Mayweather vs McGregor

Just two days to go until the fight everyone is talking about. The fight that looks to smash every pay-per-view record and make Mayweather and McGregor a minimum of nine figures each. The biggest star in boxing will face the biggest star from UFC in front of a packed T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas.

Following months of speculation as to whether this fight would ever take place, the build-up has had everything from hostility to outright madness. On one side we have the greatest boxer of our generation, with wins against Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez and Oscar DeLahoya amongst many other future hall of fame names that comprise a perfect 49-0 boxing record. On the other we have an Irish fighter who has never taken part in a professional boxing fight.

A money-spinning abomination certainly but also a fight that many won’t be able to resist watching. In some ways it’s a shame as the fight has taken the spotlight away from great upcoming fights coming up such as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez for Sor Rungvisai’s WBC junior bantamweight title. And who can forget the fight of the year coming up on September 16th between Gennady Golovkin and  Canelo Alvarez for Golovkin’s WBA/IBF/WBC middleweight title.

Even a fight on the Mayweather McGregor undercard between Nathan Cleverly and  vs. Badou Jack should prove more competitive.  But money talks, as the betting markets show….

McGregor opened at about 10/1 and is now as low as 3/1, which is absolutely bewildering. The incomprehensible nature of this betting pattern can only be explained by people backing the UFC star. But isn’t that the key point? He is a UFC star. Not the greatest boxer of our generation.

The other explanation is that people are reading heavily into the recent change of gloves. Originally the combatants were set to use the traditional 10oz boxing gloves but against safety advice, they have been reduced to 8oz. The Irishman has declared that this is ‘only half a fight’ with limited rules and he has mocked the boxer for being totalitarian in having everything his way but ‘Money’ has appeased the UFC star in this aspect.

Conversely, as someone who has followed Mayweather’s career closely for around 15 years, it is fair to say “Money” (or formerly “Pretty boy in his Super-featherweight days) is always in control. He has a consummate and unparalleled belief in his own ability such that a 2oz gloves difference shouldn’t deter this.

McGregor is a skilled Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, who to be fair excels at stand up punching more than any of the other disciplines that make up MMA. However, he isn’t even the best “boxer” within the UFC brand of MMA. Masvidal, for one, has a superior left hook and jab. Garbrandt is probably the best pure boxer in MMA right now.

Excellent footwork, unreal head movement and really tight hooks. The square-on MMA stance is very different from the boxing one as you have to defend kicks and take downs, not just punches, and your weight is proportioned slightly forward so that you can spring back more easily. There is also a lot less standing up close up “In-fighting” as MMA fighters rarely have to adjust their weight on the inside. So you have all of that adjustment on one side and on the other side you have Floyd Mayweather- a man without a weakness in the squared circle.

A victory for Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) would eclipse the revered record of Rocky Marciano, who retired as heavyweight champion in 1955 with a record of 49-0 and 43 knockouts. Critics of the fight, focused exclusively on McGregor’s lack of professional boxing experience, have labelled it a circus and claimed it should be considered an exhibition match rather than a sanctioned fight.

In fact, the Nevada State Athletic Commission has been widely panned for approving the match up between the greatest boxer of his era and one making his boxing debut with many labelling it as an exhibition” match. Amongst them is Rocky Marciano Jr., the son of the late legendary heavyweight, quoted as saying “No matter what happens, I don’t think it should go towards Mayweather’s professional career [record], win or lose.”

I can’t recall giving a fighter such little chance in a fight of this magnitude but the fact remains there is ALWAYS a chance. My hero Muhammad Ali beat Sonny Liston in 1964 when Heavyweight champion Liston had a record of 35-1 and was a brutal physical presence in the ring, registering 15 knockouts in his previous 17 fights. Ali (Clay at the time) was a 22-year-old and first-time challenger; a heavy 7-1 underdog going into the fight. The fight ended with Liston bowing out on his chair between the sixth and seventh rounds.

