UFC 202 was an enthralling watch starting with the preliminary matches and continued through the PPV. Six of the nine fights ended in TKO, KO, or submission. The highlight of the card being the rematch between Diaz and McGregor finished off an exciting and in my eyes, a controversial night.
In the days leading up to 202, McGregor and Diaz showed how manly and tough they are by throwing empty water bottles at each other in the press conference. It seemed transparently staged and after watching the fight and witnessing the outcome, my inner conspiracy theorist has emerged and I believe it was staged. I don’t think the headlining fight was rigged, but I do think the fighters might have been encouraged to go the distance and to treat the press conference like a late 80’s WrestleMania promotion. Besides my conspiracy opinions and the occasional shot of Skip Bayless in the crowd, this card ruled.
One more thing before we get to my observations. The Sony Live Events Viewer App failed me. I buy all of the UFC cards via the app on my PS4 because it is the cheapest way to purchase the cards, and it is the most convenient method for me since my PS4 is my main entertainment hub. Ever since UFC 200 where the app crashed during the Lesnar/Hunt fight, it has been progressively worse. It crashed at least 3 times during UFC 201 and 5 times during UFC 202. But it didn’t just crash during 202, it completely froze my PS4. I had to shut the console down and restart it in order to refresh the app. Sony, fix that shit or be prepared to feel the wrath of my zero readers.
Preliminary Card (FS1)
Women’s Strawweight – Cortney Casey def. Randa Markos – Verbal Submission Arm bar – (RD 1 – 4:34)
This fight ended in the first round when Markos verbally tapped out, which is something I had never seen before. Markos is the one who brought the fight to the ground and landed some good head blows on Casey. After some maneuvering Casey was able to make her way on top of Markos back and landed several powerful body blows. Casey then got Markos into an arm bar but it was a little awkward in its position preventing Markos from being able to physically tap out. In the replay you can see Markos shouting to the ref verbally tapping out. Fighting out of a bad spot on the ground and successfully executing an arm bar was impressive by Casey.
Featherweight – Artem Lobov def. Chris Avila – Decision Unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
The first two rounds of this Lobov/Avila fight were almost identical. Both fighters were active throwing blows but the leg kicks from Lobov were what stood out. Continuous kicks to Avila’s leg took a took and forced Avila to be conscious and focus on dodging the kicks. In the third round Avila opened up Lobov’s forehead which bled so bad that the fight was stopped and the cut man was brought out to close the wound. Later in the third round Lobov threw a powerful kick which resulted in him slipping and Avila on top throwing blows. Lobov got back to his feet without taking much damage and finished the fight that he controlled and won. After the fight, unsurprisingly Lobov predicted a McGregor win (he is a part of McGregor’s gym).
Women’s Bantamweight – Raquel Pennington def. Elizabeth Phillips – Decision Unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Most of the Pennington/Phillips fight took place in the clinch or on the ground. Pennington controlled this fight and won all three rounds but she was close multiple times to getting a submission. In the second round she had Phillips in a headlock but couldn’t get her arm under Phillips chin cutting off her breathing. The third round saw Pennington take Phillips to the ground again spending most of the 5 minutes maneuvering around her body looking to end her before a decision had to be made. Phillips showed a lot of fight by not getting submitted, but Pennington showed she was the better ground fighter.
Bantamweight – Cody Garbrandt def. Takeya Mizugaki – TKO Punches – (RD 1 – 0:48)
The Garbrandt/Mizugaki fight didn’t last more than a minute. Big John called the fight after Mizugaki absorbed many heavy blows and probably should have called the fight a little earlier as Garbrandt landed some heavy fists while Mizugaki wasn’t defending himself. Garbrandt tagged Mizugaki and he was unable to recover, pretty straight forward and impressive win for Garbrandt.
Main Card (PPV)
Welterweight – Tim Means def. Sabah Homasi – TKO Punches – (RD 2 – 2:56)
The Means/Homasi fight set the tone for one of the best PPV cards I have watched. Both of these fighters came out swinging in the first round. Both traded attacks but Means got the better of Homasi after opening up his forehead and conserving his energy more effectively. Homasi looked exhausted at the end of the first round.
In the second round Homasi had no energy left (this was his first UFC fight, I am sure he will learned to conserve energy as his career advances) and Means looked fresh. Means was the aggressor in this round landed many blows bludgeoning Homasi’s face even more. Homasi was clearly just trying to survive and not get knocked out, but after Means continued to land combos, Herb Dean called the fight. Homasi’s face looked rough after the fight.
Welterweight – Mike Perry def. Hyun Gyu Lim – TKO Punches – (RD 1 – 3:38)
Lim is the biggest welterweight I have ever seen. He was towering over Perry and his biceps looked twice the size of Perry’s. This size advantage didn’t help him much as he was knocked to the ground three times and the fight was called by Big John after the third. After getting tagged the first time, Lim survived attacks from Perry on the ground and was able to get back to his feet. Shortly after he was tagged again, survived a flurry of attacks from Perry and got back up. The third time it happened, Perry was able to keep attacking to the point where John had to stop the fight.
