In a night filled with high drama Conor McGregor lost his first UFC fight to Stockton’s Nate Diaz. The upset reverberated around the MMA world as Diaz did the unthinkable stopping the featherweight champion in the second round by submission after badly rocking him on the feet. However this was not the only big upset at UFC196 as long time fan favourite Miesha Tate pulled off a huge victory to capture the women’s 135-pound strap.
When Holly Holm dismantled Ronda Rousey at UFC193 her star power had the potential to sky rocket. Immediately after her win, there were repeated calls for an immediate rematch however Ronda’s commitments outside of fighting prevented a swift return. In the meantime, Holm did not want to sit idly and wait for the former champion to become available. Holly made it clear that she wanted to fight often and the UFC granted her wish in the form of former women’s Strikeforce title holder Miesha Tate.
Tate a grizzled veteran of women’s mixed martial arts was widely expected to turn the title bout into a gritty affair and that is exactly how it would play out. The challenger weathered the extended periods of the fight that were spent on the feet. She gave the defending champion a big scare in the second round nearly finishing the fight with a rear naked choke on several occasions.
Holm did manage to recover and turn the tide in her favour, heading into the final round leading on the score cards. Incredibly Miesha managed to drag the fight to the mat in the closing minutes and score the biggest victory of her career via rear naked choke.
The opening bell sounded and both women showed patience in the beginning. They eyed each other warily looking for openings. For Holm her patented left cross and for Tate kicks to the body and the legs. Miesha shoots in for a takedown which Holly defends brilliantly. Tate sneaks in a hook as she exits the clinch. Holly begins to loosen up and find a home for her punches. A three punch combination from Holm pushes Miesha back momentarily. Holm’s left cross becomes a factor in the fight as she reddens Tate’s eye with sharp punches. Miesha flicks her jab out while Holm tries to counter with combinations of her own. Holm opens up with multiple front leg side kicks to the body and ends the round strong.
After Holly had clearly settled into her striking rhythm it was up to Miesha to ramp up the pressure and make it the dogfight she excels in so well. Tate came out of the traps hard in the second feinting her way into an excellent body lock trip which brought the fight to the floor. Tate showed her awareness and stifled any of Holm’s attempts to improve her position. Staying heavy on top Miesha landed big elbows from the side control position and in Holm’s half guard. She used excellent shoulder pressure to keep Holly from getting to her hips preventing any escape attempts. With the round end nearing Tate latched on to Holm’s back in a scramble and threatened repeatedly with chokes. Her arm looked to be under the chin on more than one occasion but the desperate champion fought repeatedly to stay in the fight. A huge round for the challenger looked to have turned the tide in round number two.
That very may well have been the first time that Holly had been put under any serious pressure in a fight and she needed a big response coming into the third. Instead of coming out strong again Tate resumed a cautious pressing game looking to throw low kicks and land her hands in exchanges. She tried to get the fight to the mat on more than one occasion but was met with steely resistance in Holm. The champion went back to her striking bread and butter and peppered Tate with high kicks, oblique kicks and side kicks to the body. The kicks set up her punches which caused additional problems for Tate. Despite this Miesha kept moving forward steadily and managed to blast Holly with a check hook from a misplaced push kick. Holly finished off the round strongly as she sprawled hard to avoid a takedown. Holm punished Miesha for attempting it with two high kicks that crashed off the forearm.
Holm arguably led on the scorecards going into the fourth round and Tate’s coach Rob Follis called for her to level change and land the takedown. Miesha came out leading with her jab trying to manage the distance and limit any potential openings for Holm. She ate another couple of beautiful kicks to the body for her troubles. The damage from these forced a clinch which Holly defended with ease. Her defensive grappling skills were beginning to show and this allowed her to open up with more offense. She kept up a stream of jabs and one two combinations and kept up the flow of kicks to head and body. Her striking was making the difference and she charged forward with three punches that hurt Tate. However Miesha fired off a body kick of her own to finish the round.
The fifth and final round began and both Tate and Holm were met with a roar of approval. The pace of the fight remained the same and Holm dictated the centre of the Octagon. She continued to throw out her combinations trying to impress the judges. Both fighters were desperate to avoid any mistakes that could be costly. Just as it seemed that the time would run out for Tate the unthinkable happened. As Holm drove forward with strikes Miesha managed to grab a hold of her arm and swing to the back. She took Holm down with the time ticking but immediately worked for the rear naked choke. Going for broke Holm rolled forward but Miesha adjusted her position and secured hooks. Tate constricted herself around Holm squeezing with every fibre in her body. With Holm refusing to give up she had no choice but to go to sleep as Miesha Tate defied the odds to become women’s bantamweight champion.
Miesha Tate defeats Holly Holm via Rear Naked Choke. Round 5 (3:30)
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223
UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.
Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.
After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.
A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.
Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.
Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.
A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.
“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”
Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.
“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”
Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.
“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April
MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.
The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.
Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.
An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.
His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).
Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.
PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.
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