns and there’s no doubt he’s going to relish the opportunity to sweep one of the most popular UFC fighters of all-time.
The hype surrounding this fight is what makes it, and these guys have added to the fire with their outside-the-octagon comments, as well as their pre-fight antics.
Their weigh-in understandably didn’t go quietly, while McGregor was even seen throwing water bottles (or cans?) in Diaz’s direction:
The Irish cannon.
— Thomas Duffy (@TJDhoops)
Yeah, it’s going to be a fun fight.
As amazing as this rematch might be, we need to pause and appreciate the fact that it’s merely the top fight on a pretty sweet UFC 202 slate. Here’s a look at the full fight card and the odds for each matchup:
The other big fight on this card without a doubt is Johnson versus Teixeira. Johnson (-200) enters as the clear favorite over Teixeira (+160), although both fighters have been impressive thus far in their careers.
With Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar facing PED bans, this is more than just a fun fight between two smashers, though. This battle could dictate .
No one knows for sure how to grade this one, as this is the first meeting for two dominant grinders. Johnson’s struggles have come on the ground via submission, where four of his five losses have come. He’s simply not a guy to stand up and fight with, as he owns 15 KO’s in his career and comes in rather hot, winning 11 of his last 12 fights. In fact, his only loss during that span was to current champ, Daniel Cormier.
Johnson is an easy call as the favorite with his resume alone, but we can’t discount Teixeira, who comes into Saturday with three straight wins. Three of his four career losses have gone the distance (Decisions), with one of his recent defeats coming by the hands of the mighty Jon Jones.
Teixeira was on quite a run before dropping back-to-back decisions to Jones and Phil Davis, as he at one point rattled off 20 wins in a row. Johnson is still the favorite and the guy we’d take here, but any hope for a knockout may be a bit of a reach.
The third big story-line at UFC 202 rests with Donald Cerrone (-165), who has worked his way into the title shot conversation at welterweight.
He’s not there yet, but if he can take down Rick Story (+135) this weekend, the argument against him certainly weakens. Cerrone has a terrific career in the UFC, but he’s heated up recently with 11 wins in his last 13 fights. In fact, his two losses during that run have both come against former champ, Rafael dos Anjos.
That alone tells you Cerrone is a ferocious fighter and that he won’t quit until he gets another shot at a belt. Story won’t go down easily, of course, as he also comes in determined, riding a three-fight win streak. Story shouldn’t be taken lightly by Cerrone or MMA fans, but we’re still taking a dialed in Cerrone to march one step closer to a title shot.
There isn’t a ton of excitement in the preliminary cards, but one guy worth keeping an eye on could be Cody Garbrandt (-550) who carries a perfect 9-0 record against the experienced Takeya Mizugaki (+375). Garbrandt has been on a rampage with eight knockouts in nine tries and understandably enters the weekend as the heavy favorite. He could make the build up more exciting and feels like a safe bet to get to 10-0.
While the card leading up to McGregor versus Diaz is a fun watch and could pull you into some UFC betting, we all know why we’re here. It’s on to the big fight:
Bovada is not giving MMA bettors much wiggle room here, as McGregor enters as a very mild favorite (-130) and Diaz enters with Even odds. In what is virtually a pick’em, the only way this fight is fun is if you go hard after your guy.
The crazy part is logic can point you in either direction. McGregor absolutely has the power, experience, focus and stand-up striking ability to go toe to toe with Diaz and he’s even predicted a win in round two.
That very well could be the case, but we can’t just go into this thinking “McGregor wins because he wants to”. Diaz is no punk. He’s been around the block in the UFC and while he’s lost his fair share of battles, eight of his 10 failures have come by decision.
In other words, the dude is tough as nails and McGregor mashing him to bits in two rounds is a tad hard to buy.
Still, McGregor didn’t get here by accident, either. The guy can brawl and even in his loss to Diaz, we saw him stand tall and deliver some nasty punches. He messed Diaz up a bit and while he ended up tapping out, he can still dominate this matchup if he keeps the fight in front of him and doesn’t get flustered.
McGregor clearly got a little rattled in the first meeting, as he seemed to think Diaz would be easier to take out if he just smacked him around like most fighters. That wasn’t the case, and McGregor not only failed to adjust, but he tired himself out and allowed the fight to get to the ground.
Revenge isn’t the sole reason you’ll want to back McGregor this weekend, but it can be a driving force. The sheer reality of rematches not usually going the same way the first fight did also plays into this. McGregor wasn’t really prepared for Diaz being such a tough task, and as brash as he is, there is no way he’s taking Diaz lightly this time around.
McGregor needs to protect his image and set himself up for an even bigger fight going forward. For him to do that, he needs to find a way to put Nate Diaz in the rearview mirror. We don’t love this fight for betting purposes, but we think Notorious will get it done and if you’re going to bet big, he’s your man on Saturday.