MMATorch contributors give their reactions to Saturday’s UFC 196 event in this evening’s new roundtable
DAYNE FOX, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
It’s events like UFC 196 that make MMA a sport that you must tune into at all times to watch. All it takes is one mistake to turn a contest in which you were dominating late into a heartbreaking loss. Think about it, if the Golden State Warriors are winning by 30 with two minutes left and turnover the ball and give up a three pointer, is that going to cost them the game? No. Holly Holm was two minutes away from retaining the title, a title she ripped out of the iron clad grasp of Ronda Rousey, only for longtime Rousey rival Miesha Tate to capitalize on a mistake and seize the crown for herself. Holm had controlled all but one round of the fight at that point. What a moment. And that wasn’t even the most memorable moment of the night!
The UFC brass were wringing their hands at this fight, as they were hoping that Holm would hold on to the title so they could have their highly anticipated rematch between Holm and Rousey. I don’t think they are screaming in agony that the belt likely will not be on the line by the time that fight takes place, but they certainly weren’t smiling at the outcome that came about. The Holm-Rousey fight will still sell, but it has lost some luster. Meanwhile, our new champion has soundly been beaten by Rousey not once, but twice. Anyone else think Rousey might consider speeding up her return to the cage after seeing someone she has beaten twice is now holding “her” hardware? Ronda-watch should be much more intense now.
Tate choking Holm unconscious will distinctly be in all of our heads for a long time, if not the rest of our lives, but something even crazier came in the main event. For the first time that a UFC fighter was documented to receive a million dollar payday for a single fight, said fighter crashed and burned to someone whom Dana White at one time said didn’t “move the needle.” Though Conor McGregor isn’t going anywhere, Mystic Mac is now dead; he has been proven wrong, and the UFC’s cash cow has now lost the aura and mystique that made him so special. Yes, the fight was at 170 lbs, whereas the rest of McGregor’s fights in the UFC had taken place at 145 lbs. But it was against a natural lightweight whose previous ventures to welterweight led to him being suplexed out of the division, meaning McGregor was pretty much fighting a lightweight… the division McGregor was attempting to invade and obliterate.
I don’t think the fight with Rafael dos Anjos is on the table any longer, while Frankie Edgar is probably the happiest man on the planet now that McGregor will either have to vacate the title to move up to lightweight or return to defend against Edgar. Meanwhile, Nate Diaz is now taking that needle and isn’t just moving it, but shoving it up any orifice of anyone who dares look at him cross, much less anyone who says or does anything to him or his brother Nick. Nate is the hot ticket now, and will be in talks to get a rematch against dos Anjos after revealing Mystic Mac as a charlatan. Then again, Diaz don’t give a f*** about any belts. He just wants more of that s*** (money)!
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
It’s impossible to not give this a 10 on sheer shock value alone. The top two fights are what it’s all about here. Meisha Tate submitting Holly Holm late in the fifth round when she was losing is absolutely incredible. It shows her tenacity and toughness. I thought that Holm would have had her finished before then, but Tate kept coming back. Great stuff from Tate, and a gut-wrenching loss for Holm.
And of course there was the other monster upset, with Nate Diaz submitting Conor McGregor. I keep seeing people saying that McGregor’s power isn’t what it was at featherweight and I think that’s completely wrong and misleading, and buries the real story. Nate Diaz has one of the strongest chins in MMA. McGregor was doing damage to Diaz on the feet. It might not have been as much damage as he’s used to, but he was still hurting him. If McGregor had continued to stand with Diaz, I think he would have eventually got the stoppage win or at least the decision. Instead, he takes the fight to the ground and ends up getting submitted. Everyone knew that Diaz had the advantage on the ground, so McGregor taking the fight there was a mistake. If he had kept the fight standing, I think McGregor would have eventually ended up with the win. To chalk this up as merely a case of moving up too much in weight does a disservice to the real story, and to Diaz’s win. Diaz is a good boxer with great ground skills and a granite chin. This wasn’t about weight, it was about the fact that McGregor made a big mistake and Diaz made him pay for it in spectacular fashion.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I can’t say that I’m shocked about the Diaz-McGregor outcome because I’ve favored a larger Diaz since the announcement, but I don’t believe the hype train has been fully derailed for Conor McGregor; he may come back even better angrier and better shit talkier. I enjoy his presence in the cage and on the microphone; he has an aura of greatness but he bit off too much last night.
I’m eating my words on Miesha Tate for which I immediately felt the need to apologize when she didn’t let go of that choke after the shake off attempt. That was incredibly impressive, and one of the best examples of overcoming adversity I’ve ever seen in MMA. My hats off to our new champ, and I would love to see her defeat Ronda in their forthcoming bout.
ALVIN CARTER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
That was the most spectacular nights of upsets… except they were not really upsets. Nate Diaz always had all the tools and toughness to beat anyone on any give night, and Meisha Tate has proven she can beat most anyone except Ronda Rousey. The major issue is this shakes up the meteoric rises of Conor McGregor and Holly Holm. McGregor is not affected by this lost as much as Holm because he did not lose a title, it is not his normal weight class, and he still has an incredible hype machine behind him. Holm is a spectacular athlete, but she lost her belt to someone Rousey has beaten handily on two separate occasions. Holm does not have to go hide and completely rebuild her game, but she has a few grappling holes to work on. Her fatal mistake was attempting to stand and toss Tate off her back when a less desperate defense could have resulted in a decision win.
On the business end, this makes for two big title fights. Nate Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler and Ronda Rousey vs. Meisha Tate. These are some of the biggest fights that UFC can make that will not tarnish any of these mega stars in the eyes of the fans. The problem with stardom like that Rousey and McGregor, as evidence by there recent losses, is the mystic of being unbeatable carries more weight than anything else. Now that Rousey had lost, the bouts of Nate Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler and Ronda Rousey vs. Meisha Tate are low risk and high reward in some aspects. Everyone gets paid, a viable star can reign supreme no matter the winner, and the UFC knows how to work with and market each.
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