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UFC 196 Highlights/Results: Conor McGregor and Holly Holm Suffer Shocking Defeats

(“While the world did gaze with deep amaze, At those fearless men but few, Who bore the fight that freedom’s light, Might shine through the foggy dew…” via Getty)

In 1993, the Gracie family brought in fighters of various fighting disciplines from all around the world — kickboxers, wrestlers, street brawlers, and even a sumo for good measure — with the goal of proving that Jiu Jitsu was the one style that could conquer them all. Twenty three years later, it appears that their theory still holds water.

In a night of absolutely thrilling fights, the aura of invincibility surrounding Conor McGregor — and to a lesser degree, Holly Holm — was shattered by the grappling attack of Nate Diaz and Miesha Tate, respectively. While there are many lessons to take away from the shocking events that unfolded at UFC 196 (and we’ll get into a few below), it is the one that we’ve been hearing for the past two decades that was perhaps the most resounding.

Jiu Jitsu conquers all.

Head after the jump for the full results & highlights from UFC 196. 

If we’ve learned one other thing about MMA in these 23 years, it’s that no one is unbeatable. Heading into yet another last-minute replacement bout with Nate Diaz, it seemed as if Conor McGregor might just be reaching beyond his grasp by attempting to jump up *two* weight classes to take on Diaz. McGregor’s prediction of an early KO seemed well-founded when looking over his record (and completely ignoring Diaz’s), but when Diaz ate his shots and kept pressing forward — like the Diaz brothers have done time and time again — the Irishman eventually crumbled.

Things started off well for McGregor, though, with the Notorious one tagging Diaz early and often with his…well…notorious left hand and cutting Diaz open early. The problem was that, like Anderson Silva before him, McGregor became almost entirely reliant on his power to try put away a notoriously (that’s the last time I’ll use that word, I promise) tough fighter. Rather than butchering the body with constant, varied combinations like he had in previous contests, McGregor went headhunting, and largely came up short when forced to deal with Diaz’s reach and size advantage.

And then, midway through the second round, Diaz found his riddum. Perhaps it was the sudden jump up in weight that became too much for McGregor’s body to handle (as Joe Lauzon suggested it would), or perhaps it was Diaz’s notoriously insane pace, but McGregor got tired, and then, he got rocked. His arms heavy, his chin tested like it had never been before, McGregor became the “panic wrestler” of his own nightmares, and all but sealed his fate the moment he decided to engage in a grappling contest with a Gracie Jiu Jitsu black belt.

As anyone who has been able to separate McGregor’s pre-fight antics from his genuine personality could have predicted, the featherweight champion has taken his loss like a truly humble, honest human being. “Never ever shy away from challenges. Never run from adversity. Face yourself head on,” wrote McGregor on Instagram, a bit of advice that someone like Ronda Rousey could stand to hear.

Of course, this sport is comprised of nothing if not fickle fans…and even more fickle fighters, as it turns out. Jose Aldo and Rafael Dos Anjos have both taken to Twitter to bash McGregor for his performance, with the former calling him a “pussy” with “soap hands” despite, you know, this being a thing that happened. So while it looks like a trip back to 145 and a fight with Frankie Edgar might be next for McGregor, let’s all give the man his due credit for being the only current UFC champion truly willing to fight anyone, anytime. And while we’re at it, let’s give Diaz his due respect for being a goddamn badass powered by an almost unbreakable will.

Speaking of unbreakable will, Miesha Tate, ladies and gentleman. Until Saturday, the former title challenger was easily most known for her pair of one-sided defeats to Ronda Rousey, which really undersells what “Cupcake” has been able to accomplish in her career. Whether it’s submitting Marloes Coenen for the Strikeforce title, out wrestling olympic medalist Sara McMann, or what she was able to accomplish against Holm, Tate is just one of those fighters who simply can’t be counted out. The evolution of her game has been nothing short of remarkable to witness over the years, and her will to win has arguably been even more impressive.

Headed into the fifth round against Holm in a back-and-forth fight that had seen her nearly finish the champ in a dominant second round, then get picked apart on the feet in the third and fourth, Tate’s corner had her convinced that she needed a finish to win. While not entirely true, it was a perfect example of honest cornering being a key to victory. After a tie-up against the cage, Tate locked in a iron-clad rear-naked choke that sent Holm into panic mode. Holm attempted to throw Tate off in the scramble, but it all comes back to that unbreakable will. Tate held on, Holm went out, and suddenly, finally, Tate’s dream of becoming a champion had been realized.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a truly great moment without the UFC undercutting it in the stupidest way possible: by booking a third fight between Tate and Ronda Rousey.

Look, we’re not going to act like Rousey vs. Tate 3 isn’t something fans will be interested in, because that would be ludicrous. However, one can’t help but feel disappointed by how quickly the former champ has gone from someone who would literally walk out on interviews if you asked her about fighting to a someone suddenly ready to “get back to work,” all because the person who embarrassed her is no longer the champion. To borrow a phrase from Jon Snowden, it is quite possibly “the least martial thing ever.” And the UFC is rewarding her for it. Outstanding.

Check out the full list of UFC 196 results below.

Main card
Nate Diaz def. Conor McGregor via submission (RNC) (2nd, 4:12)
Miesha Tate def. Holly Holm via submission (RNC) (R5, 3:30)
Ilir Latifi def. Gian Villante via unanimous decision
Corey Anderson def. Tom Lawlor via unanimous decision
Amanda Nunes def. Valentina Shevchenko via unanimous decision

Siyar Bahadurzada def. Brandon Thatch via sub (arm triangle) (3rd, 4:11)
Nordine Taleb def. Erick Silva via second-round KO (1:34)
Vitor Miranda def. Marcelo Guimaraes via second-round TKO (1:09)
Darren Elkins def. Chas Skelly via unanimous decision
Diego Sanchez def. Jim Miller via unanimous decision
Jason Saggo def. Justin Salas via first-round TKO (4:31)
Teruto Ishihara def. Julian Erosa via second-round KO (0:34)

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