What were your favorite fights from the month of March?
DAYNE FOX, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Though they are the obvious choices, the main and co-main event from UFC 196 were hands down my favorite fights of the month. An overconfident Conor McGregor crumbling against an under-prepared Nate Diaz after easily taking the first round has shut the mouth of the smack talking Irishman; he’s now on the ropes, ducking accusations of avoiding Frankie Edgar as he talks of rematches with Diaz, all while his hopes of taking lightweight gold have been dashed, even if only temporarily. Even if the fight sucked, these type of results make even a boring fight awesome! But the action was just as good, if not better. Diaz ate some early punishment before finding his niche in the second round, laying the volume on thick before catching McGregor perfectly on the chin to wobble him; the fight went to the ground from there, where Diaz easily submitted a seemingly invincible McGregor.
While most don’t believe the Holly Holm-Miesha Tate fight was quite as good, I actually found more joy in it. It was a chess match through and through, with Holm taking three of the first four rounds with her range striking as Tate knew she couldn’t compete with the champ on her feet. Knowing she needed a finish in the last round, Tate went all-out to first get the takedown before latching on for a rear naked choke that Holm tried mightily to escape from, standing and trying to flip Tate from her back. When it didn’t work, Holm passed out and the third UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champ was crowned in the space of four months.
Though there were other good fights in March, none come close to those two. Darrion Caldwell destroying Joe Warren was very impressive, but not exactly a great fight. Neil Magny weathering an early storm from Hector Lombard was an awesome fight, but it is tainted by the non-stoppage in the second round by Steve Perceval. I guess I’d have to say Jake Matthews stopping Johnny Case in the third round when he was down on the scorecards would have to be the next best display of competitive combat, even if I had scored the fight even heading into the final round.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
The two big fights from UFC 196 are the no-brainers. Miesha Tate becoming the new UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion by submitting Holly Holm in the fifth round, especially after likely being on her way to a decision loss, was incredible. Tate’s tenacity and toughness were on full display as she kept working and eventually got the submission. It was a great moment and threw the division into flux. And then Nate Diaz submitting Conor McGregor after taking some of McGregor’s best shots was an amazing moment as well. Diaz has unbelievable toughness and when he’s at his best, he’s hard to beat. Some other favorite fights of mine are Mark Hunt getting the walk off knock out over Frank Mir, and WSOF Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje stopping Brian Foster by leg kicks. I missed the Gaethje win live and had to catch a replay, but he was vicious with those leg kicks. It was kind of hard to watch, but it’s definitely deserving. And the Hunt walkoff is just one of those badass moments you would dream about doing. It was a great win.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
My favorite was easily Diaz vs. McGregor and the downfall of the Notorious one; although humble in defeat he needs to get some work in grappling with elite level guys or he will continue to slide. Second also from 196 is Holm vs. Tate; seeing Meisha fight back from the brink of defeat to win the belt she’s chased since entering the UFC was a wonderful moment.
DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK COLUMNIST
Even though March was a relatively quiet month for action, there were still plenty of entertaining fights. Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz and Miesha Tate vs. Holly Holm both turned out to be all levels of awesomeness, even if the rest of the UFC 196 main card left me disappointed. I enjoyed Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Brandon Thatch and was equally impressed with a number of the undercard fighters who earned stoppages that night. Jake Matthews vs. Johnny Case and Neil Magny vs. Hector Lombard from UFC Fight Night 85 in Australia were both very entertaining fights that now elevate the victor to bigger and better things, but don’t necessarily harm the losers too much.
[Photo (c) Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today Sports]
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