UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor (19-3) and women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm (10-1) both lost Saturday night during two major upsets at UFC 196 on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
McGregor was submitted by Nate Diaz (19-10) via rear naked choke 4:12 into the second round. Diaz took the fight on short notice and only had a few days to prepare. McGregor took advantage of that in the first round and half of the second, landing bombs against Diaz and opening a gash above his right eye.
Diaz started cracking McGregor with some jabs, frustrating McGregor into trying to take him down, causing his doom. Diaz, a Gracie Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, is far superior to McGregor on the ground. Diaz quickly took McGregor’s back and sunk in the choke, causing McGregor to quickly tap.
Miesha Tate (18-5) also submitted Holm via a rear naked choke to capture the bantamweight championship.
Holm and Tate had gone back and forth for the majority of five rounds. Holm won the first, third and fourth rounds using her superior boxing and kickboxing prowess. But Tate dominated the second round on the ground after a double-leg takedown and almost sunk in a choke at the end of the round.
Tate was able to clinch up with Holm and take her back again in the fifth round, but there was no escape for Holm this time. She tried to shake Tate off by falling to the ground, but Tate was able to hold on to the choke hold. Instead of tapping out, Holm went unconscious, ending the fight.
Interestingly enough, if Tate didn’t secure the finish, but instead won the fifth round, the fight would have ended in a draw, as all three judges had scored the second round 10-8 for Tate. This would’ve meant Holm would have held on to her belt and likely would have had a rematch against Tate, but that wasn’t the case.
Now the question is what will happen to the winners and losers for their next fights.
McGregor did not lose his featherweight belt, as the bout with Diaz was in the welterweight division. After seven straight wins to start his UFC career, McGregor will likely lose some of his hype. If he beat Diaz, McGregor likely would have challenged for the lightweight or welterweight belt. Now, he will likely attempt to defend his featherweight title against number-one contender Frankie Edgar (20-4-1) or former champion Jose Aldo (25-2).
Diaz could have earned a title shot against lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos (25-7) or welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (27-10). If not, he will likely get a number-one contender set-up fight at either weight class at the very least.
New champion Tate will likely have to defend her belt against Ronda Rousey (12-1) if she is ready to come back by UFC 200 in July. Rousey has beaten Tate twice by submission already.
Holm will likely have to win a fight against another top contender to earn back a title shot. Her next opponent will likely be either Amanda Nunes (12-4) or Cat Zingano (9-1).