UFC 196: McGregor vs. Diaz Date: March 5, 2016 Location: Las Vegas, Nevada Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena Broadcast: PPV This bout will be contested at 170 pounds and will be five rounds. UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor A character who backs up his trash talking with vicious knockouts inside the cage, Conor McGregor (19-2) has taken the MMA world by storm and is a bonafide star now. After winning the 145lb and 155lb titles in Cage Warriors, McGregor was signed to the UFC and has since gone 7-0 with knockout wins over Dennis Siver, Dustin Poirier, Marcus Brimage, Diego Brandao, Chad Mendes and former champion Jose Aldo. He has shown tremendous striking skills in all of his fights and really does look like he’s a complete fighter. After talking his way into the featherweight top 10, McGregor fought for the interim title against Chad Mendes last summer, earning a second round TKO before dethroning Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds this past December. He was supposed to fight Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight title at UFC 196, but an injury to dos Anjos forced the UFC to bring in Diaz as a short notice replacement. UFC Lightweight Contender Nate Diaz The Ultimate Fighter season 5 winner and one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC, Nate Diaz (18-10) is no longer in his older brother Nick’s shadow. After years in the UFC and an overall 13-8 record inside the Octagon, Diaz has fought in both the lightweight and welterweight divisions. When he went back down to 155 in late 2011/2012, Diaz looked unstoppable, beating up Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller with relative ease to earn a shot at the title. His run was stopped when he fought then-champion Benson Henderson via unanimous decision. After a year away from the cage, he returned this past December with a very impressive showing against top 10 lightweight Michael Johnson to get back into the mix. He’ll be stepping up on two week’s notice to face McGregor in a special catchweight bout in Las Vegas Opening UFC 196 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made McGregor a -280 favorite (bet $280 to win $100) while Diaz opened as a +220 underdog (bet $100 to win $220) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. This is a replacement main event after UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos was pulled out with a broken foot, but it’s still a terrific fight. McGregor is one of the hottest fighters in the world and is entering this fight coming off with a perfect 7-0 record inside the Octagon. Diaz, on the other hand, reclaimed his status as one of the division’s elite with his at UFC on Fox 17 against Michael Johnson. However, in his fight before that he lost to McGregor’s original opponent dos Anjos by decision and took a lot of damage. On paper, this is McGregor’s fight to lose. He has an iron chin, incredible timing with his striking and some of the most powerful punches pound-for-pound on the entire roster. Diaz has the frame to contend with McGregor’s size, but he can’t match the “Notorious” one’s power. Diaz will have to utilize a great gameplan that includes his length and his Brazilian jiu-jitsu advantage if he wants to pull this out.