UFC 196 Expert Analysis and Breakdown

With less than two weeks notice, Nate Diaz has stepped up to fight Conor McGregor at UFC 196. With the fight sure to be filled with exciting exchanges and unpredictable action, we spoke to UFC commentator Jon Anik to get his take on the fight. 

“I was going to pick McGregor to beat Rafael dos Anjos and, with all due respect to Diaz, who is one of the most watchable fighters on the roster, I believe this matchup to be even more favorable for McGregor,” Anik says.

There is no doubt that the skill difference between dos Anjos and Diaz are sizeable, but the youngest Diaz brother has an intriguing skill set that could make for an exciting fight.

“Diaz poses some problems with his volume boxing and possesses an outstanding chin,” Anik explains. “That said, McGregor doesn't have to worry about the threat of the takedown and that has got to be a scary proposition for anyone looking to fade McGregor at the window.”

This will be the first time we see ‘The Notorious One’ fight at welterweight, which means he is coming into the fight nearly 30 lbs higher than his last fight. Though some may look at this as a potential hindrance, Anik does not see that being an issue for the Irishman.

“I believe McGregor has a decided power advantage, and will be buoyed by the fact that he doesn't have to cut weight.”

Despite the fact that McGregor has routinely fought at 145 lbs, with some lightweight fights in his early days, he has still had ridiculous knockout power. Of McGregor’s 19 career wins, 17 have come by T/KO with 13 of those coming within the first round.

“Until McGregor loses in the UFC, I think you've gotta consider playing him almost regardless of price. If laying the [chalk] gives you pause here, I would look at a prop bet for McGregor to win by first-round TKO. No one knows the extent to which Diaz had been training leading up to this short-notice opportunity, but I will always favor the guy who has been preparing for a date over the last-minute replacement types.”

Diaz has an iron chin, only succumbing to a T/KO loss once in his career, but he is a brawler. Diaz gets into striking contests, which is probably the wrong thing to do against McGregor.

“I don't think Diaz will be able to hold up under McGregor's pace, pressure, and power,” says Anik. “I think Conor gets Diaz out of there late in the first round of what will be a wildly exciting fight, as long as it lasts.”

Co-Main Event: Holly Holm vs Miesha Tate

Holly Holm will have her first title defense when she takes on perennial contender Meisha Tate in the co-main event of UFC 196. This card will be the first time since UFC 51 that a non-title fight will headline over a title fight. Despite McGregor drawing the headlines, this bout is expected to be a true test of Holm's championship ability.

“For Holm, I think the matchup against Miesha Tate in her first title defense is a more favorable one than a rematch with [Ronda] Rousey would've been,” Anik theorizes. “Holm will have a decided size and striking advantage here.”

Holm, a multiple time world champion boxer, has only been getting more comfortable in the Octagon as well. In three fights within the UFC, ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ has gone from split decision victory to unanimous decision victory to the KO victory over Rousey.

However, Anik will be in no rush to blindly back Holm in the title fight.

“You won't find me in any great rush to fade Tate. Miesha has more than earned this opportunity with an outstanding 4-fight winning streak, punctuated by 2015 triumphs over Sara McMann and Jessica Eye. Tate has always been able to lean on her trademark toughness and guile and now with Robert Follis as her chief corner, we have seen Tate make great strides with her striking and her overall fight IQ.”

Tate, who is still only 29, has been one of the best woman’s fighters on the planet for years. Her grit and determination have made it next to impossible to beat ‘Cupcake,’ especially when a fight goes the distance (eight career decision victories vs one decision loss).

After a dominant performance against the once, seemingly, unbeatable Ronda Rousey, Holm is coming into this fight as a massive favorite.

“Holm deserves to be favored, but the price seems inflated to me,” Anik says. “Tate has a lot of championship experience she can lean on and, if she can land an early takedown, perhaps she can dictate how the rest of the fight plays out.”

Ultimately, this fight should be exciting to watch. Seeing Holm’s amazing striking ability against Tate’s toughness and ground superiority could lead to an exciting, back-and-forth fight.

“I think the fight is more competitive than the current odds would suggest, but I don't advocate a play on either fighter. Sit back, have a cold one, and enjoy.”

UFC 196: Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz Odds
  • Conor McGregor -400
  • Nate Diaz +300
Odds as of March 4 at Sportsbook
UFC 196: Holly Holm vs Miesha Tate Odds
  • Holly Holm -300
  • Miesha Tate +230
Odds as of March 4 at Sportsbook