Conor McGregor (José Youngs/The MMA Corner) Surfing the Vegas Wave at the MGM for UFC 196 The MMA Corner Staff February 11, 2016 Events, Sports Betting, Spotlight, UFC Since its inception, Las Vegas has always been the mecca of boxing. But the tides have changed. Boxing’s popularity waned in recent years while the world has become tantalized with UFC and mixed martial arts. Over the last 15 years, Las Vegas has also become the primary focal point for MMA and the de facto home for the UFC. Every fighter enters the Octagon wanting a title shot, but there’s definitely a lot more excitement when championships fights are scheduled in Las Vegas. UFC 196 will take place at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on March 5th. The two biggest fights on the card involve recently-crowned champions Conor MacGregor and Holly Holm. Any time the UFC comes to town, it’s a wild, wild weekend in Las Vegas. Boisterous, excited UFC fans help magnify the festive atmosphere anywhere they go and especially at the gaming tables of Las Vegas. FULL CONTACT CHESS The best part of watching a big-time UFC fight in Las Vegas is the chance to hang out in a casino before and after a fight. The MGM will be buzzing all weekend, but especially on fight night. Casino games are always popular, especially roulette and blackjack. In fact, roulette might be one of the few casino games that has quite a few similarities to MMA. There’s a strategy to roulette in the same way that there’s a strategy to MMA. There are many different levels to both. Mixed Martial Arts fighting is not only about sheer power, as non-fans might believe, and roulette is not only about luck. There are many different types of bets, all of which give different payouts. Choosing the right combinations to bet on will make all the difference to a player’s bank roll. So a good player will have done his homework, just like an MMA fighter will not only work on his or her strength but agility, reflexes and stamina too. One of the main appeals to MMA is the mental aspect of the game. Sure, the brutality is a given. It’s part of the entire concept of the sport. However, the mental and psychological element is what makes the game a compelling spectator sport. As a spectator to any MMA bout, you can fully appreciate the nuances and higher-level decision making that has to be done on the fly. Fighters train with a specific gameplan ready. If things go awry, which they often do inside the Octagon, then they have to make adjustments to overcome any new obstacles. Which is what makes the setting of Las Vegas so appropriate for MMA. Apart from the exciting atmosphere and ideal venues, roulette is a fast-paced game. Like MMA, you have to have a targeted game plan going into any roulette session. But more importantly, you cannot lose your cool when confronted with a quick decision, especially when you initial game plan goes wrong. After all, restraint is very important in MMA. Knowing when to be aggressive in a fight is the key, not full-throttle aggression. When applied to roulette betting, you never want to go too crazy, which is why selective aggression is more fundamentally sound. So who will outwit and outpower their opposition this time? Let’s take a look at the hottest matches of UFC 196. Conor McGregor (José Youngs/The MMA Corner) SUPER FIGHT: MACGREGOR VS. DOS ANJOS The media is dubbing it a “super fight” The main event for UFC 196 will be Rafael dos Anjos squaring off against Conor MacGregor. MacGregor certainly is the guy everyone loves to hate. The brash Irishman is fresh of his quick-fire win against Jose Aldos at UFC 194, when he made history as the first European male to win a title by beating a reigning champ. Rafael Dos Anjos (Marcelo Alonso/Sherdog) MacGregor is currently ranked #3 best pound-for-pound fighter by the UFC and also holds the UFC Featherweight title. The Irishman has to move up in weight in order to take on his next fight. In fact, a lot of insiders wondered if he was moving up in weight too fast. Meanwhile, Brazil’s Rafael dos Anjos is the current UFC lightweight champion and he’s ranked #6 best pound-for-pound fighter. This upcoming bout against MacGregor will be the second fight for dos Anjos ever since he won the Lightweight title at UFC 185. Initially, this “Super Fight” was supposed to take place at UFC 197, but it was moved up due to injured fighters on the original UFC 196 card. MacGregor is the odds-on favorite to win. Can the smack-talking MacGregor continue his run? Or will the Brazilian dos Anjos put MacGregor in his place and successfully defend his belt once again? HOLM and ROUSEY, PART 2? At UFC 196, Holly Holm has her first fight since knocking out the heavily-favored Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in November down under in Australia. Holm’s opponent at UFC 196 is Miesha Tate, who is not to be overlooked. The former Strikeforce champion is currently the #2 contender. This match against Holm is Tate’s second title shot. In her initial title shot, Tate lost to Ronda Rousey by a submission. However, based on the widespread interest in the Holm-Rousey saga, it’s not hard to look past Tate because everyone in the MMA universe is anticipating a rematch between Holm and Rousey at UFC 199 or UFC 200. Ronda Rousey (l) vs Holly Holm (Dave Mandel/Sherdog) Even UFC President Dana White hinted at the magnitude of a Holm-Rousey rematch, “This will be the biggest fight in MMA history.” Of course, Holm has to defeat Tate first at UFC 196 in order for a rematch with Rousey to even occur. But if Holm successfully defends her title in Las Vegas, then all signs point toward an epic rematch. But will Rousey be ready for the rematch? Her haters think she is too busy focusing on her acting career instead of training. She recently appeared in numerous commercials and even hosted the popular comedy-variety show “Saturday Night Live.” Rousey’s episode was the second-highest rated episode of the season (only the episode hosted by Presidential candidate Donald Trump was rated higher). UFC and VEGAS UFC 196 returns to Las Vegas. It’s going to be an awesome weekend no matter which fighter you’re rooting for. But since you’re in Vegas, you cannot pass up the opportunity to partake in the gambling festivities before or after the fight… or both!