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McGregor v Diaz 2: How ‘the Notorious’ can avoid another career setback at UFC 202

Lee Gormley | August 16, 2016

McGregor v Diaz 2 headlines UFC 202

Since bursting onto the UFC scene in 2013, Conor McGregor has rampantly become the sport’s biggest draw with his devastating knockouts and eccentric press conferences, but his destructive run was abruptly halted in March by stand-in opponent Nate Diaz.

UFC 202 Mixed Martial Arts

The Stockton fighter stepped up with just 11 days notice to replace the injured Rafael dos Anjos and managed to hand ‘the Notorious’ his maiden UFC defeat, in what was the biggest pay-per-view in the organisation’s history.

This weekend, six months after their initial dust-up in Las Vegas, McGregor v Diaz 2 will take centre stage in the UFC 202 main event, with the previously beaten Dubliner aiming to avenge his first setback and avoid what would be another damaging defeat.

McGregor was on the receiving end of a solid second-round rear-naked choke in the first octagon meeting, and has revamped his training regime in order to avoid a repeat result, with the UFC featherweight champion set to enter at 11/8 with Coral for a KO victory in Sin City this time around.

Training revamped in the Irish camp for Diaz

Against the naturally bigger fighter, McGregor did still manage to dominate the opening round in their initial match-up and began the second brightly too, busting Diaz open and looked to be closing in on another stoppage before running out of steam.

UFC 196 Mixed Martial Arts

Despite looking in complete control of proceedings, the 28-year-old ultimately punched himself out too early, going for that killer blow throughout the first five minutes, resulting in Diaz capitalising and eventually locking in the decisive submission.

Following the loss, and ahead of the awaited rematch this coming Sunday morning, McGregor will need to execute a different approach and adapt a new gameplan in order to avoid another career setback at UFC 202.

The Dubliner and his long-serving coach John Kavanagh have admitted to completely revamping the training methods for this rematch in the build-up, admitting to focusing on a more strict time scale for every aspect and undergoing much more cardio work.

How ‘the Notorious’ can avoid another defeat

This is in light of McGregor having been unable to preserve his energy in the first bout, and it’s evident from such a high-profile training camp that the Irishman will be out to pace himself much better than before at 170lbs.

This could also mean a lack of more acrobatic and energy sapping kicks in the early stages, with ‘the Notorious’ needing to avoid over committing and instead pick his shots wisely to gain the upper hand against Diaz.

UFC 196 Mixed Martial Arts

Diaz, now 31 years of age, possesses both a height and reach advantage over McGregor, meaning the Irishman will also need to keep an effective distance from the rangy Californian to avoid being dragged into close quarters.

Utilising his damaging leg kicks helped to maintain this in the first fight, and set him up for combinations further up, with his devastating left hand being his reliant money shot.

Finally, the most important thing for McGregor to help avoid what would be a costly career defeat in the early hours of Sunday morning, is to keep the fighting off the floor and avoid engaging in any battles on the canvas.

UFC 202 Mixed Martial Arts

McGregor’s downfall came following a rare takedown attempt at UFC 196 and, despite the Irishman having implemented plenty of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into his preparations, against an astute black belt in Diaz, it would still be beneficial to limit that side of the fight.

Diaz has proved in his career that he is an elite submission artist, with more of his wins coming via that method than any other (12 from 19), and he is 5/2 to make McGregor tap for a second successive meeting.

Although, ‘Mystic Mac’ has predicted a second-round stoppage this weekend, which he is 11/2 to achieve, as the two rivals get ready to once again go head-to-head in their highly-anticipated rematch at UFC 202.

Get an insight into both Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz’s preparations for fight night by watching UFC 202: Bad Blood below.

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Read our extensive boxing and UFC archive ahead of the big fight this weekend.

How do you think Conor McGregor will get on in his Nate Diaz rematch? Have your say below in our comments section!

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