The Brain and the Heart both went 3-2 on Saturday’s UFC 196. That brings the overall record for the Heart to 25-14 and 23-16 for the Brain. Saturday’s card started with a bang and ended with two big upsets, so let’s look at the top 5 moments of UFC 196:
5: Ishihara Gets First UFC Win with KO
Ishihara was understandably disappointed after his first UFC fight ended in a split draw. This time, he made sure the judges wouldn’t be a factor. He was definitely the much quicker fighter and Ishihara used that speed advantage to constantly beat Erosa to the punch. Erosa came out aggressive at the start of round two and paid the price. Ishihara was able to land a powerful counter that dropped Erosa. Ishihara followed up with a couple more punches to seal the deal. He still has a ways to go before he gets too far in the division, but Ishihara is only 24 years old and has plenty of power in his hands. He’ll need to round out his skills a little more before he could contend with the top of the featherweight division, but there is definitely some potential.
4: Taleb Floors Silva for KO win
Nordine Taleb rebounded from his first UFC loss with a crushing KO of Erick Silva. Taleb was a decent underdog going into this fight, but he proved he was the better man. He showed good movement inside the cage and did a good job of not letting Silva connect with his loaded up strikes. Taleb was able to catch a kick by Silva and land a hard counter to the forehead. That was all it took as Silva face planted to the canvas. He came to as soon as he hit, but it was clear he was out. Silva is now 6-6 in the UFC. I don’t see him getting cut as his fights are usually exciting, but he’ll definitely need to turn his luck around in his next fight if he wants to stay in the UFC. Taleb picked up the most impressive win of his career and will look to keep the momentum going against another mid-tier welterweight.
3: Pair of Surging Light Heavyweights Pick Up Win
Normally I only include one fight per moment, but in this case I think it makes sense to include two. Anderson picked up a unanimous decision win over the always tough Tom Lawlor. He proved he can take a punch and make the necessary adjustments during the fight to get the win. I disagree with two of the judges that gave him round 1, but I had the fight scored 29-28 in his favor. At only 26 years old, Anderson is practically a baby in the light heavyweight division and he appears headed in the right direction. Latifi was also successful in his main event fight as well. He did an outstanding job controlling the taller Villante and did the most damage as well. The reason both of these fighters are mentioned together is that I think their paths are going to cross in their next fight. It’s a very intriguing matchup and I think the winner of that fight would then get the chance to face the upper tier of the light heavyweight division. Either way, both Anderson and Latifi are here to stay.
2: Tate Chokes Out Holm Late in Fifth Round
Many people didn’t think this fight would be competitive, and even I admit that I underestimated Tate’s toughness. Not only did she take whatever Holm threw at her, she also did a good job of not allowing the larger Holm to control the fight. This was a very close fight and each fighter definitely had their moments. Holm did a good job of controlling the Octagon and landing the better strikes in rounds 1, 3, and 4. Tate was able to get Holm to the ground and come close to finishing her in the second. It looked to me heading into the fifth round that the score was 38-37 Holm. Tate had a strong first half of round five and it looked to be headed towards a draw until Tate ducked under a punch and got Holm to the ground. Holm did her best to get back to her feet, but Tate was relentless. She was able to slide onto Holm’s back and lock in a rear-naked choke. In a final desperation move, Holm dove down to try and work Tate off. It looked as if it would almost work, but Tate managed to hold on and continue squeezing until Holm lost consciousness. Outstanding work by both fighters and all of the hard work for Tate has finally paid off as she is now the new Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Next up for her will be a third fight against Ronda Rousey. Though Tate already has two losses to Rousey, she’s definitely not the same fighter anymore. Plus, Rousey is coming off of her first defeat (a second round destruction by Holm) so her head coming into this fight is a big question mark. I look forward to seeing how the third fight plays out and I expect a much closer fight than the first two.
1: Diaz Plays Spoiler
Diaz took this fight on less than two weeks notice. He was a pretty sizable underdog. He was facing the UFC’s “golden boy”. However, none of that mattered to Diaz. Not only did Diaz get the massive payday he’s actively been campaigning for, but he actually beat McGregor. Both fighters looked solid in the first, but McGregor’s punches seemed to have a bit more pepper on them. Diaz’s face was bloodied up, but of course he kept coming. Both fighters kept looking to strike. Diaz was able to wobble McGregor with a left hand. Diaz sensed that McGregor was hurt and followed up with punches. Clearly still rocked, McGregor attempted a takedown. Diaz easily defended it and wasted no time hunting for a submission. Diaz was able to get full mount. McGregor rolled to his back where Diaz quickly locked in the rear-naked choke to force the tap. Outstanding win for Diaz who now sits in a very advantageous position. This fight, along with his win over Michael Johnson gives him a ton of momentum heading into possibly a title fight. I’ve heard it could come at 155 against dos Anjos or even possibly at 170 against Lawler. McGregor’s stock has definitely taken a hit with the loss. I’m sure he’ll still draw fairly well, but his aura of invincibility is definitely gone. He’ll look to defend his featherweight title against either Aldo or Edgar next.
Be sure to check back in two weeks when the UFC heads to Australia for UFC Fight Night 85. The main event is a heavyweight clash between Mark Hunt and Frank Mir.
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