Evening Up the Series

ufc-202The UFC has been on a path recently and it is a path that is bringing a lot of new fans to the sport but one that has long-time MMA fans worried.

That path has been modelled after one of the most successful and yet polarising entertainment companies in the world.

Vince McMahon built a monster out of a sport that was suited more for carnivals than for major stadiums.

Turning professional wrestling from an attempt at a real sport with some theatre to a sport with plenty of theatre but no real competition, not to say that the damage and athleticism aren’t real, was the plan.

He executed it to perfection as the WWE now sells out major arenas around the world, has produced some major stars, and has its own TV network.

They are the most successful sports entertainment company in the world and the UFC saw that success and wanted to pattern themselves after the success.

That isn’t exactly a great thing as the WWE has the freedom to control matches and make champions as they see fit, which helps in their storytelling and creates more drama.

In the UFC the organisation is entirely at the mercy of the performance of their athletes as they can build up anyone as much as they want but if they lose that work means nothing.

The path to follow the WWE had always been there and it helped them to grow but lately, it seems like they are looking to it more in creating fights that simply don’t make sense just to sell tickets.

It’s hard to say that it is a bad idea because they always want to continue to grow and be mentioned in the mainstream.

Big fights with big names do that and the UFC continues to try to put on massive fights to peak the interest of the casual MMA fan.

That is what happened when Conor McGregor received a fight against the lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos.

McGregor was the biggest name in the UFC at that point and after winning the featherweight title McGregor wanted to move on and try to earn two titles.

The UFC obliged, as many organisations do when the biggest earner wants to do something, and the fight was set.

Of course, the fight never happened with dos Anjos withdrawing due to injury and in his place was Nate Diaz.

The fight was considered a desperation match-up that essentially came about because the UFC didn’t want to have to cancel and event.

Diaz was the only one willing to accept a fight on a week’s notice and so he got the fight, albeit at welterweight rather than lightweight.

Then the biggest issue in building a fighter up came true as McGregor was submitted by Diaz and lost his undefeated record and his mystique.

The loss had many thinking that the logical move was to send McGregor back to the featherweight division where he could clean out the top challengers before trying to move up again.

That is not what happened though as McGregor got his way again and the rematch was scheduled for UFC 200.

That fight was also cancelled but eventually rescheduled for UFC 202 where McGregor looked to get revenge, and a trilogy and Diaz looked to prove he was simply better and to get the payday that McGregor brings.mma-sidebar.fw

It was not necessarily the best matchup to make for the UFC simply due to the risk because if McGregor lost the fight his star power takes a massive hit.

Instead, it would have been smart to tell him to fight in the featherweight division where his long-term success is likely to come.

Instead they went for the big fight and although it was a massive win on the night the risk had some UFC fans wondering what the future could hold.

The last time these two faced off it seemed like the weight gain from McGregor had slowed him down and taken away any gas tank that he had.

He came out in the first round like himself striking and avoiding damage but in the second round he gassed out and got caught which led to his submission loss.

This time, he came out looking to be more economical with his striking and to make sure he didn’t lose his gas tank after the first round.

That is exactly what he did as he picked apart Diaz in the first and started to do the same in the second until a familiar aspect of fighting came back.

McGregor began to gas at the end of the round and Diaz took full advantage ending the round with a flurry.

The third was the same as Diaz took advantage of a tired McGregor and beginning to land a lot more shots as the tide seemed to be turning.

McGregor then came back and seemed to find a second wind to start taking over again as he continued to land big shots even dropping Diaz.

After five rounds it was a tough fight to score as McGregor seemed to get more rounds but Diaz had certainly done his damage in plenty of rounds.

The judges decided on the Majority Decision in favour of McGregor who evened the series between the two fighters in a great fight.

Most would say that McGregor should return to the featherweight division but both fighters will likely complete the trilogy as both make plenty of money in the fight and many want to see the rivalry solved.

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