MMATorch Daily Top Five 3/29: Top MMA fights from March 2016

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz (photo credit J. Rebilas © USA Today Sports)

Welcome to MMATorch’s Daily Top Five. Every weekday, tune in for a new Top Five list on a variety of topics; some will be regularly updated, some will be one offs, but we hope you enjoy them all throughout the week! If you’ve got an idea for a Top Five list you’d like to see, email and we may fit them into the weekly mix!

3/29/16: Top MMA fights from March 2016

With the month coming to a close this week, today we look back on the best fights from the March schedule.

5. Vanessa Porto vs. Jennifer Maia (Invicta FC 16): March certainly wasn’t the most action-packed month in MMA history, but there were some stand out fights, and three of the best were women’s title fights from both Invicta and the UFC. Vanessa Porto and Jennifer Maia in the co-main event of Invicta FC 16 put together a really good, competitive, and entertaining five round fight, elevated further by the fact that it was a rematch more than four years in the making, with Maia edging out the decision to avenge her prior loss. As I noted during the event report, it was the kind of fight you don’t typically see from those types of events.

4. Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate (UFC 196): Tate’s upset submission in the fifth round was on its way to being the biggest moment of the month before being overshadowed by UFC 196’s main event, but that second round from Tate and the choke out win in the fifth made this one. Holm had moments, and it was competitive outside of Tate’s dominant second round, but the finish was everything to this one.

3. Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Amber Brown (Invicta FC 16): The main event of Invicta FC 16 surpassed the stellar co-main, with an incredibly close first round, a great second frame for challenger Brown late in a near submission, and a great comeback from Hamasaki in the third before she scored the finish. That submission was fantastic as well, with Hamasaki catching Brown in an armbar, fighting for it, and hyper-extending it before Brown finally tapped out. If you missed the Invicta FC 16 event, it’s well worth a replay on UFC Fight Pass for the two title fights.

2. Jake Matthews vs. Johnny Case (UFC Fight Night 85): In front of a home country crowd, Matthews pulled off a late third round submission to snatch a win from “Hollywood” Johnny Case. It was a legitimately great undercard fight on the Brisbane event. Matthews was doing a lot offensively on the feet, hurting Case to the body and scoring with several combinations, but Case won two rounds on two judges scorecards with some well timed takedowns and good work from top position. That meant Matthews needed to stop him in the third in order to pick up the win, and he hurt him late before getting him to the ground and forcing a tap with 15 seconds left in the bout. Great fight all around.

1. Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz (UFC 196): This one went off script, but what a twist it was. 25 lbs up from his title weight and facing a short notice opponent, McGregor was actually doing really well through the first seven minutes of this fight. He busted Diaz up with some very serious damage for most of the first round and the entirety of the first two minutes of the second, but his power wasn’t quite translating against the biggest opponent he’d yet faced in the UFC. Diaz took his beating, then turned the fight on its head with a few well placed shots in the second. McGregor was hurt, he slowed down, took a few more strikes, then made the ultimate mistake in shooting for a takedown. Diaz easily countered with a choke attempt, then took control on top, and it didn’t take long for him to get McGregor’s back for the rear naked choke and the massive submission win. It was as dramatic as it gets on short notice in one of the biggest drawing fights in UFC history, and it’s going to be a fight that won’t soon be forgotten.

What were your favorite fights from the month? Email me at with your thoughts and top responses could be published on MMATorch.

[Photo (c) Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today Sports]

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