All the talking stopped Saturday night, at least for the time being, as UFC 196 went down from inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
We still have nine months left in the calendar year, but we’ve already seen the two upsets of 2016.
Nate Diaz rocked Conor McGregor with several shots in the second round, taking advantage of things when it hit the canvas and securing a rear-naked choke to leave the MGM Grand Garden Arena silent.
McGregor, the reigning featherweight champion, moved all the way up to welterweight for the fight. He appeared to be looking good early on, landing with shots, but Diaz stayed strong. In the second, he connected on the chin and “Notorious” got wobbly.
Miesha Tate made sure that, for now, there will be no rematch between Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey for the bantamweight title, choking the champion out cold and winning the belt in the co-main event.
Tate, who almost finished the fight in the second round, didn’t let the choke go this time. Holm refused to tap in her first title defense.
The first of two straight light heavyweight bouts to go to the scorecards was ruled in favor of Ilir Latifi, as the Swede topped Gian Villante. Latifi used his effective wrestling and power strikes to withstand Villante.
Former Ultimate Fighter winner Corey Anderson picked up an interesting decision over Tom Lawlor, earning all three rounds on two scorecards. Lawlor rocked Anderson in the first, but was unable to keep it going through the final 10 minutes.
It wasn’t a finish, but Amanda Nunes made sure she was the victor to start the main card. Nunes scored a decision over Valentina Shevchenko, earning her fifth Octagon victory in six appearances.
After two years on the sidelines with injuries, Siyar Bahadurzada returned and scored a submission victory over Brandon Thatch to conclude the prelim lineup. Bahadurzada locked up a head-and-arm choke late in the third to pick up the much-needed win.
Nordine Taleb finished Erick Silva, earning the biggest win of his career with a right-hand that knocked Silva face-first into the canvas. He added another right, but it was already over and done with.
In a meeting of Brazilians, Vitor Miranda withstood the grappling of Marcelo Guimaraes over the first round before taking him out in the second. “Lex Luthor” found an opening with elbows, connected with a head-kick and finished Guimaraes with a few more shots.
Darren Elkins showed off the skills he has learned under the Team Alpha Male coaching staff, taking Chas Skelly down six times and handing him his second career loss. Elkins improved to 20-5 with a decision victory to begin the FOX Sports 1 prelims.
In the early prelim main event, Diego Sanchez turned back veteran Jim Miller, earning a decision victory on UFC Fight Pass.
“Road to Japan: UFC” finalist Teruto Ishihara picked up a second round knockout of Julian Erosa, landing a perfectly-placed left-hook that ended the night. Jason Saggo scored his 11th career finish, stopping Justin Salas inside of the opening round.
McGregor and Diaz were given “Fight of the Night” honors, while Diaz and Tate claimed “Performance of the Night” bonuses. The live gate was announced at $8.1 million with an attendance of 14,696.
Complete results can be found below, while full play-by-play coverage can be found on FightLine:
Nate Diaz def. Conor McGregor via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:12 of Round 2
Miesha Tate def. Holly Holm via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:30 of Round 5 to become the new UFC female bantamweight champion
Ilir Latifi def. Gian Villante via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Corey Anderson def. Tom Lawlor via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Amanda Nunes def. Valentina Shevchenko via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
Siyar Bahadurzada def. Brandon Thatch via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 4:11 of Round 3
Nordine Taleb def. Erick Silva via KO (strike) at 1:34 of Round 2
Vitor Miranda def. Marcelo Guimaraes via KO (head-kick/strike) at 1:09 of Round 2
Darren Elkins def. Chas Skelly via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)
Diego Sanchez def. Jim Miller via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jason Saggo def. Justin Salas via TKO (strikes) at 4:31 of Round 1
Teruto Ishihara def. Julian Erosa via KO (left-hook) at :34 of Round 2