How the Bookies See it
- Winner: Nate Diaz 21/20, Conor McGregor 5/6 - Ladbrokes
- Winner: Anthony Johnson 1/2, Glover Teixeira 13/8 - Sky Bet
- Winner: Donald Cerrone 8/15, Rick Story 6/4 - BetVictor
Nate Diaz vs Conor McGregor
The original fight between these two took place back at UFC 196 in March 2016, coming together at late notice due to an injury sustained by Rafael Dos Anjos, who was due to fight McGregor for the lightweight title. Less than two weeks before the fight, Dos Anjos pulled out due to an injury and Diaz stepped in. Due to the short notice, both fighters agreed to a welterweight contest and the rematch will take place at the same weight at the request of McGregor.
With seven straight wins since entering the UFC and a thirteen second knockout of the previous featherweight champion Jose Aldo in his last fight, Conor McGregor came into the first fight with a mountain of hype behind him. He dominated the first round and bloodied the face of Diaz in the second before visibly gassing and, with a desperate attempt at a take down after being rocking by Diaz with just over a minute left in the round, had his back taken and tapped to a rear naked choke.
McGregor is the bookies favourite going in this fight, but the margins are tight. Many fans are convinced that Diaz will do the same again, but before putting any money down you should consider a few things.
Firstly, the original fight was taken at short notice and at a different weight class than McGregor was training towards. Carrying that extra body weight seemed to slow the Irishman down significantly in the second round leading to the desperate takedown, which contributed to the finish. Will training to fight at this new weight make the 28-year-old reduce the risk of him gassing out so quickly again?
Equally, Nate Diaz didn't have time to train for the first contest and with a full fight camp behind him, he should be in much better shape should the fight go into the later rounds. Diaz is a very durable fighter who has only been finished twice (one TKO and one submission) in 29 fights. Putting the Stockton native away is a tough task and McGregor has never fought a full 5 round fight to a decision.
The significant reach advantage held by Diaz could also play its part again. Diaz was able to find his range in the second round of the last fight, which landed time after time. Expect plenty of leg kicks from McGregor to disrupt Diaz's attacks on the feet in a similar way Dos Anjos did with great effect to take out the lead leg of the American.
Finally, Diaz will almost certainly hold an advantage on the ground with submissions. His Brazilian jiu-jitsu training under Cesar Gracie is at a very high level and UFC fans haven't seen too much on the ground with submission defence from McGregor to date.
The odds are very close for a reason, this really is difficult fight to predict. Nate Diaz has the reach and size that may be too much for Conor to handle. Many fans would love to see the "Notorious" McGregor have his hand raised in victory at the end of the fight, which could possibly give us a trilogy decider, but the 31-year-old American could be worth backing.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Nate Diaz to win - 21/20 with Ladbrokes
Anthony Johnson vs Glover Teixeira
A scrap between two hard hitters that could determine the next challenger to Daniel Cormier's light heavyweight title acts as the co-main event. Johnson comes into the bout on a two fight winning streak, while Teixeira enters the cage having won his last three.
Since his return to the UFC, Anthony Johnson has looked very impressive at light heavyweight. Despite falling short against Cormier in their interim title fight at UFC 187, Johnson has bounced back with two KO victories against Brit Jimi Manuwa and Ultimate Fighter season 8 winner Ryan Bader.
Since losing against Jon Jones at UFC 172 in his bid for the belt Teixeira has a 3-1 record, besting Ultimate Fighter 2 winner Rashad Evans in his last fight.
Chances are this fight will take place almost entirely on the feet. Both men have heavy hands, but Johnson holds the advantage in the wrestling.
Anthony Johnson looks to have the edge in this match-up. A five round main event between these two titans could see some punters tip Glover for the win, as Anthony has been known to gas quickly. However, with this only being a three round fight, Johnson should be able to throw a number of heavy shots and control the Brazilian with his wrestling ability.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Anthony Johnson - 1/2 with Sky Bet
Donald Cerrone vs Rick Story
Fans’ favourite Donald Cerrone fights at welterweight for the third time in a match that will also be his third fight this year. The American has stepped up a weight class following his unsuccessful bout with Rafael Dos Anjos for the lightweight title in December 2015. Cerrone comes into the octagon after what was deemed by many to be the best performance of his career against UFC veteran Patrick Cote, where he stopped the Canadian with strikes on the ground in the 3rd round.
Rick Story will also enter the cage on the back of a three fight winning streak, though he has only fought once in almost two years, boasting a professional MMA record of 19-8. He has only been finished once; a first round submission loss to Demian Maia back in 2012.
Donald seems to have found his feet at welterweight, but Rick Story will be a very tough test. Expect Cerrone to use his striking to dominate Story and that could tempt some punters to put their money on a Cerrone submission victory.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Donald Cerrone to win - 8/15 with BetVictor
*Please note that odds may fluctuate.