LAS VEGAS -- One of the most stunning title-fight finishes in UFC history went down on Saturday night at UFC 196.
With Holly Holm well on her way to defending her UFC women's bantamweight title, Miesha Tate scored a late takedown and turned it into a rear-naked choke.
Holm went unconscious rather than tap out, giving Tate (20-7) the victory and the title at the 3:30 mark of the fifth round. UFC President Dana White said on Saturday night that Tate will defend her title next against Ronda Rousey.
"I knew I had to finish the fight," said Tate, who has won five straight fights. "I knew I had to be perfect in the fifth round."
Tate had won the second round in dominant fashion, but the rest had been all Holm (10-1), who gained worldwide fame for defeating Rousey for the title in November.
Holm, who had won the first round, had regained control and shut Tate down all the way until the spectacular finishing sequence.
Malmo, Sweden's Ilir Latifi (12-4) used a tenacious approach to overcome a size and reach disadvantage against Gian Villante (20-7).
Latifi kept moving forward in the light heavyweight bout, rattling his larger foe. A pair of second-round suplexes punctuated Latifi's performance as he won a unanimous decision, getting 30-27 scores across the board.
"I knew Gian was a tough fighter and I was prepared for a tough fight," said Latifi, winner of three in a row. "I wanted to show the fans that I can go for three rounds."
In a lethargic light heavyweight bout, Corey Anderson (9-1) got the nod over veteran Tom Lawlor (10-6).
Lawlor wobbled Anderson with a big flurry in the opening minute, then the pace slowed. Lawlor occasionally went headhunting with no success, but Anderson, for his part, stayed patient and would land occasional counters and a jabs. That was enough to get him a unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27) for his third straight victory.
"It was a good fight, it was a battle," said Anderson. "Early on I was backing up and I got lazy and when I got lazy he caught me."
The main-card opener might have found the next contender for the women's bantamweight title, as Brazil's Amanda Nunes (12-4) scored an impressive victory over Kyrgyzstan kickboxer Valentina Shevchenko (12-2). Nunes scored a unanimous decision, on tallies of 29-28, 29-27, and 29-27.
After a tentative opening round, Nunes took over in the second, earning 10-8 scores from two judges with a dominant ground performance, which left Shevchenko bloodied and battered. While she Shevchenko staged a valiant rally to win the third, it wasn't enough to get the nod.
"I am ready to get my title shot, I've fought top-five opponents for a while now, but now it's my time," said Nunes, who has won three in a row.
In an undercard bout of note, popular veterans Diego Sanchez (26-8) and Jim Miller (25-8, 1 no-contest) went down to the wire in a back-and-forth lightweight bout. But Sanchez had just a bit more gas left in the tank, and he used a late push to seal a unanimous decision. The judges' scores were 29-28 across the board.
"I take my hat off to Jim Miller, he's a standup guy," said Sanchez, who won for the second time in his past three fights. "He came in here, he threw down. I hope the fans enjoyed the fight."