A bigger upset and perhaps the biggest ever in a boxing ring occurred when James “Buster” Douglas beat Mike Tyson in 1990. Tyson was in imperious form, undefeated in 37 fights and holder of the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, and the most feared man on the planet. Bar none. Tyson got knocked out. Would a victory for McGregor surpass the Tyson upset? The fact that this is McGregor’s professional boxing debut means is has to.

After a couple of months of pretending the fight didn’t exist I’ve given up and no doubt, as so often before, I’ll be staying up bleary eyed until the early hours of Sunday morning to watch live. That part of it is a conclusion I’ve already fully accepted. The result is also already a foregone conclusion.

I think.



Fight Weekend

David Haye vs Tony Bellew

WBC cruiserweight champion Bellew defied most predictions to beat Haye, on his heavyweight debut, and he now has 29 wins and a draw from 32 fights.

The fight changed when Haye injured his Achilles in round six, Bellew had damaged both hands by round four and each was forced to take more punishment than they have at any point in their careers. I personally had Haye winning 4-1 before the turning point in the sixth round and have no doubt he would have gone on to win the fight. There was a rapid improvement in Haye’s timing by round four and the fight’s ferocity eased slightly as it slipped away from the rounds when Haye was favoured and into the rounds that Bellew was expected to perform better in.

It was sad to see as a huge Haye fan, at one point he needed the ropes to steady his body as he desperately tried to get back to his corner and continue fighting with one leg. Bellew has to be given credit for taking Haye’s best shots and doing what he needed to do. Calling out Wilder after the fight was a little embarrassing, though Eddie Hearn will always make sure he takes the embarrassing crown home, refusing to even acknowledging the injury. OF course, Haye knew better after the toe circus to keep quiet.

Tony Bellew said he feared for David Haye’s safety and asked the heavyweight and his corner to end Saturday’s fight at the O2 Arena before he scored an 11th-round stoppage. Bellew added: “The biggest one-punching heavyweight in the world couldn’t put a dent in me. There’s a new sheriff in town.”

Haye was a devastating Cruiserweight with elusiveness, speed and explosive power like this country has never produced. Bellew has always referred to Haye as an elite and truly special fighter. His performances against Mormeck and Maccarinelli are testament to that. Conversely, in the first few rounds it was clear the speed just wasn’t there. His weapon against the top heavyweights hasn’t been seen for five years. Even with the victory against Bellew, I would no longer fancy his chances against the big boys. Part of the issue has always been the fact that Haye has come up from the Cruiserweight after outgrowing the division to Heavyweight were he essentially has to choose between sacrificing speed at 16stone or risk being out-muscled at 15st by the man mountains across today’s heavyweight mountain. There doesn’t appear to be a happy medium and unfortunately for Haye, there doesn’t exist division in between Cruiserweight and Heavyweight.

David Haye has had surgery on the Achilles tendon he ruptured during Saturday night’s heavyweight defeat by Tony Bellew in London.There’s definitely a back story here, which I hope we find out one day. Was Haye injured and thought he’d still have enough to beat Bellew? Did he just hope he’d be able to blast him out quickly knowing that if he pulled out the fight beforehand no promoter would take him seriously again? A victory for Haye would have set up some mega fights but father time has caught up with one of the top 3 cruiserweights of all time (Holyfield and DeLeon being the other two). Although maybe that’s the key word- Cruiserweight.


Keith Thurman vs Danny Garcia- WBC & WBA welterweight world title

Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) earned a split-decision victory over Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs), unifying the division’s WBA and WBC world titles.

Thurman landed some big shots in the third round and controlled the pace of the first half of the fight. You could argue he was 3-0 up by the end of the third round. Round ten was probably the best round for Garcia who counter-puncher and boxed beautifully in this round. Garcia took Thurman’s power leads as best he could, and his excellent timing and technique allowed him to land a few of his patented counter hooks. In fairness, Thurman showed strong versatility in this bout and as the fight came to a close, Thurman opted to coast, confident in the work he had done earlier in the bout.

