UFC 196: McGregor vs. Diaz – Post Fight Analysis in Six Easy Tweets

UFC 196 wasn't looking very good until the co-main event. Then it suddenly turned into a classic of grand guignol pugilism. The champions were…

By: David Castillo | 8 years ago
UFC 196: McGregor vs. Diaz – Post Fight Analysis in Six Easy Tweets
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UFC 196 wasn’t looking very good until the co-main event. Then it suddenly turned into a classic of grand guignol pugilism.

The champions were wounded, 2007 style. But in 2007, when Georges St-Pierre and Mirko Filipovic both got rampaged, or when Randy Couture overcame Tim Sylvia’s Stay Puft striking, and Keith Jardine mogged his way through Chuck Liddell*, the favorites had history. Rich history. Conor McGregor and Holly Holm, while certainly fighters with potential, simply do not.

The 2007 comparison is fitting since anyone’s top 10 list of 2007 upsets features Nate’s brother Nick. Who got hurt, blooded, but came back to win with an emphatic submission. To which Nate might have replied that night-

1. “I’m not surprised motherfu**ers”

It’s rare that an underdog who doesn’t “move the needle”, as Dana Whtie once said, comes in, and basically replaces the needle with a middle finger and some punk rock pageantry.

When I wrote an article trying to awkwardly connect Nick Diaz in with Russian prohibitionism, I never had Nate in mind. Both are like minded the way only a Diaz brother can, but Nick has had the spotlight for a lot longer in more dramatic fashion. Nate’s personality has always been a little less aggressively quixotic like Nick, but it’s always been there.

And yet who can beat that quote? Who can beat that quote without self awareness or irony? I mention all of this to note that I can’t recall an underdog so dramatically stealing the spotlight. This was supposed to be Conor McGregor’s moment. Yet everyone will remember, remember, March fifth of surrender.

2. Musty Charms

If you’re a true Conor fan, and I think most MMA fans are, then you should be able to take these memes documenting Conor’s crushed hubris in stride.

To be sure, Conor has plenty of fanboys scrambling to come up with excuses. Even Conor’s postfight interview fueled the language of his defense. He “took a chance” coming up in weight, and so forth, as if his opponent was your prototypical top 10 welterweight. But Nate is career lightweight. A career lightweight who never became part of the truly elite. And Conor projects to be at 155 in due time. This is not the hill to die on.

But Conor himseld doesn’t need to be excused from the octagon table. He won the first round with excellent timing, and the kind of slick east/west movement we’ve come to appreciate him for. But he began to noticeably fatigue as Nate began to battle back, slipping punches Conor was overloading on. The Diaz brothers are rarely taken seriously as intelligent cage tacticians. They sort of bring it on themselves by smoking weed and wielding nunchakus, granted. But Nate’s punches were calculated efforts to swing the McGregor midrange pendulum, and he did so with 209 aplomb.

3. Pastry Parry

Plenty of egg on Dana’s face last night. I said it in our preview, and I’ll say it again, but why is Tate ignored? Ok, she’s not. But for different reasons. Rather, why is her aptitude often ignored? I get that she has fumbled strategically in the past, and she’s probably not the best coach in the world, but on the whole, she’s been a steady, crafty presence in a division that has slowly grown into its own.

I compared her grappling to Rafael dos Anjos and the way he pursues submissions that combine technique with visceral pursuit. Tate has that attitude. The winning choke was a combination of staying with her position no matter what, and some brilliant positioning. In particular, Tate probably loses that choke when she gets flipped if she doesn’t intelligently keep her right hook on Holm’s thigh to roll rather than thud over. I don’t know that Tate has the ability to deal with elite challengers consistently, but she has the moxy for it. And now she has five rounds to prove it for as long as the belt’s hers.

4. Holm Less

I apologize for the pad puns, but years of checking out NHL boxscores has ruined me. Holm fought a solid fight, overall. I don’t think she took advantage of her striking the way she really could have, but Tate’s movement clearly gave her issues.

This is one of the things that made Holly look so dominant against Ronda Rousey; Rousey’s embarrassing entries. Rousey was just too predictable. She came in with a left hook followed by a right hand almost everytime, making Holm look more dominant than she was. This doesn’t take away from Holm, who is still elite, but it should put to bed any notions of Holm as a truly dangerous striker.

It’s hard to predict how Holm will bounce back. She has a little Melvin Guillard in her, trying too hard to power out of submission attempts. She got out after a 2nd round scare, but needs to work on positioning. I also think she threw too many low impact strikes. The side kicks are good for keeping out, say, Amanda Nunes, and maintaining distance. But Tate didn’t pose the kind of threat on the feet that would warrant her somewhat conservative selection of strikes. Just my opinion.

5. Mas O Menos

Nunes began to decline as the fight wore on, which wasn’t all that shocking if you’ve followed her career. Something similar happened in the Alexis Davis scrap. But she’s brutal in top control. Frankly, this was just a really good performance by Shevchenko. Was she too conservative early? Yea. But the styles kind of dictated that. Rogan kept asking “where was this in round 1??” but Nunes was more of a presence. Opening up early against Nunes is a recipe for disaster. As for Amanda, it was a tough stylistic matchup. She’s still gonna style on more of her peers in the future.

6. Prom Might

Excellent win for Teruto, who has all of the assembled swagger of an Ocean’s Eleven. I was a little relieved with the Diego Sanchez fight. His health has been somewhat of a talking point, and it was frankly welcome to not have “The Nightmare” back. We got “The Dream” instead. Or something like that.

*I left out a few because why lose your readers with a listicle style intro, but is there an upset that looks worse with time than Sokoudjou over Medium Nog? At least Serra retired shortly after his rematch loss to GSP.

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David Castillo
David Castillo

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