UFC 196 was a night of upsets, with Holly Holm dropping her bantamweight belt to Miesha Tate and Conor McGregor tapping out to a rear naked choke from Nate Diaz. Both Holm and McGregor were favorites to win by wide margins, but as it goes in mixed martial arts, all it took was a single moment in each fight to turn the tide.
Early on, it seemed like Diaz would be the latest fighter to fall to McGregor as the Irishman leaped inside Nate’s range from the opening bell to crack him repeatedly with overhand lefts and uppercuts. Diaz returned fire with jabs and slaps but McGregor seemed to shrug them off with ease, while the first round saw a bad cut open over Diaz’s right eye that left his face a bloody mess.
The second round was more of the same as McGregor upped the intensity and started landing combinations while Diaz seemed to struggle with visibility. But halfway through the round a jab caught Conor and stunned him just long enough for Nate’s follow up hook to hit him flush on the jaw, sending McGregor stumbling backwards. Diaz went on the attack and McGregor’s night quickly began to unravel.
Conor managed to regain his wits momentarily and fire back but it was Nate’s turn to push through his opponent’s punches as if they were nothing. Diaz’s next combination staggered McGregor and in desperation the Irishman shot in for a takedown. But that only made things worse.