There has been a lot of confusion surrounding the details of UFC main event 196. Originally scheduled to be headlined by a title fight between Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez, UFC actually changed the classification of the original UFC 196 to Fight Night 82 after the title fight was cancelled. This means that what was intended to be UFC 197 is now the new UFC 196. While it is a shame to miss out on Werdum vs. Velasquez, the match-ups scheduled for the new UFC 196 should be exciting enough to keep any UFC fan riveted.
The two primary bouts in UFC 196 will be Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Conor McGregor and Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate. Both should offer some guaranteed thrills guaranteed to keep fans on the edge of their seats; McGregor is seeking the lightweight title, which would help him secure his second world championship, while Holm defends hers for the first time. There are plenty of other great match-ups on offer as well, including Corey Anderson vs. Tom Lawlor, Erick Silva vs. Nordine Taleb, and more. But now let’s get to the good stuff and take a look at how some of these fights may play out.
McGregor and Dos Anjos are relatively well-matched physically, with Dos Anjos having the slight height advantage at 5’9″ and McGregor a slight weight advantage at 155 lbs. Dos Anjos does have superior reach, however, at 74″ to McGregor’s 70. This is going to give McGregor a serious disadvantage versus Dos Anjos’ preferred takedown-heavy style of fighting. Despite McGregor’s courage in continuing to challenge some of the world’s best fighters, he has been weak on defense against ground and pound tactics, as we saw in his fight versus Chad Mendes. We also have to consider that MacGregor is moving up a weight division to take on Dos Anjos, which is no small task.
McGregor has claimed that he will take down Dos Anjos with a knockout in the first round. While his predictions have often come true in the past, this one seems less clear cut. A victory by McGregor here would be stunning and quite a spectacle, but we have to consider that if Dos Anjos manages to use his superior reach to move McGregor into a takedown, there may be no recovering for the Irish sparkplug. McGregor certainly has something to prove, however, and his confidence is infectious. We may just see him claim his second title in a new weight class, even if it takes him longer than a single round.
In the Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate fight, the title-holder also has a slight height and reach advantage. This will be the first time we see Holm perform on the other side of a glorious, upset victory over Ronda Rousey, and therefore many see her as unstoppable at this point. However, Rousey and Tate have completely different approaches to fighting, and Holm may have her work cut out for her in defending her title from the so-called “Cupcake.” Holm is the unparalleled queen of striking, but she will need to successfully fend of Tate’s grapple to stay on top in this match. Even so, it’s hard not to foresee a Holm victory coming off of her amazing last performance.