Perry put on a great performance but he showed up to the ring with long finger nails which he had to bite off and he has a tattoo on his stomach that reads “God’s Gift.” The nails are whatever, but consciously getting that tattoo while working in a job that requires you to be shirtless exposes a level of ego that forces me to hate him. Great win, but I hate Mike Perry.
Welterweight – Donald Cerrone def. Rick Story – TKO Head kick and punches – (RD 2 – 2:02)
Continuing the theme of TKO’s, Cerrone successfully landed one of the sickest combos I have ever seen. In the second round Cerrone landed a left jab, followed by a brutal right body punch, followed by another left jab, and then a right leg kick to the head to finish Story off. Such a cool thing to watch in slow motion.
“Cowboy” Cerrone has a persona that I don’t like but I can look passed it especially after he threw that rad combo. But in the post-fight interview he answered a question with “Dana let me ride my Harley all week.” This was meant to be funny and to a non-pessimistic depressed asshole, it probably was funny. But hearing someone promote a league sponsor after a game or fight is one of the many things that sends me into an irrational rage (Peyton Manning’s Budweiser reference after super 50 will never be topped).
Light Heavyweight – Anthony Johnson def. Glover Teixeria – KO Punch – (RD 1 – 0:13)
As mentioned in my intro, the Sony Live Events View App that I buy these PPV events through has been not been working properly. During this card the app crashed 5 times, averaging one crash around every 20 minutes. As Jim Buffer eloquently introduced Anthony Johnson, the app crashed. I was mad of course but figured I could reload it while Buffer introduced Teixeria and I wouldn’t miss the fight. Unfortunately not only did the app crash, it bricked my PS4 which forced me to completely shut it down and restart. This takes less than a minute to do and when I booted up the app again, all I saw was a group of people huddled around Teixeria on the ground and Johnson running around in celebration. After the anger of missing the fight (it was short enough were they replayed it multiple times) wore off, I began to comprehend how insane it is to knock out a pro fighter in 13 seconds. There isn’t a lot to break down in this fight as both met in the octagon and Johnson knocks him out with a heavy uppercut and then a finishing hammer fist on the ground.
Johnson and Teixeria were ranked number 1 and number 2 respectively behind Cormier in the light heavyweight division. With Jones out of the picture, the winner of this fight will get a title shot vs. Cormier. Before the post-fight interview, the camera caught Teixeria congratulating Johnson and saying “Go get the champ.”
I can say without hyperbole that the post-fight interview provided one of the best sound bites of all time. Johnson stated that he and Teixeria respect each other and didn’t need to trash talk to promote the fight. He said they needed to just “do the damn thing.” Rogan then responded perfectly, the dude is a fucking pro. He said “and do the damn thing you did sir.” Just awesome.
Welterweight – Conor McGregor def. Nate Diaz – Decision Majority – (48-47, 47-47, 48-47)
This is the fight that everyone was waiting for. A rematch of the fight that persuaded me to buy UFC 196 and converted me into a UFC fan. I didn’t take any notes during this fight because I didn’t want to risk missing anything. I was intrigued the entire time and even though it went the whole 25 minutes, it went by quickly. McGregor tagged Diaz multiple times early which brought Diaz to the ground. But instead of jumping on top of him on the ground in an attempt to finish him off, McGregor let Diaz up every time. He didn’t want anything to do with the ground, the place where Diaz submitted him at 196. Diaz attempted to take McGregor to the ground many times, but McGregor was able to defend the attacks and except for being brought to the ground in the last seconds of the 5th round, he was successful in defending the take down attempts.
For me those are the only positives for McGregor in this fight. He looked gassed after the second round and even though he caught a second wind, his conditioning left something to be desired. He also was dominated in the clinch. Diaz controlled almost every clinch and landed many strikes. Diaz stunned McGregor a few times and landed many more strikes throughout the fight. Towards the end of the fight, with every punch McGregor landed to Diaz’s face, Diaz shook his head to say “your punches aren’t affecting me.” And whenever McGregor retreated, Diaz pointed at him trying and in my mind, succeeding at humiliating him pointing out when he ran away. With the take down at the end of the 5th I thought it was a guarantee that Diaz was going to win in either a majority or split decision.
My friend and I were genuinely surprised that McGregor won by majority decision. Diaz was clearly upset and stated he was “too real” for the UFC and McGregor began talking about a trilogy and wanting to fight Diaz again. After the unexpected decision combined with the immediate talk of another match up between the two, I instinctively began to think this fight was scripted and a set up to a third fight. I am probably wrong, but the whole thing seemed extremely shady to me. I will buy the card in which those two fight again, but I will always be skeptical of this fights outcome.
UFC 203 is only 3 weeks away on September 10th.