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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz Statistical Analysis

“The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s most marketable rivalry will finally get its second breath.

After a superlative 2015 campaign, the outspoken Conor McGregor entered his March showdown with Nate Diaz with an aura of destiny. At that point, McGregor was undefeated in the UFC and had not tasted defeat since an early career submission loss in 2010. After the Irishman tapped to a rear-naked choke from Diaz, the rematch was booked for UFC 200, but a maelstrom of drama surrounding press obligations and faux-retirement unfolded, pushing it back until now. This will be McGregor’s second fight above 145 pounds and his second fight of 2016.

On the other side of cage at UFC 202 on Saturday in Las Vegas will be longtime MMA antihero and cult favorite Diaz, who notched the most important win of his career when he throttled McGregor at UFC 196. Since then, he has become a bona fide star in the sport. The winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 has nearly a decade of UFC fights under his belt, as well as stints in World Extreme Cagefighting and a one-off Strikeforce bout, making him a true veteran of the sport. Diaz is 3-3 in the UFC fighting above lightweight, and this will be his second fight of the year.

There are a lot of narrative and stylistic threads running through this fight, so let us see what the Tale of the Tape says…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts, rap

Imagining the UFC Champs as Rap Albums pt. 2

“In part two of this special feature, we bring you the five remaining Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholders, from lightweight to heavyweight. This, of course, excludes Jon Jones. He was the interim light heavyweight champ but has quietly been taken out of the official UFC rankings. For those curious souls, his album analogue was 2-Pac’s “All Eyez on Me.” I’ll let you use your imagination as to why.

Let us turn our focus to the five champions who have not been stripped…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts, rap

Imagining the UFC Champions as Rap Albums pt. 1

“If MMA was music, it would have to be rap. Not only is individualism at the forefront of the sport and the genre, but both encompass a unique aesthetic that blends gritty toughness with technical artistry; the word “art” is one-third of MMA, and if we are being honest, rap at its best is everything poetry wishes to be. It is only right then to anoint the greatest MMA fighters in each division by comparing them to the rap albums that best encapsulate their fighting styles, personalities and careers.

Before the Ultimate Fighting Championship title picture reshuffles any more, here is part one, which covers featherweight down to women’s strawweight…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

When Chaos is OK

“Perhaps the most unanimously beloved championship domino fell when Robbie Lawler was knocked out at UFC 201 on Saturday in Atlanta. Prior to that, it seemed like no division was safe.

Starting with Holly Holm’s win over Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, every division except light heavyweight, flyweight and women’s strawweight has seen varying degrees of championship reshuffling. Conor McGregor dethroned longtime featherweight king Jose Aldo; Dominick Cruz reclaimed his bantamweight title from reigning champ T.J. Dillashaw; Stipe Miocic shocked undisputed heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum in Brazil; Michael Bisping upset Luke Rockhold in spectacular fashion; and Eddie Alvarez put a beatdown on Rafael dos Anjos. Now, Tyron Woodley can add his name to that list. The only three divisions not affected by this have basically been held steady by all-time talents — Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Demetrious Johnson and, with all due respect to Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones. I know, Jedrzejczyk hasn’t done enough yet to be grouped in such company, but consider this my prediction that she’s on her way.

It is indeed a turbulent time to be a UFC champion. Although some weight classes, like lightweight and heavyweight, are historically unkind to prolonged title reigns, others have been defined by distinct championship eras…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Robbie Lawler vs. Tyron Woodley Stat Analysis

“In the post-Georges St. Pierre welterweight world, the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight division continues to get progressively more exciting.

Robbie Lawler has been busy stringing together an unprecedented spree of classic fights. Most recently, he took a controversially close split decision in a back-and-forth affair with Carlos Condit on Jan. 2. Before that, he authored a signature win in an all-time great bout against Rory MacDonald in July 2015, which was his first title defense and only fight of the year. The unlikely late-career resurgence for the longtime vet has been a true feel-good story; prior to his return to the UFC, Lawler went 3-5 in Strikeforce with several uninspired performances. Now he is two wins away from tying the title defense record of mentor and former coach Pat Miletich.

Standing in his way at UFC 201 on Saturday in Atlanta is fellow Strikeforce alum Tyron Woodley. The NCAA All-American wrestler has had a sterling-if-not-slightly-underappreciated career thus far. After failing to capture the Strikeforce welterweight championship in 2012, Woodley has gone 5-2 in the UFC, losing only to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald, the former a much-maligned split decision loss most felt was a robbery. Despite being among the elite welterweights for half a decade, “The Chosen One” has surprisingly little to show for it, making this a high-stakes bout for him. Woodley has not fought since UFC 183 in January 2015.

Here is what the Tale of the Tape has to say…”

 

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