UFC 196 predictions: McGregor vs Diaz, Holm vs Tate and more!

Mcgregor Diaz

UFC 196 is here, and we couldn’t have the Conor McGregor show without our own predictions! The Ring Side View’s MMA writers weigh-in on what promises to be a fun card.

Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz

Chinmay

Much has been made of Diaz’s jiu jitsu (and it’s definitely a factor), but both opponents’ reluctance to take the fight to the mat ensures that the fight remains a stand-up battle. And that’s McGregor’s world. While Diaz’s height and reach advantage might keep Conor at bay for the first few minutes, McGregor’s kicking game will slowly, but surely even things out. Only one fighter has ever made it out of the second round against Conor, and that’s when Mcgregor was nursing an injured knee. As tough as Diaz is, I don’t see him being the exception.

Winner via TKO in round 2: Conor McGregor

Akhilesh

Stylistically, Nate should be a difficult opponent for Conor. The Diaz brothers’ jiu jitsu is highly under rated, and Nate has a very strong chin. Conor has faced problems previously when the fight has been taken to the ground, but the most impressive aspect of Conor’s game is how he gets better after every fight. Conor’s movements are also highly unpredictable, making him one of the most dangerous fighters inside the Octagon. Although I would want Nate to push Conor and take the fight to him, this has Conor written all over it. Oh, and also expect Conor to call out Robbie Lawler after the fight (if he wins).

Winner via TKO in round 1: Conor McGregor

Aditya

Nate Diaz is not one to overcomplicate things, he stands heavy on his front foot which allows him to rile off multiple punch combinations at a fast pace and throw a high quantity of punches in a short span of time which facilitates a lean back to avoid incoming punches. Staying front leg heavy also makes him look closer than he is to his opponents, which helps him dictate the distance and range of the fight. Diaz is also no slouch on the ground with a BJJ black belt to boast about. While people are raving about Diaz’s performance against Johnson and his utilization of distance to score a decision win, McGregor is a different kettle of fish. Unlike Johnson who elected to stand and trade with Diaz, McGregor will move around a lot more. This is where that heavy front leg of Diaz starts working against him. With a planted foot, Diaz’s movement will be restricted which will allow McGregor to open up different angles from which to strike. Expect McGregor to land multiple kicks on the front leg to force Diaz to adjust his game. Ultimately McGregor has too many tools for Diaz and should come out on top

Winner via TKO in round 3: Conor McGregor

 

Holly Holm vs Miesha Tate

Chinmay

I’m not sure what we can expect from Holm here. She looked outstanding in her fight against Rousey, and distinctly underwhelming in her previous UFC fights. Tate is definitely an elite fighter though, and will test Holly. Much has been made of Tate’s wrestling, but it’s her constant pressure that’s more likely to cause Holm problems. Ultimately though, I see Holm winning the majority of the fight, with the women’s bantamweight division getting its first 5 round decision.

Winner via unanimous decision: Holly Holm

Akhilesh

Miesha is a bad match up for Holly stylistically. I talked to Holly before her UFC 193 fight against Ronda, and although Ronda is an incredible athlete, she has perfected two things with which she has defeated the entire division. However, Miesha is probably the most well rounded fighter in the bantamweight division, and would look to take Holly to the ground. However, Holly’s huge frame and her amazing TDD could work in her favor, as Holly tries to remove the “one hit wonder” tag off her. This is one of the most unpredictable fights the women’s bantamweight division has seen in the past couple of years, and although I want Miesha to win, it would be very difficult to topple Holly.

Winner via unanimous decision: Holly Holm

Aditya

Holm’s win over Rousey was perhaps the cleanest title win in recent memory. She controlled that fight start to finish. Rousey however was a perfect stylistic match up for Holm once she got her takedown defence right. Rousey’s constant desire to charge forward played into Holm’s strategy of lateral movement, which allowed Holm to pick her shots at an exposed opponent. As Jack slack pointed out, Tate rushes in for the early exchanges and often gets caught by her opponents. Tate’s best chance is to enforce the clinch or take Holm down. The longer the fight stays standing the more it favours Holm.
With the exception of the Rousey KO, Holm isn’t renowned for putting opponents away, often preferring to drag a fight out by avoiding to take any risks. Ultimately, Holm’s striking and take down defence should be enough for her to retain the title and set up the Rousey rematch

Winner via unanimous decision: Holly Holm

 

Gian Villante vs Ilir Latifi

Chinmay

This is a tough pick. Ultimately though, I think Latifi has faced a higher level of competition, and has an advantage in the power-punching department. That’s going to give him an edge, and the eventual victory.

