Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC
The UFC is returning in some style following a week’s break.
UFC 202 sees Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor finally square off in their rematch at the newly-minted T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, just weeks after the promotion’s first bow in this venue at UFC 200 a month ago.
The main event is a blockbuster and is supplemented throughout the fight card to create a well-rounded night of fights. Light heavyweight powerhouse Anthony Johnson is taking on Brazilian brawler Glover Teixeira in the co-main event, the gritty Rick Story faces off against the mercurial Donald Cerrone, crisp boxer Cody Garbrandt is slated to fight scrappy Japanese bantamweight Takeya Mizugaki, while Neil Magny vs. Lorenz Larkin serves as the UFC Fight Pass prelims headliner.
In short, it’s a damn good card.
But, for this week’s One to Watch, I have plumped for storyline over big names. Artem Lobov vs. Chris Avila is a match-up which has many interesting facets to its credit.
Featured on the Fox Sports preliminary fights, Lobov and Avila are the perfect precursor to Saturday night’s main event. Lobov is both the best friend and main training partner for McGregor at the Dublin-based Straight Blast Gym, while Avila is a similar figure in the fighting life of Diaz—training alongside the Diaz brothers at Cesar Gracie’s gym up in northern California.
The subject of training partners has been a common theme between both McGregor and Diaz in the pre-fight preamble ahead of UFC 196 back in March—Diaz continually brought up the alleged lack in quality of SBG training partners. In an interview with BJPenn.com, Nate’s brother Nick said: “I’m just saying he’s (Nate) had fucking matches with top blacks belts all over. This guy is one of best fucking black belts in the world (points at someone off camera). ….View full article