I’ve always been uneasy about split decisions. For you football fan’s I guess it’s like the lino giving a penalty and the ref overruling it. I prefer Garcia as a fighter, but for the good of the sport I would have liked one guy to really stand out and be the man at welterweight. Sadly, that just didn’t happen. Floyd Mayweather’s legacy seems to be getting better without even fighting. Nevertheless, Thurman got the victory, which places him as the number 2 welterweight behind the semi-retired Pacman.


Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson- UFC 209

Tyron Woodley retained his belt in with a majority draw decision. In all honesty, it wasn’t a great main event. They’ve now had two fights and outside of two takedowns and two knockdown flurries (in the fourth round of the first fight and the fifth of the second) by Woodley, the two fights haven’t exactly wetted the appetite for the trilogy.

This was Thompson’s big moment, so why didn’t he do more?  Naturally, he isn’t a wary fighter, but he’s always attuned to what his opponent is trying to do. If his opponent wants to push the pace, Thompson will make use of that by gauging the timing and range and then responding with counters. If his opponent wants to chase, Thompson becomes the aggressor. At this point, we have to come to terms with who Woodley is. He’s a low-output grinder who sucks opponents into his slow pace and then tries to produce a big moment, either a knockout or something else dramatic. That’s his game, and it works for him.

Australian Open 2017 –

The first Grand slam of the year gets underway today in Melbourne, Australia. Always an exciting slam with players coming back from the off-season. Who’s kept active? Who’s taken well-deserved rest? Who’s started the year with a bang? All will unfold over the two weeks in what a lot of the top players call their favourite major due to the friendly atmosphere, easy accessibility, vibrant crowds and incredible hospitality and professionalism of the tournament organisers.

Will Novak Djokovic capture his unprecedented seventh Aussie Open crown? Will Andy Murray finally break through to win his first? Will Serena Williams pass Steffi Graf with her Open Era-record 23rd Slam title? Can Angelique Kerber defend her title?


Men’s Champ: Novak Djokovic

Sir Andy Murray (as we now must refer to him), overtook Djokovic for the Number 1 spot late last year, but Djokovic is pretty much Mr. Melbourne. He has tasted victory in five of the past six years and his phenomenal conditioning has allowed him to prevail while others wilt in the heat Down Under.

It could be said that Djokovic is heading into the Australian Open with a little uncertainty after splitting with coach Boris Becker and playing inconsistently late in 2016, but he will be sure to have gained confidence after beating Muzza in the final of Doha. He has also been gifted an easy draw (bar a tough first round match against Fernando Verdasco) and therefore I’m calling Djokovic to chalk up another major and take him one slam behind Rafa and Pete in the all time men’s singles list.

Women’s Champ: Karolína Plíšková

Plíšková’s rise up the rankings has caught my eye of late and I believe she is in good stead to end the two weeks in Melbourne victorious. The world Number 5 had an impressive hard court season last year and reached the final at the US Open with a statement win over Serena, before losing to Kerber in a hard-fought three-setter. It’s important to remember she is a former Australian Open junior champion and I believe this is her time to shine under the bright lights of Melbourne.

Men’s – dark horses…

Grigor Dimitrov: Playing well again after a couple of fairly dull years.

Nick Kyrgios: Will the emotional maturity catch up to the talent?

Alexander Zverev: Can he string it together over two weeks against the big boys?

Women’s – dark horses…

Elina Svitolina: A few big results, including wins over Serena and Kerber. Can she do it in a major?

Genie Bouchard: Is the magic back?

Naomi Osaka: If she can get past Konta in the 2nd round, the draw could really open up for her.

Match I’m most looking forward to…

Rafael Nadal vs. Gael Monfils, Round of 16

Don’t really need to give too much of an explanation here. The blistering shot-making and remarkable defence of both players means you just need to get the popcorn out, put your feet up and enjoy the show as it unfolds. Vamos Rafa!

