Conor McGregor v Nate Diaz, Holly Holm v Miesha Tate - UFC 196: what channel is it on, and what time does it start?
UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor moves up to welterweight for the first time to take on former lightweight challenger Nate Diaz at UFC 196 on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Co-headlining the event is Holly Holm, conqueror of Ronda Rousey, against Miesha Tate.
McGREGOR vs DIAZ
Originally, the Irishman McGregor was set to face Rafael dos Anjos for the UFC lightweight title, but Dos Anjos pulled out with a broken foot 11 days before the fight.
Instead, McGregor will step up to welterweight to face Diaz, a former lightweight title challenger.
McGregor, 27, knocked out Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds in his last fight at UFC 194 to unify the UFC featherweight championship.
Diaz, 30, has lost three out of his last five UFC contests.
HOLM vs TATE
Holm, 34, made all the headlines last year for her two-round demoltion of the seemingly invincible Ronda Rousey. Former professional boxer Holma takes on ex-Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight champion Tate, 29.
Tate had lost to Holm's former victim Rousey back in March 2012 in a submission defeat after Rousey used the armbar.
WHERE CAN I WATCH IT?
BT Sport 2, from 3am Saturday night (Sunday morning).
You can watch the premilinary bouts before the event from 1am, also on BT Sport 2.
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz (Welterweight)
Holly Holm (c) vs. Miesha Tate (Women's Bantamweight)
Gian Villante vs. Ilir Latifi (Light heavyweight)
Corey Anderson vs. Tom Lawlor (Light Heavyweight)
Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko (Women's Bantamweight)
Brandon Thatch vs. Siyar Bahadurzada (Welterweight)
Erick Silva vs. Nordine Taleb (Welterweight)
Vitor Miranda vs. Marcelo Guimaraes (Middleweight)
Darren Elkins vs. Chas Skelly (Featherweight)
UFC 196: Five reasons why Conor McGregor will be a different animal at welterweight against Nate Diaz
McGregor's weight cut this Friday
It was revealed last week that McGregor is currently walking around at 177lbs. Deane believes that McGregor will have to make little effort to hit the 171lbs limit on Friday evening:
"We know from recent comments that Conor has gone from eating Salads for cutting to steak and potatoes to keep his weight high," said Deane.
"In our opinion, Conor’s nutritionist will cut his overall calorie intake slightly since the announcement of the fight at that weight.
"He may also use a water load then reduce water to a minimum the day before coupled with the use of a natural diuretic to remove any remaining water."
How does McGregor make the featherweight weight limit?
McGregor usually fights at 145lbs and it's been widely remarked that he pushes himself to the limit making this weight. Deane believes he gets down to the weight using a number of different weight cutting techniques:
"To make 145 lbs Conor’s diet would have looked very different. He would be eating less calorie dense foods, for example instead of steak and chicken maybe fish and turkey," said Deane.
"Again towards the end of camp maybe some water manipulation and natural diuretic along with extra cardio sessions, more than likely in a sweatsuit.
"To drain the last water retention, a sauna or hot bath would possibly be used."
Is McGregor limiting his true ability fighting at featherweight?
Despite his amazing performances in the Octagon, many believe McGregor hasn't been fighting at his true potential due to him cutting so much weight 24 hours before the fight. Deane doesn't quite sign up to this but believes that he might improve in some areas at the higher weight classes:
"Having been working with John Hathaway for 7 years now, who cuts from 90-92kg to 77kg pretty comfortably without losing a level of performance, I would say it truly does depend on how it's done," said Deane.
"If Conor walks around at 80kg roughly and has to make 65kg, it’s a similar amount to which John loses. Conor is an intelligent fighter and would not risk a bad weight loss, therefore, I would predict that he and his nutritionist would have everything planned in great detail as to how to drop the weight without affecting performance.
If he was badly weight drained or dehydrated for a fight this would affect his mental judgement, cardio output, flexibility, agility and his ability to take strikes.
"Taking all this into consideration and the way he has stormed through his opponents, I would say his diet is perfect for his weight cut."
What differences can we expect to see from McGregor at 170lbs?
Deane believes we could well see a different animal in McGregor come Saturday night: "Carrying extra lean muscle mass means one massive advantage - an increase in strength.
"His clinch will be stronger, his strength on the ground will be better and his punching more powerful."
"He may lose some speed as he will be heavier, however, his agility and flexibility will not be affected because of all the movement and flexibility specific training he does. I look forward to seeing the bigger, more powerful Conor this weekend."
What weight division is right for McGregor?
Never before has a UFC competitor been so laissez-faire moving up and down weight divisions. Deane believes McGregor after this fight should probably step back down to lightweight before later moving back to welterweight:
"If every fighter entered at their walkaround weight, then welterweight would be his division," said Deane.
"The fact is most welterweights can lose anything up to 10kgs or more to make weight, then after rehydrating they would put most of that back on.
"So would Conor be able to compete against guys who are a lot heavier in the Octagon at welterweight? Well, only time will tell!
"It may be that he will be ‘cleaning out’ the lightweight division before his body matures and grows more before he moves up."
The festivities will start in Las Vegas tomorrow at a media day where McGregor and Diaz will meet for the first time since their run in last week at the UFC 196 press conference in LA. The fight will go down Saturday night at the MGM Grand and will be broadcast live on BT Sports 2 for UK viewers.