By Jason Wilson
March 5, 2016, a date that will forever live in infamy for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fans worldwide. This was the night of UFC 196.
This was the night that Holly Holm, the same person who knocked out the unstoppable Ronda Rousey, would attempt her first title defense against top bantamweight contender Miesha Tate. This was also the night that current featherweight champion Conor McGregor would go up not one, but two weight classes to face top lightweight contender Nate Diaz. These two fights were the ones that I had my eye on the most.
Holly Holm vs Miesha Tate for the UFC bantamweight championship of the world. Round one began and it was all Holm from the get go. The former 19- time professional boxing champion landed a few good combinations and won the round rather easily.
Then came round two. It was not long at all into the second round that Holm’s streak of never being taken down was ended. This round was largely dominated by Tate’s high-level ground game. She even sunk in a very tight rear naked choke that almost finished the fight, but Holm escaped the choke and lost that round.
Rounds three and four were not close by any means. Holm kept the fight on the feet and dominated both rounds.
Then came round five. If Tate wanted to win this fight she needed a finish. And that’s exactly what happened. Tate pushed the pace, got the fight to the ground and sunk in a rear naked choke so deep, that Holm did not tap out, she passed out.
Miesha Tate had finally realized her dream of becoming UFC champion. This, in my opinion, was the best fight of the night. I was overcome with emotion when the referee stopped the fight, as a fan, I was happy to see Tate get that gold belt wrapped around her waist.
As an analyst, it was unreal to see the woman who dominated Ronda Rousey get choked unconscious and lose the title, on her first defense, against someone Rousey had beat twice previously.
I believe that the next fight for Miesha Tate will either be a rematch with Holly Holm, or, a rematch with Cat Zingano seeing as Zingano beat Tate three years ago.
Then came the ever so historic main event. Never before has an active champion gone up two weight divisions to fight.
UFC featherweight champion of the world Conor McGregor, who is riding a 15 fight win streak, would bump up to 170lbs to fight number six lightweight contender, and active welterweight fighter, Nate Diaz.
The fight began in typical McGregor fashion, as he marched to the center of the ring and began to unload on Diaz. Before the first minute was up, McGregor dropped his signature left hand that has knocked out the likes of Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo. And it landed as clean as it possibly could have to the chin of Diaz.
There was only one problem, not only did Diaz not fall, he didn’t even flinch. He took the punch and just kept going. Before the end of the round, Diaz would eat about eight more of these vicious punches, sending him back to his corner bloodied and bruised for the start of the next round.
McGregor came out looking surprised that Diaz was still standing, as were most people watching the fight. Round two began and the punches kept flying from McGregor, each one landing harder than the last, until about half way through the round. Diaz landed an amazing combination, stunning McGregor. McGregor was then taken down by Diaz and was forced to submit.
At that moment, it felt like time had stood still. Yes, McGregor is still the champion of the featherweight division but the winning streak had ended. All of the hype surrounding McGregor was killed by Diaz. This was an amazing moment to see because now I know that Conor McGregor is, in fact, beatable.
Now the only question left is can it happen again? On March 30, 2016 UFC announced on their website that the two fighters will meet again as the headline event at UFC 200. UFC 200 is currently scheduled for July 9, 2016 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Overall, this was an insane time to be a fan of the UFC. If I had to rate the card on a scale from 1-10 I’d probably give it somewhere close to 100.
If you have not seen this yet, I highly recommend ordering the replay on pay per view, and if you are not a fan of the UFC there could not be a more exciting time to start being one than right now.