Preview of UFC 196: Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz

By Owen Phillips     3/3/16     Previews

Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz UFC 196 preview of UFC 196 conor mcgregor vs nate diaz

Conor McGregor. Photo: Dave Mandel/

MMA Files serves up a preview of UFC 196: Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz and three other standout fights that should receive your attention.

Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor (19-2) is back again for another instalment of the cannot-miss real life drama series at UFC 196 in Las Vegas. Another late notice replacement Nate Diaz (18-10) steps up in the absence of lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos (25-7) to accept a non-title welterweight bout with the featherweight champion. If that sounds like a lot of weight classes you would be correct.

Conor McGregor says he does not care about the weight he fights at, the only weight he cares about are the weight of his cheques, and he stated they were “super heavy”. Nate Diaz comes into this welterweight contest with a last start dominant decision victory over Michael Johnson (16-10). Diaz looked motivated and in shape which lead to great timing and movement to capitalise with his perfect jab-cross combinations, avoiding the counter-strikes, then following up with more straight punches.

Johnson didn’t have an answer to a prepared Nate Diaz as his straight punches are normally what gets Johnson home and marking down another ‘W’. McGregor will be a different proposition for Diaz and the primary difference will be speed. McGregor has fantastic movement and will be creating all sorts of alternating looks for Diaz.

McGregor will look to his array of kicks to wear down Diaz. Mixing up kicks to the body and the head. His fast hand combinations will be important to try to overwhelm Diaz, keep him subdued and backing up to the cage.

Diaz has a reach of 76 inches (193cm) and can use his two inch reach advantage over McGregor with his straight punches and his excellent boxing game. It will important to remind McGregor he is in a fight with regular use of his solid jab, follow up with other strikes to earn McGregor’s respect. To stifle McGregor, Diaz has to be able to hurt McGregor early on the feet to set the tone for the fight and not get worn down by McGregor’s creative and constant output.

It will interesting if there is any sort of ground battle. Conor McGregor has not gone for a takedown since the fight with Max Holloway when he hurt his knee during the fight and was not comfortable on the feet after that moment. He managed to control Holloway on the ground from top position and score consistently.

Nate Diaz has a very active guard from his back and can pull off fight-ending triangles from that position. He is comfortable there and will threaten McGregor from that position. Maybe Diaz could throw in a takedown to mix things up and attack in an area that has the most unknowns for McGregor.

This matchup is going to be a dream for fight fans. Two similar characters who like to throw strong words at their opponents in a quest for an advantage, neither one will be bothered by the other’s verbal attacks. The outcome of Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz will determine some fairly significant pairings for the future and to see these warriors square-off at UFC 196 will be an absolute spectacle.

Miesha Tate is back in the spotlight but will life get any easier the third time around

Holly ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ Holm (10-0) defends her women’s bantamweight title for the first time against two-time title challenger Miesha ‘Cupcake’ Tate (17-5) since Holm dramatically grasped the belt from Ronda Rousey (12-1) last November in Melbourne, Australia. In a thoroughly dominant performance, Holm played the perfect fight and dismantled every attempt by Rousey to succeed in the fight. She hurt Rousey with her high level boxing and kickboxing, and finished the fight with a scintillating head kick, followed up with the final belt-clinching hammer fists.

Miesha Tate has been performing very well and has been the second best bantamweight competitor for a long time. After two losses to Rousey, it was unlikely she was going to get another shot at the belt. Once Rousey lost the belt, it opened up a whole new opportunity for Tate.

As dominant as Holm was against Rousey, Tate brings a different set of skills that will present a new challenge to the champion. Tate is a really good wrestler and the threat of the takedown will be more present than with Rousey, but Rousey is more clinical with the finish once it goes to the mat. Tate can control opponents on the ground, and this could be vital to her success against Holm.

Tate has improving striking skills and is becoming more confident standing with the best in the division. Her striking will be tested because Holly Holm has the best striking in the women’s bantamweight division. There is no-one who is close to Holm in this department due to her experience as a world champion boxer and Tate will have to put on her best striking performance yet to match Holm.

Miesha Tate is one of the most competitive fighters that exists and she never quits in a fight. This preview of UFC 196 feels these attributes will give her a great chance against an unbeaten Holm and will make sure this women’s bantamweight championship fight lives long in the memory for fans. The champion Holly Holm will be looking to extend her reign at the top of the 135 pound (61.2kg) division and add another highlight-reel finish to her CV.

Will the real Erick Silva enter the octagon

On the Fox Sports preliminary card for UFC 196: Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz is a collision between two welterweights who know how to put on a scrap, Erick Silva (18-6, 1NC) and Nordine Taleb (11-3). Silva did not look like himself in his last fight against fill-in opponent Neil Magny (17-4). He is usually an explosive athlete who can finish fights in devastating fashion.

Nordine Taleb has been quietly building a 3-1 record in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and suffered his first UFC loss in his last start against Warrley Alves (10-0) where he was submitted in a guillotine choke. Taleb is very resilient and will need this to survive the early barrage expected from Erick Silva. Silva likes to get in and and get out, as you would assume he is not getting paid by the minute.

The key for Taleb is firing back at Silva with good hands and closing the distance. It is safer in the clinch against Silva and doesn’t allow him to be creative with his striking. Silva can throw in flying knees and powerful kicks, which set up submission finishes.

Silva is known to slow down after the first round and this is what happened against Neil Magny. This preview of UFC 196 feels if Taleb can make it through the first round, stay technical with his striking and keep the pressure on, he will have his best chance against Silva who may become sloppier as the fight wears on. This fight looks like it will have a lot of action packed into a short period of time so do not miss it.

Lightweight veterans who know how to put on a show

On the UFC Fight Pass preliminary card there is a sensational pairing of experienced mixed martial arts (MMA) entertainers Jim Miller (25-7, 1NC) and Diego Sanchez (25-8). Both fighters are in desperate need for a win to improve their 1-3 record in the last four bouts to consolidate their longstanding position on the UFC roster. This matchup conjures up visions for a potential fight-of-the-night.

This sort of fight is the expectation when these two enter the octagon. Sanchez with want to turn it into a wild, crazy brawl with winging punches and I am sure Jim Miller will be happy to oblige but will want to stay more technical. The skills of these fighters mean it could be fantastic on the ground too.

Diego Sanchez was valiant in defeat as he experienced featherweight against perennial contender Ricardo Lamas (16-4). More technical strikers have troubled Sanchez with his wild style and his propensity to take a lot of damage to look for that knockout shot. The truth is he has only been stopped once in his professional MMA career and that was due to a cut against B.J. Penn (16-10-2).

This durability complements his style but it lends to being out-struck and being on the wrong side of the judges scorecards. If he was only to be slightly more technical and move a bit more he could get a few more victories, but then it wouldn’t be the Diego Sanchez that we know and love. This preview of UFC 196 expects Miller will be looking to exploit this style and score heavily on the feet and try to finish the fight.

Miller is another fighter who just wants to get in and get out of the octagon and get paid. He seems disappointed to go to a decision and does everything he can to stop his opponent, utilising good hands, brutal elbows in close and a quality ground game. When Miller meets Sanchez early in the UFC 196: Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz line-up, this is the perfect fight to get you salivating for the rest of the quality doses of beautiful violence. UFC 196 takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday 6th March (Australian time) and the main card can be seen on pay-per-view and two preliminary cards on Fox Sports and UFC Fight Pass.