UFC 196 is shaping up to be one of the year’s most memorable nights, with a number of promising, heated battles and fascinating odds.
In the early prelims, Toronto native Jason Saggo takes on Wyoming’s Justin “J-Bomb” Salas, with both fighters taking impressive records into the fight. Saggo has only been beaten twice, and has a 20 per cent knockout record from his 12 fights, while the more experienced Salas has lost on six occasions but has a 33 per cent knockout record from his 12 victories.
For Saggo, who is based in Charlottetown, the night represents a chance to bounce back from a horrific injury lay-off, having recently recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon that kept him out of fighting for 17 months.
Saggo has been reflecting on how time spent away from the ring has enabled him to focus his mind on how to improve himself as a fighter, while his body recovered from the injury. Canadian UFC fans will hope he can come back stronger than ever at UFC 196.
There are some interesting odds cropping up elsewhere on the card, and 32Red Canada has Brandon Thatch at odds of 7/25 to beat Siyar Bahadurzada, while women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm is 1/4 favourite to successfully defend her title for the first time by beating Miesha Tate in the co-main event.
Main event star Conor McGregor oozed confidence at the UFC 196 press conference, goading his opponent, Nate Diaz, with jibes about his personal life and his alleged reluctance to fight in lower weight categories.
Diaz was only drafted in to fight McGregor in a late change to the bill for the March 5 event at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. McGregor had been due to go toe to toe with UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, but the Brazilian was ruled out of the bout due to a broken foot.