Holly Holm Choke: New UFC Champ Emerges To Inspire Rousey Comeback

Holly Holm lost her Bantamweight title to a choke-hold by challenger Miesha Tate on Saturday, March 5, 2016, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The surprise upset in the final two minutes of the fifth round at U.F.C. 196 opened up a comeback scenario for Ronda Rousey, who lost her U.F.C. title to Holm on November 14, 2015.

According to Hollywood Life, it was Holly’s debut match as champ following her unexpected win over Ronda Rousey at U.F.C. 193 in Melbourne, Australia. Round one was a rough start for challenger Miesha Tate, whose face got so busted, she could barely open her left eye. In the second round, the tables were turned with Miesha dominating all the way to a rear-naked choke in the final minute. There was a solid exchange of punches throughout the third and fourth rounds with nothing decisive either way. The fifth round was Tate’s when she trapped “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm, 34, in another naked choke. The defender lost consciousness without getting a chance to tap out, thus giving up her title.

“Rowdy Ronda” Rousey, 29, who was part of the crowd watching Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s All-Star Weekend 12 at an American Legion Hall in Reseda, California, was reportedly oblivious to Holly’s mishap. It took a call from U.F.C. president Dana White to clue her in on MGM sportbook 3.5-1 favorite Holm’s loss to Tate, 29, also known as “Cupcake.” Hollywood Life revealed that photos of Rousey taking the phone call and smiling, caught online interest.

Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey trying out other venues for a good fit [Photo via Facebook]

After White told her that Holly Holm had been knocked out by a Miesha Tate choke-hold, Rousey shot back.

“Looks like I’ve got to get back to work.”

Tate’s neutralizing Holly Holm in a naked choke has arguably started the ball rolling for Rousey’s return to the ring ahead of schedule. An earlier Fox Sports report suggested that a delay in the filming of Rousey’s Road House remake meant she was not expected to return for U.F.C. 200 on July 9 in Las Vegas. But she has now suggested otherwise.

According to MMA Fighting, former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate earned overdue validation by subduing Holly in the choke-hold. While Tate played a major role in helping to establish women’s fighting as mainstream fare, Rousey got the credit, pundits say. Despite her second loss to Rousey at U.F.C. 168, Tate was promised a title shot after defeating Jessica Eye on July 25, 2015. But Holm got the U.F.C. 193 championship bout instead, to wrest the title from Rousey.

Rousey and Tate’s feud goes back to 2011, when Ronda questioned Tate’s Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight title and made disparaging remarks about her. The discourse heated up with Holm commenting that Tate’s fight against Marloes Coenen was so boring, “little breaks” were needed to watch it. Before her remarkable defeat of Holly Holmes with a choke, Tate was a clear underdog, consigned to taking pot-shots at Rousey from the sidelines by calling her “pampered” and “not yet a real fighter.”

The rivalry came to a head when the two finally met at a Strikeforce show on March 3, 2012, and Rousey defeated Tate with an armbar submission in the first round. They had a return bout at U.F.C. 168 on December 28, 2013, and Rousey defeated Tate by submission in the third round. A Rousey-Tate matchup coming out of the Holly Holm loss by naked choke would mean a third engagement between the two old rivals.

Miesha Tate getting overdue validation [Photo via Facebook]

According to ABC7, the 135-pound title fight Saturday night was a co-main event of U.F.C. 196 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena. As U.F.C. women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm lost to a choke-hold by former Strikeforce champ Tate in the featured co-headliner, Nate Diaz came from behind to submit Conor McGregor on the male matchup side.

In terms of payday, McGregor became the first U.F.C. fighter to pull in a seven-figure fight purse on Saturday night, earning $1,000,000. Diaz, a late substitution for the injured U.F.C. lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, earned $500,000, on par with former U.F.C. women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm’s $500,000. Choke-hold artist Miesha Tate pocketed $92,000 in victory.

[Photo via Facebook]