LAS VEGAS (KXNT) — Conor McGregor avenged his only loss in the UFC with a majority decision victory over Nate Diaz on Saturday night at UFC 202.
In a highly anticipated rematch of their two-round welterweight thriller in March, the two put on an action-packed fight, with each taking control at different moments. The judges scored it 48-47, 47-47, 48-47.
McGregor forced the action early, landing multiple leg kicks to Diaz’s lead leg and a straight left that knocked Diaz down. McGregor knocked Diaz down twice more in Round 2, bloodying his nose and taking total control.
LIVE BLOG: UFC 202 Minute-By-Minute Report
Later in Round 2, Diaz found the energy to unleash a flurry of strikes, knocking McGregor down against the fence. Diaz continued to attack in Round 3, and for the final 90 seconds of Round 4, the fighters stood in the center of the cage and exchanged punches.
They traded punches again in the fifth, and neither gained an edge until the final ten seconds, when Diaz secured a trip and landed a few final shots from on top before the bell rang.
McGregor was originally supposed to fight Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight title at UFC 196, but dos Anjos pulled out due to injury. McGregor agreed instead to fight Diaz in a welterweight bout, and Diaz finished the flyweight champion with a rear naked choke in the second round, ending McGregor’s 15-match winning streak.
A rematch was immediately set for the landmark UFC 200 card but canceled when McGregor announced his retirement and refused to meet with media. McGregor did not end up retiring, but UFC did drop him from the card.
Instead the anticipated rematch was set for UFC 202. The garrulous McGregor had promised to finish Diaz early this time around, and promotion for the fight included a bottle-throwing melee at a press conference Wednesday.
They again fought at welterweight, with McGregor planning to drop back down to lightweight following the bout win or lose.
Meanwhile, Anthony Johnson landed a devastating uppercut 13 seconds into the first round to knock out Glover Teixeira in the co-main event between top-ranked light heavyweights.
Johnson (22-5) flattened Teixeira with the shot, forcing the referee to call an early end to the fight. Johnson got his 13th victory in his past 14 fights and put himself in position to challenge for the title.
“I’m coming for you Daniel,” Johnson said, speaking to current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who was seated near the cage.
Donald Cerrone (31-7) got an impressive knockout victory over Rick Story (19-9) in a battle of ranked welterweights.
Both fighters started slow, but 14th-ranked Cerrone picked up the pace in the second half of Round 1, landing accurate strikes and effective leg kicks to take an early edge. Cerrone controlled the pace in Round 2, forcing the action by landing a three-punch combination followed by a head kick that left Story dazed. Cerrone followed with a knee to the head that dropped Story to the mat, and the fight was stopped at 2 minutes, 2 seconds of the second round.
Bantamweight prospect Cody Garbrandt (10-0) notched his fifth UFC win with a devastating first-round knockout over veteran Japanese fighter Takeya Mizugaki (21-10-2). Garbrandt, known for his power, wasted no time in pressuring Mizugaki, landing a flurry of punches that sent Mizugaki to his knees. Garbrandt then pounced, landing crosses and hammer fists that forced the referee to stop the fight after 48 seconds.
“I respect him as a veteran,” Garbrandt said. “I noticed I hurt him early on. I had to pick my spots and take him out.”