UFC 196 Picks: McGregor & Holm Fights To Headline Mega-Card

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, January 9, 2016 10:14 PM GMT

Conor McGregor moves up to 155 after capturing the featherweight crown to lock horns with the champion Rafael dos Anjos while Holly Holm defends her women's bantamweight crown against Miesha Tate as we eye each fight in our UFC picks.

Conor McGregor (19-2, 17 KO's, 1 Sub) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (25-7, 5 KO's, 8 Subs)
Conor McGregor proved to the world that he could back up all his bombast with overwhelming force when he floored the legendary featherweight king Jose Aldo in less time than it took to remove his warm-up gear. McGregor is pure and unadulterated entertainment and his legions of fans waving Irish banners believe there is not a fighter on the planet who can stand toe-to-toe with the man who calls himself the "Notorious" Conor McGregor.

Rafael dos Anjos started a reign of terror in the lightweight division that  began with a first-round submission over the Prince of Persia Kamal Shalorus back in May of 2012. That victory sparked a 10-1 streak that the current lightweight champ has enjoyed, culminating in a titanic dethroning of the then lightweight champ Anthony Pettis. dos Anjos won a unanimous decision and captured the crown much to the chagrin of all those who bet the champ in their UFC picks that night.

As of this writing the fight is still two months away but the UFC odds makers have done the right thing by installing the champ as a -130 betting favorite in this one. While McGregor can starch anyone who has the misfortune of falling victim to his either his left or right hand, dos Anjos has become a stone cold killer standing up or on the mat. In his last fight the champ extinguished Cowboy Donald Cerrone only 1:06 into their scrap on December 19th and this was against a legitimate wrecking ball who had murked his last eight opponents. What a telling difference between their initial fight in August of 2013 when dos Anjos defeated Cerrone by decision and the fight in December where dos Anjos swarmed the Cowboy from the opening bell and rendered him defenseless only a minute later.

In my opinion, the champ is just too good on the mat for McGregor and that is why he is my choice to win this one. Bet dos Anjos -125 at William Hill.

Editor's Update: It has come to light that Rafael dos Anjos has suffered a foot injury that has him, at the moment, questionable for this fight. Stay tuned for more updates as more on dos Anjos condition is released. In the meantime, join in on the conversation with our readers in our SBR Forum thread.

Check Our Preview for McGregor vs. Diaz Fight

Miesha Tate (17-5, 3 KO's, 6 Subs) vs. Holly Holm (10-0, 7 KO's, 0 Subs)
With the exception of a rematch with Ronda Rousey or a tussle with Cat Zingano, Miesha Tate is the toughest draw for Holly Holm. The Preacher's Daughter shocked the world with a punishing victory over Ronda Rousey and shredded the aura of invincibility off the former champ like a tree stump through a wood chipper. It was a magnificent performance and the former boxing champ, who has held more belts than Men's Warehouse, was as gracious in victory outside the cage as she was ferocious inside the Octagon.

However here is the big "but," and trust me, it pains me to write this because I believe Holm is a deserving champion and one classy woman. She will be enormously disadvantaged when she meets an elite grappler willing to forego standing and trading with her. Holly Holm had only a pair of underwhelming UFC victories entering her fight with Ronda Rousey. She defeated Raquel Pennington, who at the time carried a 5-5 MMA record, by split decision and then went the distance with 38-year-old Marion Reneau and prevailed by unanimous decision.

Fighters get better, and I understand this. They learn, evolve and hone their skills to tempered steel, but Holm is coming off the biggest win in MMA ever. She could very well come out flat when she meets a superb mat tactician in Miesha Tate. If she can avoid being sucked in by Holm's phenomenal footwork and preternatural striking ability, she could very well pull the upset here.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2964395, "sportsbooksIds":[169,1096,19,93,92,238,349], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
UFC Pick: Bet Miesha Tate +300
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker