Even Conor McGregor has a limit to how much he can chew.
Nate Diaz submitted the Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight titleholder with a second-round rear-naked choke in the UFC 196 headliner on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. McGregor (19-3, 7-1 UFC) tapped 4:12 into round two, his 15-fight winning streak halted in decisive and dramatic fashion. The non-title bout was contested at 170 pounds.
A replacement for injured UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, Diaz (19-10, 14-8 UFC) absorbed a copious amount of punishment from the Irishman. He was on the receiving end of probing left hands and jarring uppercuts but never checked out. The 30-year-old Stockton, California, native entered the second round battered and bleeding from a cut near his right eye but still very much in the fight. Diaz stunned McGregor with a straight left and kept throwing punches until the SBG Ireland rep went for a desperate takedown. After bailing on a guillotine, he climbed to full mount and forced McGregor to surrender his back. The choke was in place soon after and the tapout was close behind.
Related » UFC 196 Round-by-Round Scoring
Tate Choke Dethrones Holm
Miesha Tate rendered Holly Holm unconscious with a fifth-round rear-naked choke to seize the UFC women’s bantamweight championship in the co-main event. Holm (10-1, 3-1 UFC) blacked out 3:30 into round five, beaten for the first time in her professional MMA career.
Tate (18-5, 5-2 UFC) nearly finished it in the second round, where she secured a takedown inside the first minute and smashed the champion with elbows, punches, hammerfists and forearm strikes before advancing to the back. She pursued the rear-naked choke, but Holm refused her advances and escaped. Tate spent rounds one, two and four trapped on the feet, and the results were predictable. Holm utilized side kicks to the body, oblique kicks to the thigh, stinging punching combinations and surgical counters.
It was not enough. Tate hit a duck-under takedown in the fifth round and wheeled to the back while Holm scrambled to her feet. She sank the choke with Holm standing and quickly tightened her squeeze. In a final act of desperation, Holm tried and failed to buck off the challenger but only slipped deeper into trouble. Soon after, she lay unconscious and the UFC had a new champion.
Surging Latifi Outworks Villante
Ilir Latifi won for the fifth time in six appearances, as he pocketed a unanimous decision against former Ring of Combat champion Gian Villante in a three-round light heavyweight scrap. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Latifi (12-4, 5-2 UFC).
Villante (14-7, 4-4 UFC) enjoyed some success with his kicks but could not sustain it, and the intermittent nature of his strikes did nothing to give the Swede pause. Latifi connected with awkward power punches with both hands and executed takedowns to close out rounds. Villante ran out of steam down the stretch, leaving him incapable of turning the tide.
‘Ultimate Fighter’ Anderson Bests Lawlor
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 19 winner Corey Anderson weathered early adversity to earn a unanimous verdict over Tom Lawlor in a featured clash at 205 pounds. Anderson (8-1, 5-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 marks.
Lawlor (10-6, 6-5 UFC) had designs on a finish in the first round, where he cracked the 26-year-old Rockford, Illinois, native with a right hook and swarmed with power punches. Anderson withstood the onslaught, cleared his head and let his superior talent do the rest. He wobbled Lawlor during one of their exchanges in the second round and landed a takedown in the third to polish off his latest victory.
Anderson has rattled off three straight wins.
Nunes Passes Shevchenko Test
American Top Team’s Amanda Nunes employed takedowns and vicious ground-and-pound, as she captured a unanimous decision from Valentina Shevchenko in a three-round women’s bantamweight showcase. All three cageside judges sided with Nunes (12-4, 5-1 UFC): 29-28, 29-27 and 29-27.
Shevchenko (12-2, 1-1 UFC) struggled to get going in the first round and got manhandled in the second. There, Nunes capitalized on a wild kick from the taekwondo black belt, assumed top position and let loose with elbows and punches. The blood flowed, as she moved to Shevchenko’s back and hunted the rear-naked choke. Her attempts to finish failed.
Nunes had little left in the tank for the third round. Shevchenko blasted her with a standing elbow, countered a takedown with one of her own and got her ground-and-pound in gear. However, Nunes escaped to her feet and bled out the remaining time.