Edward Harvey

Team Chunky – DeGale vs Jack – Sofa Sports News

James DeGale says he will ‘finally get the respect he deserves’ when he beats Badou Jack in the biggest test of his career this weekend. Jack does not boast a high-profile on these shores but, as George Groves already knows, the Swedish-born boxer should not be taken lightly. “I’m feeling really good – it’s the one I’ve wanted. Champ versus champ, best versus the best. He’s underrated. If I’m being honest the only reason why this fight hasn’t happened quicker is because Badou Jack didn’t want it.


On the road…

DeGale is no stranger to travelling, even as far back as in 2010 when the Londoner traveled to Liverpool and stopped local favourite Paul Smith to win the British title.

After that impressive showing, a contentious loss to bitter rival George Groves looked to have dented his dreams. However, DeGale rebuilt and in 2015 beat Andre Dirrell in Boston for world honours.

DeGale and Jack defended their titles in separate fights on the same show in April when James outpointed Rogelio Medina and Badou drew with Lucien Bute, whom DeGale had previously beaten.


The IBF super middleweight champion has added a nutritionist/strength coach to his team. Unbelievably (or worryingly believably if you are into your boxing) this is the first time DeGale has hired a specialist to supplement his boxing training since turning Pro 8 years ago.

It’s crazy actually, because I’ve been boxing at the top level for a long time, since the [2008 Summer] Olympics. I’d done a little bit of strength and conditioning with the Great Britain squad. But when I turned pro I just used to do bits and pieces with my actual coach, my boxing coach, Jim McDonnell. We used to do like little circuits. But the sports science side, I haven’t done nothing.”

Even in the Dirrel fight I remember DeGale fading in the last 3 rounds or the championship rounds as they are commonly known.

DeGale has been quoted recently as wanting to stay at 168lb and resist the temptation to move up to 175lb anytime soon. “I do the weight easy,” DeGale said. “It’s the perfect weight for me. I’m strong at the weight and I think on the 14th Jan you are gonna see a big, big difference – how solid I am, how strong I am, my power. You’re gonna see a big difference.”


The Fight…

This Saturday night (early hours for UK fans), IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale and WBC champ Badou Jack will be mixing it up in a unification match on January 14 at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York. The DeGale vs. Badou match-up will be televised on Showtime Championship Boxing in the U.S. and on Sky Sports in the UK.

The DeGale-Jack fight has been long in the making and I’m looking forward to finally settling this is in the ring. Throw Chudinov, Groves, Callum Smith and Ramirez into the mix and you’ve got a tasty super-middleweight division. “Badou Jack has got a lot of confidence seeing me go 12 rounds and it was lackluster performance against Medina,” said DeGale.

It’s all a lie,” said Jack about him avoiding the DeGale fight. “I’ve been ready since right after the fight, I told you guys, we could fight in June. I told you I’ve been waiting for Floyd and Leonard to let me know when the date is. I’ve been on Leonard every day for the whole summer.


Final thoughts…

I remember being at the O2 for the boxing in May 2015. In between one of the fights the big screen showed James DeGale and the arena united to give the recently crowned champion a standing ovation.

It was a touching moment, and even more so, when you recall the way he was booed on his professional debut by the UK fans in 2009. It was one of my favourite recent moments watching live boxing.

DeGale himself had no idea the ovation was for him and spent the thirty seconds or so looking round to see what was going on. Discussing the future, Degale remarked “Bottom line, I want to do this right, to get people to say, DeGale, he was a proper fighter. I might not be the best or the most popular but you can’t deny what I’ve done. And my name will always be in the record books”.

You cannot begrudge someone who lets his success do the talking and you certainly have to credit someone who can triumph in the face of adversity when the majority are hoping for his downfall.

People will undoubtedly, as DeGale wishes, refer to him as a “proper fighter”, but for me how he dealt with the sheer negativity surrounding the early years of his career and in particularly following the narrow loss to Groves…….now that’s a proper man. And that counts for everything.


