Conor McGregor is a rising star in the UFC. A few more wins and the hype train will only augment. He has the “it” factor — the charisma and the trash talk is down pat (it’s not the pro wrasslin’ shtick that Chael Sonnen was one-dimensional with), and he’s an exciting fighter. He just hasn’t beaten any big names, but that’ll come with time.

He’ll be fighting Diego Brandao tonight. The last time we saw Brandao, he was knocked out with six seconds remaining in the first round by Dustin Poirier at UFC 168.

I missed the weigh in video for tonight’s event, but I heard that it got emotional. That spells disaster for Brandao, a man who tends to let his emotions completely overrun any common sense and the following adrenaline dump often leaves him totally gassed.

McGregor tends to come from more of the Michael Bisping-esque school, in which most of his out of the cage talk and bluster is really just talk and bluster to get in his opponent’s head. He fights with extreme calm and poise in the cage and, unlike Brandao, seems to suffer from none of the emotional fallout. Even if that weren’t the case, he’s a much more skilled striker, both offensively and defensively, so as long as he doesn’t get stupid and try and out-scramble Brandao, this is his fight to lose. Conor McGregor by KO, round 2.

I’m not really interested in the entire card, but that’s mostly because I’ll be missing it, since the fights will be on earlier in the day, considering that I’d be watching in America, but I’ll touch on one more fight that has my interest: a flyweight bout between Brad Pickett and Ian McCall.

McCall seems to always have the potential to get drawn into a stupid fight that he doesn’t have to be in. He gets hit hard a couple of times and his entire gameplan and diversity of skills tend out the window.

That said, even if he just decides to stand in front of Pickett and trade punches, I think he’s the better fighter. McCall is an elite athlete at 125 pounds. He’s fast, he’s powerful, he scrambles expertly, and he’s really not weak anywhere. Pickett is over the hill; he wasn’t the quickest at 135, and I just dont see anything he does as making a difference in this one. I just see Pickett getting beat to the punch all night by the faster fighter and, if McCall holds it all together, potentially outwrestled and out-grappled as well. Ian McCall by unanimous decision.


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