The UFC is off to a good start in 2016, but I think we can all agree they're going to really kick it in to high gear with UFC 196. With Conor McGregor attempting to make history as the first ever holder of both the featherweight and lightweight UFC belts and Holly Holm taking on Miesha Tate after dethroning Ronda Rousey, the storylines are pretty awesome.
It's all going down March 5 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena. You can watch on Pay-Per-View. So let's dive right in...
CHAMPION Rafael dos Anjos (25-7 MMA, 14-5 UFC) vs. CHAMPION Conor McGregor (19-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC)
While the fight was originally supposed to be on the UFC 197 card, after some schedule shifting it is now going to be called UFC 196. And with Conor McGregor on the card, ratings are destined to be high.
For the rare all-champion main event, Rafael dos Anjos puts his lightweight belt on the line against featherweight titleholder McGregor. Dos Anjos is ranked No. 1 in USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings and No. 6 pound-for-pound; McGregor is No. 1 at featherweight and No. 4 pound-for-pound.
Like I mentioned before, McGregor could make history with a win in this fight. He bulked up really quickly from 145 pounds to 155 to get to his peak lightweight form, but he has to realize Rafael has been steadily and consistently at 155 for a much longer time than our challenger.
UFC president Dana White doesn't believe McGregor is making a good decision to go forward with this fight. And I think for good reason. The UFC in general is happy to see two of their stars facing off, but at what price?
To get to this superfight, dos Anjos had to claim the lightweight title from Anthony Pettis before notching a title defense against Donald Cerrone. McGregor, meanwhile, has stolen much of the sport’s spotlight during a featherweight run that included a recent (and quick) title win over longtime champ Jose Aldo.
My bold prediction: Conor McGregor by 3rd Round KO
CHAMPION Holly Holm (10-0) vs Miesha Tate (17-5)
Tate had the following to say about the match-up with Holly:
"Without giving away too much of the gameplan, obviously footwork is an important part of it. I just think that Holly is a stellar fighter. She proved that you can't underestimate anyone in this game. I think that we're putting together a really solid gameplan to fight her. I'm sure it's going to be a hell of a fight. She's amazing, she's undefeated, she's the champion so I know I really have to bring it to her to try and take it away from her. Holly brings something to the table that I've never had to face before. Her boxing level, and kickboxing level are the most elite in the division hands down. She's dynamic and knows how to move."
Obviously, all eyes will be on Holly and her ability to remain Champion after defeating the once seemingly-unbeatable Ronda Rousey. The Albuquerque native has been training with lots of legendary athletes, including Jon Jones, but is she ready?
My bold prediction: Holly Holm by 1st round KO
Here's the rest of the card:
- Corey Anderson vs. Tom Lawlor
- Erick Silva vs. Nordine Taleb
- Darren Elkins vs. Chas Skelly
- Jim Miller vs. Diego Sanchez
- Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Vitor Miranda
- Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko
- Ilir Latifi vs. Gian Vilante
- Jason Saggo vs. Justin Salas
UFC 196 takes place March 5 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.
Who are you taking in the main fights?