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UFC 202: Diaz vs McGregor 2 Fight Pass prelims preview

Coming to us from out of Las Vegas, NV, UFC 202: Diaz vs McGregor 2 is one of the most anticipated cards of the year! The evening of fights commences on Fight Pass featuring one of the better contests on the card between Neil Magny and Lorenz Larkin.

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

After a week off last week, the UFC returns with one of the most anticipated cards of the year. While most of the attention is being paid to Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz's feud, there is quality matchups throughout every potion of the card outside of main event. While I can't blame Lorenz Larkin for being upset about appearing on Fight Pass, it makes perfect sense for the UFC to put him and Neil Magny on the internet streaming service to attract viewers... or should I say buyers? Either way, it's one of the better fights on the card, one that I can't wait to see.

The Fight Pass Prelims start at 6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT.

Neil Magny (18-4) vs. Lorenz Larkin (17-5), Welterweight

Pop quiz: who has made more appearances in the Octagon this year? You'd think the notoriously active Magny, but the correct answer is actually Larkin.

Considering Magny took a hell of a beating in his victory over Hector Lombard, it really isn't all that surprising that he was forced to take a lengthy break from the fight game. As busy as he had been the previous two years, it might actually be a good thing for him to have taken a breather. Winner of ten of his last eleven, Magny isn't very far from being able to ask for a title shot without fans sniggering about him being delusional.

Larkin is a bit further off course than Magny from being in title contention, but his record of 3-1 since dropping down to the welterweight division indicates that he isn't one to be ignored. His lone loss since the drop was a tight decision to Albert Tumenov. Though he is taking the bout on short notice, Larkin recognizes that this is his opportunity to make a name for himself by reminding us of why many once considered him to be a future title contender.

Owning a 6'3" frame and an 80" reach, you'd think that Magny would want to stay on the outside and exploit the ridiculous size advantage he possesses over virtually every other welterweight on the roster. While Magny has developed a stiff jab and better use of his length for defensive purposes, his real wheelhouse is in close quarters. Making effective use of a plum clinch, he ravages the body of his opponent by driving his knees into them with devastating effect.

Despite owning an 8" reach disadvantage, Larkin will look to stay on the outside. A bit of a slow starter, Larkin traditionally warms up by flicking out his jab and throwing a number of low leg kicks. Once he has his timing and rhythm down, he explodes with fast combinations into his opponent. What Larkin is most known for is his lightning quick round kicks to the head and body. Used to fighting longer opponents, Larkin uses his crisp footwork to find effective angles in which to outstrike his opposition.

If the fight goes to the ground, it will assuredly be Magny who takes it there as Larkin has exactly one takedown in nine UFC contests. It will be a chore for Magny to get the fight there as Larkin has typically been tough to take down, especially since the drop in weight as he is no longer outsized by a sizeable margin. Magny does have good trips, good back taking skills, and devastating elbows from the top position. However, he doesn't maintain position that well and Larkin is often quick to scramble back to his feet.

The question will be who can exploit the others weakness. Magny's weakness is to strong submission grapplers and Larkin' is in the clinch against larger opponents. Larkin isn't much of a grappler, but Magny sure as hell can pin Larkin against the fence and mitigate Larkin's speed from there. While Larkin does have enough power in his kicks to end Magny's night with one strike, Magny has become much more effective with his defense and has also proven to be one durable SOB. While it should be competitive, I expect Magny to be one step closer to a title shot. Magny via decision

Colby Covington (9-1) vs. Max Griffin (12-2), Welterweight

From calling out the likes of GSP and Demian Maia at the conclusion of his last contest to welcoming a newcomer in Griffin. Not exactly what Covington had in mind....

There is a reason why Covington didn't get the step up in competition he was hoping to get despite his 4-1 UFC record: he isn't exactly a fighter fans are excited to watch. He isn't quite on the level of a Jared Rosholt where he'll be cut with his next loss, but he won't get the fights that he wants until he can develop a more exciting style.

Griffin punched his ticket to the UFC when he dropped UFC veteran David Mitchell three times within a minute. His first cup of coffee with the UFC came when he was unable to qualify for the TUF 16 house in 2012, falling short to Matt Secor. Even though he has improved a lot since that time, the UFC isn't bringing him in expecting big things as he is already 30. They're hoping that he can become an action-fighter on the lower levels.

Despite throwing a technically sound jab from the outside, Griffin is largely a brawler at heart. He's been able to find success with that due to his above average power and fast hands, swarming his opposition with a flurry of punches. He tends to lead with his chin at those times, but shouldn't be too worried in this contest as Covington isn't much of a counter striker. A plus athlete, Griffin isn't a very technical wrestler either, but he is able to get the takedown based on his physical talents.

Covington is a plus athlete as well in addition to being a very technical wrestler thanks to his collegiate days as an All-American wrestler. Owner of an explosive double-leg and suffocating top game, Covington has developed a reputation as a wet blanket as he doesn't do much other than maintain position once the fight gets to the ground. He's made some strides as a striker -€” witness the spinning backfist he landed on Jonathan Meunier in his last appearance -€” and he looks smooth when he throws, but hasn't found any consistent success in that department thanks to a lack of confidence.

Griffin has a chance as Covington isn't a great defensive fighter on his feet and isn't much of a striking threat. I still have to favor Covington though as his wrestling really is that damned good. Even if he can't finish the takedown, he'll be able to grind out Griffin against the fence with his dirty boxing and knees. Unless Covington has made some huge strides in his striking, expect this to be another dry decision victory for the ATT representative. Covington via decision

Alberto Uda (9-1) vs. Marvin Vettori (10-2), Welterweight

This is pretty much just filler. Uda is fighting for his job while Vettori is a prospect who is making his UFC debut in the evening's curtain jerker.

Uda was never a blue chip prospect, making his UFC debut at 31 based on the strength of his then undefeated record. Falling short in his debut to Jake Collier, Uda is dropping down to welterweight in hopes of extending his UFC stay beyond this contest as nothing short of a win is likely to do that.

Vettori isn't exactly a blue-chipper himself, but he is worth an extended look while having a higher ceiling than his Brazilian counterpart. The 22-year old Italian participated in each of the first three events of the controversial Venator promotion, including a win over UFC veteran Igor Araujo in his last appearance.

Similar to Neil Magny, Uda's 6'3" frame and 77" reach would make you think that he prefers to stay on the outside. That couldn't be further from the truth. The only consistent strike he throws at range is a front kick, much preferring to take the fight in close range. He does use his height to leverage his devastating knees into the body of his opponent, but that's about the only efficient use of his frame. Uda's other strength is submissions off of his back, which isn't exactly a wise place to hang out. He'd rather finish the fight with his fists if he has the top position rather than go for the submission.

Vettori has a fairly similar game to Uda as he isn't a great fighter from the outside, does his best work in the clinch, and is aggressive looking for submissions. The differences are that Vettori is a far superior athlete while being more comfortable from the top position on the ground. His aggressiveness on the ground has worked against him at times as he'll give up position looking for the finish. His athleticism also makes him appear much smoother on his feet than Uda, but don't let that fool you. Vettori is far from a polished product on the feet.

There isn't a clear-cut favorite in this one. I am concerned about Uda's ability to cut down to 170, something that he has never done before. Will his energy level be up to par? I tend to think it could be a negative for him as he has such a big frame for the weight class. Uda is hardly a good athlete either. Without any confidence, I'm picking the youngster to emerge from his UFC debut a winner. Vettori via submission of RD3

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