In my opinion the make or break point in the road for the Irishman’s top teir reputation and despite a second loss to Diaz not being the end of his UFC run, it most definitely will cripple his brand and a celebrity status as the “notorious” mouth piece of MMA.
Fighting up at this weight class brings up a lot of questions for Connor McGregor. No one has been able to withstand McGregor’s KO punches at 145lbs. however, in his last fight Diaz was able to absorb them. Diaz is naturally the bigger fighter with many experts saying that his natural weight is close to 200lb, so despite having to give Mcgregor a lot of credit for wanting the rematch at 170lbs. again in order to prove the weight difference was not the deciding factor, I sadly think the outcome will be the same due to what seemed like a lack of knockout power, unless McGregor will try not to fight fire with fire and directly exchange blows.
In addition to the weight and height advantage possessed by Diaz, it is the ridiculous stamina which also has to put Diaz as the favourite, competing in triathlons outside of his fighting schedule. Mcgregor looked completely exhausted by the second round but one thing is for sure, he is meticulous with his preparation, and perhaps this time having gone through a full training camp without switching opponents could prove the difference. Conversely, Diaz was taking shots down in Mexico two weeks prior to winning the fight on short notice so from either perspective I’m sure this will be a banger of a fight!
A match card lacking depth in my opinion, excluding Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton and Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor. Even though fans have been anticipating a main event push for Balor, I think his early title shot on the main roster won’t result with winning the title. I was watching a few weeks back when Rollins was mentioning that he has been the first to secure many achievements, some of which Balor has since followed and I think the creative team at WWE will be in favour of starting the new lineage of the Universal title. I think even though Balor has gained traction and career is notable with the hardcore wrestling fans, from the perspective of the mainstream audience the title will simply mean more with Rollins to convey a dominant spot.
In the Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton match I think the storyline build-up could have been better and utilising Paul Heyman more to make up for the limited availability of Lesnar. I do like the fact that the WWE are promoting the match around the two having trained in OVW and debuted in the same year, without having worked any major programmes together and that Orton dislikes Lesnar for having left back in 2004. Even though Lesnar has been the major attraction for the adult male demographic since having returned in 2012, I think Lesnar’s failed drug test which has tarnished WWE’s PR reputation of the WWE and despite not being suspended like his peers who work fulltime, my prediction is for Orton not only to play down Lesnar as a major character, but also because Orton also appeals to the older male audience and is available for fulltime programmes unlike Lesnar, so I expect Orton to be in the main event contention following this rivalry.
NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II
Lastly, I love the NXT Takeovers, not because it’s targeted towards fellow seriously devoted fans featuring more of an emphasis on high calibre matches rather than storylines, and it is a comfortable two hour event. I’m definitely excited to see this card more than the main WWE PPV Summerslam and reasons for which, would need an entirely devoted blog to explain! The matches I recommend looking out for are The Revival vs Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa and Bayley vs Asaka and Joe vs Nakamura. I’ve been so impressed by both of the main eventers since arriving to NXT and I think Joe will remain the champion and for the foreseeable future to share his vast experience with the younger wrestlers.