Not many people thought Nate Diaz had a chance to knock off Conor McGregor on Saturday night at UFC 196. The Irishman was jumping up two weight classes and taking on a legitimate contender in Diaz, however it was expected that Conor’s quickness and accuracy would win him the fight.
In the opening frame McGregor looked great. He controlled the center of the octagon and was the aggressor for the majority of the round. Conor was able to land some solid punches, he didn’t wobble Nate but he definitely gained the veteran’s attention. That was also the case when McGregor opened up a cut over Nate’s right eye.
Unlike all of McGregor’s other UFC opponents Nate Diaz didn’t allow him to get into his head. Diaz stayed focused and got a late takedown to make the first round close but McGregor probably won it on the scorecards.
In the second Nate continued to pump a strong jab while blood ran down his face and his right eye was nearly swollen shut. Conor landed a few more decent punches but with just over two minutes left in the round all hell broke loose.
Diaz caught Conor with a right-left combination that stumbled him and right at that moment it became a matter of how and when Nate would win the fight. Conor never backed down and kept throwing shots of his own until he’d had enough and made a weak shot for a takedown which allowed Diaz to gain top control. He is a BJJ blackbelt and McGregor isn’t, it was so obvious when the fight hit the mat. Nate ran right through McGregor and with just a minute left in the second round he forced the featherweight champion to tapout with a rear-naked choke.
It wasn’t the outcome McGregor or most of the world had predicted and it sent shockwaves through the MMA community. With just eleven days worth of preparation Nate Diaz put on the performance of a lifetime and it likely earned him an even bigger payday the next time he steps into the octagon. It was a great way to cap off a night of major upsets, including Miesha Tate winning the women’s bantamweight title when she came from behind to choke out Holly Holm in the fifth and final round.
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Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer