LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Conor McGregor got his revenge.
And two Albuquerque-trained fighters — Tim Means and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone — scored impressive wins on the main card of Saturday night’s UFC 202 in T-Mobile Arena.
McGregor avenged his loss to Nate Diaz by outpointing him to a majority decision in a rematch of their two-round welterweight thriller in March.
The two put on an action-packed fight in which McGregor came out strong and then hung on in a tiring slugfest. Two of the judges scored it 48-47 for McGregor, and the other had it 47-47.
McGregor immediately challenged Diaz to a third fight, but only if Diaz would come down to the lightweight division.
“Surprise, surprise! The king is back!” McGregor said. “If you want this trilogy, it’s on my terms. I came up to 170, now you’ll come back to 155 and we’ll finish what we’ve started. I knew what I had to do this time around and I did it.”
McGregor (20-3) forced the action in the opening round, landing multiple leg kicks to Diaz’s lead leg and a straight left that knocked down Diaz (20-11).
The Irishman knocked down Diaz twice more in the second round, bloodying his nose and appearing to have total control of the fight.
The persistent Diaz found his footing later in the second, though, unleashing a flurry of strikes and knocking down McGregor against the fence. Diaz continued to attack in the third and, for the final 90 seconds of the fourth, they stood in the center of the cage and exchanged punches.
They traded punches again in the fifth, and neither gained an edge until the final 10 seconds, when Diaz secured a trip and landed a few final shots from on top before the bell rang.
As for Albuquerque’s part of the huge pay-per-view event, Means and Cerrone impressed.
In the first fight of the pay-per-view portion of the event, Means, who trains at FIT-NHB gym, welcomed Sabah Homasi into the UFC with an aggressive flurry of elbows and strikes — both from distance and in the clench — opening up a cut above Homasi’s left eye midway through the opening five-minute round.
It was more of the same in the second with Means (26-7) dominating Homasi (11-6) until referee Herb Dean stepped in and stopped the fight, giving Means a TKO (punches) victory (2:56, 2nd round).
As for Cerrone, the Jackson-Wink MMA veteran improved to 31-7 overall and 3-0 since moving up to the 170-pound welterweight division.
Dean also stepped in to stop this fight in the second round, giving Cerrone the win via TKO (2:02, 2nd round, punches) over Rick Story (19-9).
After the fight, Cerrone said he’d like his next fight to be back at 155 pounds against lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. Cerrone beat him at UFC 178 in 2015.
“Madison Square Garden,” Cerrone said with a smile in an in-cage interview. “Me and Eddie. How about that? … I can make the weight. Don’t you worry about that.”