UFC 196: The Night Miesha Tate Shocked Holly Holm
UFC 196 took place in Las Vegas and it finished with a seismic upset when Nate Diaz shocked Conor McGregor in a sensational main event. But just before that, Miesha Tate ruined an awful lot of plans when she beat Holly Holm in the co-main event.
Holm had shocked Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in November 2015, and plans were already being made for the biggest fight in women’s MMA history. But any thoughts of Rousey getting her chance at revenge, were ended by Tate coming from behind to choke Holm unconscious when all hope seemed to have gone.
Tate had lost her opening two fights in the UFC, including a title opportunity to Rousey at UFC 168. But Tate had rebounded with 4 straight wins to earn another chance at UFC gold.
Holm could have sat and waited for Rousey to return in a mega fight, but she wanted to fight and defend her title. Rousey was on a self-imposed hiatus, and Holm didn’t want to sit and wait.
Tate after one unsuccessful attempt at the UFC bantamweight title, didn’t look like she was going to get another anytime soon. But Holm shocking the world and with a Rousey return nowhere in sight, Tate suddenly had hope. From considering retirement Tate landed the opportunity to change the course of history in her division.
Rousey had a one-dimensional approach for her fight with Holm, and she paid a heavy price, Tate watched and learned.
Tate came out cautiously, but sensibly, wary of what led to Rousey’s defeat. But at the start of the 2nd round, Tate gradually stepped up the pace of her attack. She knew she needed Holm on the ground.
Holm had a nightmare round and did well to survive when Tate got her to the floor. Tate threatened to end it right there, but the champion survived and Tate’s best chance of victory looked to have gone.
The next two rounds were close, Tate avoided any real damage, but the fight was slipping away as Holm controlled the fight at the range where she was most comfortable. Tate constantly threatened but the danger appeared to have passed, and the title didn’t look in danger of changing hands.
Heading into the 5th and final round, Tate was down 37-38 on all the judges scorecards. The dominant 10-8 round in the 2nd round, left Tate with a chance of snatching a draw if she won the final round.
But to win the title, Tate would have needed to replicate her dominance in the 2nd, or somehow get the stoppage, which at that stage looked remote.
Tate came out for the final round knowing it was probably now or never in her career. You could instantly see the extra urgency Tate was showing in seeking the takedown she so badly needed.
Despite the problems in the 2nd, Holm had defended quite brilliantly the efforts of her opponent to drag the fight to the floor. It appeared that Holm was on her way to retaining her title, the worst appeared to be over.
But Tate finally grabbed hold of the champion, and this time she didn’t let go. A rear naked choke was firmly locked in and Holm suddenly was an ex-champion at the 3:30 point of the round when victory was so near. Tate said post-fight:
“I knew I had to finish the fight. I had to find that perfect time. I had to be patient.”
The loss was so costly to Holm, any hopes of a highly lucrative rematch with Rousey were now dead and buried. Holm subsequently said the loss “Felt like the end of the world.”
Holm has had numerous chances since to once again wear UFC gold, but all have ended in disappointment.
The new champion also eyed up another meeting with Rousey, but another UFC bantamweight had plans of her own.
Amanda Nunes destroyed Tate inside a round at UFC 200, to become the new UFC bantamweight champion. The win over Holm would prove to be the final win of Tate’s career. The loss to Nunes was followed by a disappointing points defeat to Raquel Pennington at UFC 205 at which point Tate knew it was time to leave for pastures new.
Nunes further announced herself when she did the exact same thing to Rousey when the former champion eventually returned at UFC 207 in December 2016.
Holm vs Tate gets forgotten because of what followed them into the cage. But it was one of those fights that changed the immediate landscape of women’s MMA.