UFC 205 – Alvarez vs McGregor

Fight hype

 One criticism people have of my beloved boxing is that the best fights don’t get made. Unfortunately, it’s impossible for me to disagree against that. Conversely, nearly always in UFC, the best fights DO get made. And as always, when UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor is in town, the press conference is worth tuning in for.

The Irishman attempted to throw a chair at his American opponent at Thursday’s UFC 205 press conference, namely the UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. This is the first matchup of two reigning titleholders since BJ Penn and Georges St-Pierre clashed at UFC 94 back in 2009.

Rocking Gucci mink McGregor exclaimed “The Irish are back, we’ve taken back control of New York, I run New York. I’m driving around in two Rolls Royces out here, one for each gold belt. ‘I predict I rearrange his face, he’s too easily hit. I’m gonna hit him he’s gonna fall”. Alvarez, continuing to relish his hostile reception, replied in confident style. ‘I’ve always been the underground king of this sport, I’ve always been the real UFC champion. It was just a matter of time before I got this belt and no one’s getting it from me.


The Alvarez journey has seen him beat submission ace in Shinya Aoki, beat a  brawler in Patricky Freire and thwarted the ferocious pressure of Rafael dos Anjos. A 12 year career so far, and 32 professional fights later, Alvarez won’t by surprised by much of what the Irishman does in and out of the Octagon. So does Alvarez have anything in common with Diaz ? (the only man to beat McGregor in nearly 6 years). Mentally, both are tough and have underrated footwork. Alvarez lacks Diaz’s excellent jiu-jitsu, but he makes up for it with much stronger wrestling. Once he’s in on his opponent’s hips, Alvarez is relentless, switching from singles to doubles and everything in between while pounding away with short punches in transition

Alvarez is bless with fantastic hand speed. A powerful puncher, Alvarez does his best work on the feet and can be both a pressure fighter or play the more stationary game focused on exchanges in the middle of the cage. As mentioned, his footwork is outstanding; pivoting and sidestepping to find clean angles for his counters and blitzing combinations.

He loves going from a straight right to the body to a left hook upstairs or finishing with a doubled right hand or hook as he steps in on an angle. Against Dos Anjos, for example, Alvarez landed several straight-right counters and then followed with a right-hook counter that staggered the champion.

He’s not the best defensive fighter in terms of avoiding shots, but he’s one of the best at turning his defence into offense. Neither is he a volume puncher and in a pure range-striking matchup, he can be drowned in volume. Lastly, Alvarez is a competent top-position grappler. It would be an exaggeration to call him a submission threat, though, at least against high-level competition.



The southpaw’s left hand is the centrepiece of his approach, and he has a variety of ways of placing it on his opponent’s chin. McGregor’s best work is done moving forward and pressing  his opponent back. Side, front and oblique kicks push his opponent straight back, while spinning kicks attack the space into which his opponent would try to escape to McGregor’s right side. If his opponent tries to escape to his left side, the left hand or a left kick is waiting for him.

McGregor’s reach means he can stay out of range and fire a single left hand at a time. When the opponent tries to circle out along the fence away from the left hand, McGregor lets him escape to that side and pivots slightly as he throws a straight left (inside angle left hand) that catches the opponent across the plane of his body.  In a normal orthodox-southpaw matchup, both fighters try to get their lead foot to the outside of the opponent’s to gain the outside angle. McGregor doesn’t play that game. Instead, he’s happy to let his opponent overcommit to the outside angle, because it creates an opening for the inside angle he likes. It’s a powerful shot because it arrives across the plane of the opponent’s body so his legs can’t bend to absorb its force. Of course, when the inside angle left hand is used effectively as a counter, it can be devastating. Just ask Aldo. On top, he’s a violent ground-striker and a smooth guard-passer who controls with real acumen

The main concern is stamina. Both Diaz fights showed the limit of his gas tank. Unsurprisingly, McGregor has focused on conditioning after the first Diaz fight and hopefully we will see him pressure Alvarez just like Dos Anjos did, rather than start jogging round the cage again.  A secondary concern is the wrestling, especially in the middle of the cage where you can’t use the fence. McGregor has a habit of panicking in transitions and trying to muscle his way out of trouble. It’s not just Diaz who sussed that out. Joe Duffy found an early arm triangle six years ago and how Artemij Sitenkov caught him with a kneebar in 2008.

