Nate Diaz shocked Conor McGregor and the world with a second-round submission of the brash Irish fighter at UFC 196. McGregor came out and dominated Diaz early but Diaz hurt him in the second and followed it up with a beating on the ground followed by a rear naked choke submission.
Ample smack talking preceded the headliner as the Nevada Athletic Commission made sure that some seriously big dudes were between the two fighters during referee Herb Dean's opening talk. McGregor came out landing lefts and fended off Diaz's initial attempt to clinch. Diaz landed a counter or two but McGregor kept coming forward and landing. McGregor's shots began to bloody Diaz, even as the bigger man kept landing his own counters.
McGregor opened the second with a spinning back kick that landed. After that he kept coming forward, walking through Diaz' punches and landed a variety of strikes. Diaz' right eye began to pour blood as McGregor continued to land. But the game Diaz continued to land jabs even as he ate uppercuts. Diaz then caught McGregor with a hard pair of 1-2's that hurt McGregor. Diaz immediately smelled blood and poured it on. He pinned McGregor against the fence and poured it on. Then McGregor came back and Diaz rode out the blitz. When a hurt McGregor dived for a take down, Diaz took his back and sunk in the choke.
Originally this card was to have been headlined by Conor McGregor's attempt to take Raphael dos Anjos' lightweight belt, but dos Anjos broke his foot and had to bow out. Instead of jumping one weight class, McGregor jumped up two to welterweight and faced Nick Diaz.
The co-main event featured the first title defense by Holly Holm since she dethroned superstar Ronda Rousey. Miesha Tate, a two-time loser to Rousey sought to get the upset and a big money third rematch with Rousey. Holm came in looking to maintain her title stay first in line to face Ronda.
But Tate spoiled Holm's big plans and took the title with a fifth round rear naked choke submission.
Holm dominated the first round with crisp striking standing up. In the second round, Tate got the take down with almost three minutes left in the round. She took Holm's back and repeatedly had her arm under Holm's chin but she could not get the submission. Holm was more cautious on the feet in the third but fended off Tate's sole serious take down attempt. The next round saw more of the same with Holm pot-shotting at distance and stuffing Tate's shots. In the final round, Tate kept after the take down attempts and finally took Holm's back with 90 seconds left and got the technical submission.
Ilir Latife snuffed Gian Villante via unanimous decision in a methodically paced bout. Villante dominated the first round with crisp striking and a lot of kicks but apparently the judges missed it as they all scored it for the Swede. Latifi scored a pair of huge suplexes to highlight round 2 and continued to dominate the 3rd with his wrestling.
Corey Anderson survived an early scare to get a unanimous decision over Tom Lawlor. Lawlor hurt Anderson badly in the first but couldn't finish him despite wobbling him multiple times. In the second Lawlor continued to connect but Anderson answered back and began to make wrestling a factor. In the final round, Anderson took Lawlor down and established a dominant side mount.
Amanda Nunes beat Valentina Shevchenko by unanimous decision to open the pay per view. Nunes used her grappling advantage to dominate Shevchenko in the first two rounds but couldn't get the finish. Shevchenko came out in the third aggressive and firing knees in the clinch but couldn't finish an exhausted Nunes.
The UFC's sole Afghani Siyar Bahadurzada submitted Brandon Thatch in the third round of their Fox Sports 1 headliner. Thatch was impressive early but Bahadurzada figured out his limitations on the ground early on. He finished Thatch with an arm triangle submission on the ground early on the third round.
Nordine Taleb shut down Erick Silva with a sharp right hand after he caught a Silva kick. Taleb kept out of the brawls Silva kept trying to start and won it at range with his disciplined game.
Vitor Miranda got to show off his striking skills with a second round TKO win over Marcelo Guimaraes in middleweight action. Guimaraes tried to turn the bout into an ugly, grinding grappling match but he let Miranda get the distance he needed to put a beatdown on him.
Featherweight Darren Elkins dominated Chas Skelly in the clinch and on the ground for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision win in the Fox Sports 1 prelims opener.
Veterans Diego Sanchez and Jim Miller put on a hard-fought three rounder to close out the Fight Pass prelims. Sanchez edged Miller via decision after stealing a couple rounds with take downs and his usual forward pressing style.
Lightweight Justin Saggo showed off his Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills in a first round TKO of Justin Salas. The wrestler Salas took down Saggo with a slick double leg but was quickly reversed with an omaplata, rolled to his belly and beaten out from back mount.
In the first fight of the evening, Teruto Ishihara made an impressive UFC debut, KO'ing Julian Erosa early in the second round.
Complete UFC 196 Results
Welterweight Nate Diaz def. Conor McGregor via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:12 of Round 2.
Women's bantamweight Miesha Tate def. Holly Holm via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:30 of Round 5.
Light heavyweight Ilir Latifi def. Gian Villante via unanimous decision (30-27x3).
Light heavyweight Corey Anderson def. Tom Lawlor via unanimous decision (30-27x2, 29-28).
Women's bantamweight Amanda Nunes def. Valentina Shevchenko via unanimous decision (29-28x2, 29-27).
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1)
Welterweight Siyar Bahadurzada def. Brandon Thatch via submission at 1:55 of Round 3.
Welterweight Nordine Taleb def. Erick Silva via TKO (punches) at 1:34 of Round 2.
Middleweight Vitor Miranda def. Marcelo Guimaraes via TKO (punches and kicks) at 1:09 of Round 2.
Featherweight Darren Elkins def. Chas Skelly via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-27, 30-26).
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Lightweight Diego Sanchez def. Jim Miller via unanimous decision (29-28x3).
Lightweight Jason Saggo Justin Salas via TKO (punches from back mount) at 3:41 of Round 1.
Featherweight Teruto Ishihara def Julian Erosa via KO (punches) at 0:34 of Round 2.