Winner via KO in round 2: Ilir Latifi

Akhilesh

Probably the most violent fight on the card; Latifi is coming off two very impressive victories, stopping O’Connell and Stringer, but Villante is going to be a much tougher opponent. Latifi can close the gap while Villante would look to use his wrestling to subdue “The Sledgehammer”. This is going to be a fun fight, but Latifi goes in as the odds on favorite to secure a victory and continue to climb up the rankings.

Winner via KO in round 2: Ilir Latifi

Aditya

Latifi is a well-rounded fighter with a wrestling background and ADCC credentials. He has won his last 3 fights via KO. While Villante has a wrestling background of his own, he hasn’t been able to use those abilities to his advantage in his UFC career. Latifi will look to push the pace of the fight, be more aggressive and blend takedown attempts with power punches. Villante also has serious cardio problems whereas Latifi is a natural athlete, very well-conditioned. Keeping a high pace and constantly pressuring his opponent will be key for Latifi.  Latifi has far too many tools at his disposal compared to Villante and his cardio could ultimately decide the fight.

Winner via unianimous decision: Ilir Latifi

 

Corey Anderson vs Tom Lawlor

Chinmay

I’m picking Corey Anderson here. Younger, stronger, and the closest thing the UFC has to a prospect in their former marquee division. I won’t be surprised if Lawlor catches him with a power-punch though.

Winner via unanimous decision: Corey Anderson

Akhilesh

Although this fight is enticing for an MMA fan, this might not be the most popular fight for the casual fans. Corey has fought thrice last year, and picked up an impressive victory over Maldonado in November, while Lawlor has fought just twice in the past 3 years. Lawlor might need to do more than a Conor impersonation inside the cage, and would look to grind out a decision victory.

Winner via unanimous decision: Corey Anderson

Aditya

Corey Anderson is a solid wrestler with good boxing. His biggest strength is his conditioning. Dictating the pace and range will allow Anderson to use his conditioning to his advantage. Lawlor is a dangerous fighter however and any mistake on Anderson’s part will leave him open to a power strike knockout. Lawlor is a good wrestler in his own right but his biggest advantage is his power. That advantage is diminished however, due to the low volume of punches he throws. He is the better Jiu Jitsu practitioner but unless he can take the better, bigger, stronger wrestler down, that advantage evaporates. Anderson’s cardio should prove to be the difference maker in this bout.

Winner via unanimous decision: Corey Anderson

 

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko

Chinmay

This is going to be an excellent fight, with possible title implications. Nunes brings it – she’s aggressive, and has been on a great run. A win over Shevchenko could easily put her in line for a title shot, particularly if the Holm-Tate winner wants a quick turnaround before Rousey’s return. That said, I believe this is Shevchenko’s fight to lose. If she can survive the initial onslaught, her technical brilliance should stand her in good stead. Picking Shevchenko here.

Winner via unianimous decision: Valentina Shevchenko

Akhilesh

Personally, I love this fight. This could either see Nunes emerging as a potential contender for the Bantamweight title (sorry Pena), or Shevchenko proving to the world that her win against the veteran Sara Kaufman wasn’t a fluke. Nunes is known to push the pace of the fight, while Shevchenko doesn’t expend too much energy. Also, Shevchenko has a crazy stand up game, and could catch Nunes with her vicious knee/elbow strikes, provided she can first withstand the initial onslaught. But as I said, I’m excited to see what happens.

Winner via TKO in round 2: Amanda Nunes

Aditya

Nunes has been on a tear, flying through the division and putting herself in line for a future title shot. She takes advantage of her physicality to come out of the gates strong and hit her opponents hard.  The quicker she can end the fight, for her the better. Shevchenko is the more technical striker who will outwork Nunes over the course of the fight. Nunes isn’t the best conditioned fighter around by any means. If Nunes is able to get the fight to the mat, she will be best positioned to close the deal and begin campaigning for the title. Shevchenko, on the other hand, will need to be defensively astute especially in the early exchanges to force the fight in to the later rounds. Her technical abilities will shine over the 3 rounds and as long as she doesn’t take needless risks she should be able to avoid being taken to the ground.

Winner via unianimous decision: Valentina Shevchenko

 

If you like our predictions, do follow us on Twitter!

Chinmay – @chinmaybhogle

Akhilesh – @KayfabeDiaries

Aditya – @AdityaSheth14

 

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