Fight night

Alvarez has a lot of Diaz in him, with a few notable differences. He lacks the reach and height but makes up for it with speed. He sacrifices submissions in favour of takedowns. He tends to get hurt more frequently but has never once been knocked out; and he does indeed have the conditioning that McGregor lacks.


I expect McGregor to pressure Alvarez toward the fence which leaves Alvarez to either pressure back or adopting the kind of wrestling that stifled Pettis. I’d personally stay away from the counter strategy he used against Dos Anjos, another southpaw pressure fighter. Unless he feels that his counterpunching can overcome the Irishman’s aggression, which leaves McGregor inevitably open. .

Simply, for me, it comes down to one of the major issues with Alvarez’s game: his tendency to eat really hard shots. Though he has been finished via strikes only once, the champion has been staggered or knocked down on many occasions. Hanging in the pocket for the counter will play into McGregor’s hands. Literally. McGregor is the hardest puncher Alvarez has faced for a very long time, which is why I can’t see past a McGregor win.


Sofa Sports News

Anthony Joshua – The Watford Wonder.

I remember hearing about this kid training at a gym just a few miles down the road from me. The only thing I knew about Finchley was that it was the best place to hang around the arcades at half-term. Well anyway, this kid turned into a big kid before  securing the big prize- a super heavyweight gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

Anthony Joshua and his fellow professional boxer cousin Ben Ileyemi recently bought new equipment for their old gym, Finchley Boxing Club, to say thank you for helping transform their futures.

Joshua, who moved to Golders Green from Watford in his late teenage years, had never stepped foot in the squared circle before joining his cousin in attending Finchley Boxing Club at seventeen years old. Five years later, he was an Olympic gold medalist.

The Opponent

Eric Molina (25-3, 19 KOs) put pen to paper to challenge Joshua (17-0,17 KOs) in the Manchester Arena for his IBF heavyweight title on December 10th. Molina is no stranger to title shots, having faced WBC champion Deontay Wilder in June 2015, eventually losing by way of knockout in the ninth round. Molina’s most recent bout finished with him knocking out Tomasz Adamek in the tenth round for the IBF Inter-Continental belt in April this year.

Molina is tough, durable and comes forward. But for the sake of the event let’s hope the Adamek version of Molina turns up rather than the one that lost by first round knock-out to Chris Arreola back in 2012. Molina claims that he only had three weeks to get ready for that fight as well not being mentally or physically right at 219 pounds. Again, only time will tell if those excuses are viable.

The Past

Joshua knows that, eventually, there will be much tougher nights ahead. When discussing the 2011 amateur world championships defeat, Joshua stated “Magomedrasul Majidov wasn’t big or tough-looking. I thought I would have him easy. I lost my composure and went toe-to-toe with him. That cost me the fight. He won.” Joshua makes no secret of the fact that he is still tuning his craft and can’t afford to take any opponent lightly. The “learning of the job” mentality is attributed to taking up boxing relatively late, despite going on to win English ABA 91+kg title with some ease soon after. 

The Upsets

In boxing it only takes one punch. In heavyweight boxing, that applies even more so. Joshua need not be reminded of September 24, 1994, when Oliver McCall stunned not just Lennox Lewis but also the boxing world by becoming the new WBC heavyweight champion of the world. Going back further into the history of the sport, James J. Corbett sent the great John L. Sullivan into retirement when he triumphed after over twenty rounds in 1892.

Likewise, Max Schmeling stopped Joe Louis on June 19, 1936. Moreover, who can forget the most famous of them all , when James “Buster” Douglas met Mike Tyson in 1990, and no-one expected anything other than a routine win for Iron Mike.

