By Adam Martin
UFC 202 is a stacked card featuring a number of amazing matchups in a number of different weight classes, but the welterweight division in particular is getting showcased on this card.
There are 12 total fights on the card, and six of them take place at 170 lbs, the most notable of which is the main event, the long-awaited rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz.
Now obviously both men, as everyone knows, are fighting outside of their natural weight classes. McGregor is the current UFC Featherweight Champion (although you could easily forget that since he’s never defended his title) while most of Diaz’ fights in the UFC have taken place at 155 lbs. Having said that, the fight is a welterweight contest, and with that fact in mind, it’s still not out of the realm of possibility that either fighter – especially Diaz, if he wins – continues to fight at welterweight in the future. Unlikely, but possible. Regardless, though, the fact remains: A welterweight fight headlines UFC 202.
Also on the main card are two short-notice welterweight bouts. Originally Hyun Gyu Lim was set to fight Sultan Aliev, but he now takes on Mike Perry, a UFC newcomer who is being thrown into the lion’s den on short notice. On paper it’s a fight that Lim should win, although Perry could make things interesting if he lives up to the hype. In addition, Tim Means, who was supposed to fight Sean Strickland originally, now takes on UFC newcomer Sabah Homasi. Means, who recently returned from a six-month USADA drug suspension caused by a tainted supplement, is quickly making a move up the welterweight ladder, and this is a fight he needs to win to guarantee himself a big fight his next time out. For Homasi, it’s a golden opportunity to take out a top welterweight and make an immediate impact in the Octagon.
Colby Covington meets UFC newcomer (a common theme on this card, apparently) Max Griffin. Covington is a very good fighter who sits just below the top 15 of the welterweight division, while Griffin has been on a hot streak on the regional circuit and looks like a solid prospect. And of course the “main event” of the Fight Pass card is a terrific fight between Neil Magny, a winner of 10 of his last 11 fights, and Lorenz Larkin, who has won three of four since moving to 170 lbs. Both of these guys are always in exciting fights, so putting them in the Octagon together should result in fireworks, and a great way to start what should be a terrific night of fights.
With Tyron Woodley recently knocking out Robbie Lawler to shake up the welterweight division, all the 170-pounders fighting at UFC 202 have extra incentive to have good performances, as there is simply no telling what will happen in arguably the deepest division in the sport. We do know that Stephen Thompson is reportedly getting the next title shot, and if Georges St-Pierre returns then he’ll get a big fight, but otherwise the division is pretty wide open at the top. It’s up to the fighters now to show off
their skills and stand out among the rest of the pack, and at UFC 202, many of the UFC’s top welterweights will have the opportunity to do just that.
If anything, the UFC should have done an entire main card full of welterweight fights, but with a terrific co-main event between light heavyweights Anthony Johnson and Glover Teixeira also on the PPV card, it’s hard to complain about that. Regardless, with four of five main card fights taking place at 170lbs, as well as two additional welterweight bouts on the prelim card, UFC 202 is a showcase of some of the most talented fighters in the weight class, and at the end of the day, the fans should be in for a real treat.
UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor 2 takes place on August 20, 2016 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.