UFC featherweight Conor McGregor beat Nate Diaz by majority decision to avenge his UFC 196 defeat.
The Irishman was shocked by Californian Diaz's second-round rear-naked choke in their welterweight bout in March, and ever since he has sworn revenge, with the rivals resorting to throwing water bottles at each other during a pre-fight press conference in Las Vegas this week.
McGregor made sure he was only throwing punches and kicks when the pair reunited in the Octagon on Saturday night and as both men remained standing following five hard-fought, bloody rounds, the judges had the final say, scoring the bout 48-47 47-47 48-47 in the Dublin fighter's favour.
After a defensive first round, McGregor dropped Diaz with a kick and soon had him back on the canvas with a big shot. The American, supported by the Las Vegas crowd, responded with a left-handed jab in the third, taunting McGregor before moving into a clinch.
Blood began to flow from Diaz's right eye during the fourth round as McGregor locked him against the fence, with the Irishman countering well in the fifth as his opponent looked for a double leg takedown that might swing the scores in his favour.
But come the final horn, it was McGregor who had his arm raised in Nevada. And like his fallen foe, the 28-year-old will not be satisfied until the rivalry is extended to a third, decisive, showdown.
"All I know is that it's 1-1," McGregor told BT Sport. "Let's regroup and do it again!
"This time I want to do it at 155 pounds, I came in at 170 with him as the bigger man and I overcame that adversity.
"Now this trilogy is on my terms, come back down to 155 and we'll do it."
Referring to the shots that Diaz seemingly absorbed without feeling much pain in the later rounds, with the American looking unruffled as he tried to take the fight to the floor, McGregor added: "He took them better than I expected. He didn't let me know.
"I proved the class difference. That toughness and durability that he has crept back in during the later rounds but I feel happy to come away with the win.
"He's a hell of a competitor."
Diaz - the 31-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist - echoed McGregor's demands for a second rematch.
He said: "Hey, good job today, Conor, but we're going for three. For real. Until then I ain't coming back."
Dwayne The Rock Johnson has summed it up succinctly. And why should be listen to him? Well, apart from being The Man, this is a guy whose bio on Twitter is simply "Dude" and who has talked of running for president one day. I'd vote for him.
On their way to the press conference..
It's not that surprising McGregor has a sore foot after that. He landed kick after kick on Diaz, who absorbed a lot of them.
But Diaz was far from a pushover. His face was bloodied, but - like the last time when he beat McGregor - that means nothing for him. Right up until the end he looked dangerous in the clinch and, had the Irishman not defended so well, the American could well have finished it on the mat.
McGregor rarely goes the distance - he rarely needs to - so it's not surprising he looked absolutely cream crackered by the end. Who wouldn't want to see a rematch...?
McGregor is hobbling away, saying his foot is broken. What a fight, they left everything out there. They hate each other, but there is respect there, for sure.
It was a unanimous decision, but Nate Diaz - bloodied and beaten - thinks he won it. He wants to go again. Will we have McGregor vs Diaz 3?
Round 5 McGregor attempts a flying knee but it's smothered by Diaz, who gets Conor in a clinch against the cage. They break apart and Diaz is almost swinging blindly amidst the blood on his face.
Diaz tries to get McGregor down on the mat but the Irishman defends well. Hand on hips, McGregor walks away. He's tired but lands more punches on Diaz.
Diaz gets him against the cage and pummels him as McGregor looks at the clock. Again, Diaz tries to take him down and again McGregor holds it off. With a minute to go, McGregor turns the clinch and presses Diaz on the cage and down. Nate gets up quickly and turns it round. Ten seconds to go and Diaz gets McGregor down on the mat. The siren goes but that could be crucial.
This will go down to points.
5:21am Round 4
Diaz is bloody but McGregor is tired. What a dogfight we have. McGregor is still catching Diaz with the leg kicks and manages to land a hard left on the American's face.
Diaz tries to get McGregor down in a clinch, but Conor defends well. McGregor has only been in a fourth round once before. He manages to land a shot on the face of Diaz, who is far happier in the clinch. McGregor manages a one-two combo, but Diaz counters well. This is tiring to watch.
Diaz is a bloody mess. Diaz tries to catch McGregor with a high kick and stumbles as the round ends. A quieter round there, with both fighters tiring. We go into a final round.
5:14am Round 3
McGregor looks tired and breathing heavily. Diaz is smiling and he can sense he has momentum. Diaz has McGregor against cage and they're grappling. How quickly McGregor is fading. He manages to counter Diaz with a left but Diaz is talking to McGregor now, goading him.
They tangle again and this will be draining McGregor of more energy. McGregor is free and runs away, he's tiring.
Diaz catches McGregor with a right kick and a 1-2 combination before getting in a clinch again. Now Diaz unleashes a barrage of punches on McGregor against the cage but the Irishman just about manages to survive to the end of the round. Just.
Round 2 McGregor tags Diaz with a left and the American is down. He gets up but he's looking shaken. McGregor gets him with sharp left and has him down on the mat again. Diaz is bloody, McGregor pristine.
Another left kick from McGregor, the American must be feeling that. McGregor ducks a right jab and counters wityh his own. Perfect strategy from Conor here, draining Diaz of energy. He's drawing Diaz out and outboxing him, while tapping him repeatedly with the leg kick.
Diaz is coming for the Irishman now and has landed a few good hits. McGregor is tired and against the cage as Diaz unleashes a barrage of punches on the Irishman. We now have a fight on our hands.
5:02am Round 1 McGregor lands a few kicks as they size each other up. He lands a tough right and then gets Diaz down with a straight left in the middle of the face. Diaz is back up and Conor is asking what have you got? Conor unleashes another quick right and left combination, and Diaz tries to land a right of his own. McGregor is having a lot of success with the left leg kick. He clips Diaz with a counter jab and the round ends in McGregor's favour.
4:56am Ding ding No touching gloves...And we're under way!
4:53am Prediction time Hard one to call. My heart wants McGregor. My brain says Diaz.
4:50am And here comes Diaz McGregor is strutting round the ring, looking loosey goosey. He's pacing up and down while security are lined up in the ring to keep the two fighters apart until it begins. Nice bit of theatre there.
Meanwhile, Diaz enters the arena.
4:46am Here they come McGregor really felt the loss last time. The punch to his pride was way worse than what Diaz inflicted on him physically. He's been training hard, and very much specifically, for this one. Plenty of people said he stepped up too much in weight. This might well show if he really does have what it takes in this division.
Post by forevereverton on Aug 21, 2016 21:54:15 GMT
I thought Diaz could have easily gotten the decision after watching what was a good contest. Conor burns out really quickly which is amazing for somebody who spoke of getting in the ring with Floyd Mayweather for 12 rounds.