The Future

Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko have been sanctioned to fight for the WBA heavyweight title in the spring of 2017, but Joshua must first successfully defend his IBF title against Eric Molina in December. The Klitschko fight is just one of several mouth-watering fights between any of the top Heavyweights. Put any of Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz,  David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko in with each other and you’ll struggle to resist watching.

Add to that a second tier of competitors, namely  Lucas Browne, Joseph Parker, Bryant Jennings, Kubrat Pulev, Ruslan Chagaev, Andy Ruiz, Johan Duhaupas, Jarrell Miller and Eric Molina to provide fun fights between each other. Ok, this isn’t the era of Frazier, Foreman and Ali but it’s the most exciting the Big Boys division of the art of pugilism has been for the last decade.

The announcement ends a period of speculation over Joshua’s next opponent after a prospective bout against Wladimir Klitschko was scuppered. ‘There has been plenty of talk about who I may face but all I’m doing is concentrating on finishing Molina in style. Every fight is dangerous in this division and this is no exception.”

You can’t blame Joshua for the Klitschko fight not happening, whilst I’m sure Joshua won’t blame boxing fans for wanting to see those mega-fights sooner rather than later or even contest that for the time being at least, Fury will remain on top of the pile. But in the meantime, enjoy the latest chapter of Anthony Joshua’s Heavyweight Journey.


Sofa Sports News


The Rematch! McGregor vs Diaz 2

UFC – Connor McGregor vs Nate Diaz

UFC 202 is the big one, the rematch- Conor McGregor taking on Nate Diaz on August 20th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

A lot of criticism has been levied towards the Irishman in recent months that claim his grappling still leaves a lot to be desired. However, in reality, the damage was done standing up when Diaz (19-10 MMA, 14-8 UFC) beat McGregor (19-3 MMA, 7-1 UFC) in their first meeting at UFC 196 in March, the final sequence came on the ground, when “The Notorious” shot for an ill-advised takedown that allowed Diaz to get on top and finish the job by submission. If truth be told, McGregor became so accustomed to the smaller guys crumbling to his power that he just wasn’t ready for a bonafide 170 pounder.

“I don’t think the difference between us in that fight was the jiu-jitsu; I think it was the durability, the endurance, the experience,” McGregor said on a recent UFC 202 media conference call. “I think that was the difference. When we were both fresh, I ended up in the mat and caught that kick and he did that takedown he does, and I swept him.

McGregor, the UFC featherweight champion, remains unflustered by the critics- “People can say what they they want,” McGregor said. “I didn’t feel his weight anywhere until that moment, until when he sprawled. When I went to turn away from mount and regain guard or something, he sprawled me out at the right time and that was it. I’ll take that one on the chin.”

In fairness, As the UFC’s 145-pound champion, McGregor could have easily gone back to his weight class and defended the title after losing to Diaz earlier this year. He chose to pursue a rematch, though, and while a second loss would be crushing, it begs the question as to whether McGregor will drop back down in weight following August 20th? Is the ready-made excuse that he just isn’t big enough for the weight and perhaps the real reason behind his insistence of a 170-pound rematch?

Credit has to be given to Nate Diaz- the man who accepted an offer to step in on ten days notice. The fight (UFC 196) shocked the UFC world but it didn’t shock Diaz, who took some punishment in the first round, before his second round submission victory. “I knew I was the superior boxer, the superior martial artist,” he said. “I have superior jiu-jitsu. Like I said from the beginning, I have the best training partners in the world in every aspect; in boxing, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, and MMA, so nothing surprised me except that I got hit at all.”

The goal for Nate Diaz will be to beat him down and take it to the floor in the later rounds whilst McGregor will need to resist his natural urge to constantly push forward. This alone makes for a great fight. Chances are we could be looking at a 25 minute marathon. The betting odds still favour McGregor. But not quite as much as they did last time round………


Sofa Sports News