MANILA, Philippines – The stage is set for the much-awaited encounter between UFC featherweight titleholder Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz as both men made weight for their 5-round welterweight showdown at the UFC 196 pay-per-view event on Sunday, March 6 (March 5 in US).
Both men were below the welterweight division’s 170-pound limit as McGregor weighed 168 pounds, while Diaz was just a pound heavier than the 27-year-old Irishman.
As the two outspoken stalwarts were called to meet at center stage for the traditional pre-fight staredown, McGregor and Diaz furiously threw verbal jabs at each other, prompting UFC officials to intervene and separate them.
McGregor was originally penciled to challenge UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, who pulled out of the bout due to a foot injury.
Many fighters in the UFC roster offered themselves as replacement foes for the UFC featherweight titleholder, but Diaz struck the jackpot in the McGregor sweepstakes and was given Dos Anjos’ spot.
Diaz (18-10), a 30-year-old native of Stockton, California, is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Michael Johnson last December.
McGregor (19-2) ended the nearly 5-year reign of Jose Aldo as featherweight champion by knocking out his Brazilian rival in just 13 seconds this past December.
Slotted in the co-main event portion of UFC 196 is a women’s bantamweight championship clash between reigning champion Holly Holm and Miesha Tate.
Holm tipped the scales at 134.5 pounds, while Tate came in at exactly 135 pounds to receive the green light for their title tilt.
Here's the staredown between Holly Holm (134.5) and Miesha Tate (135). #UFC196 @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/pASQv25wsn — NISSI ICASIANO (@Nissi_Icasiano) March 5, 2016
UFC 196 takes place at the 16,800-capacity MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. – Rappler.com