LAS VEGAS – Less than a year after she was denied a shot at the championship that had been promised to her, Miesha Tate completed an amazing comeback journey with a dramatic submission of Holly Holm Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 196 at the MGM Grand Garden.
Tate, who lost her Strikeforce title to bitter rival Ronda Rousey in 2012 and then lost a shot at the UFC belt in 2013, submitted Holm with a rear naked choke at 3:30 of the fifth round.
It was a sensational submission. Tate took Holm down, who fought to stand up. Tate stayed on her and sunk in a rear naked choke. Holm moved over to the cage and then somersaulted forward, flipping Tate over.
Tate, though, didn’t release the hold and when they hit the ground; she kept the choke. She squeezed with all her might and Holm went out at 3:30, making Tate the new champion.
“I thought I had to be like a pit bull on a bone,” Tate said. “I couldn’t let go of it.”
She didn’t, and she got the most special win of her career as a huge throng in her adopted hometown cheered her triumph wildly.
When the fight ended, her boyfriend, Bryan Caraway, a UFC fighter who also serves as her trainer, raced toward her. Tate jumped into her arms and the two celebrated in the middle of the cage.
The victory was especially sweet for Tate after she got bypassed for the title shot last year. UFC president Dana White had promised that the winner of the Tate-Jessica Eye fight in July would meet Rousey for the title. Tate won and White confirmed that she’d meet Rousey a third time.
But he thought better of it and several weeks later, changed his mind and gave Holm the shot instead. Tate found out while she was on a movie set with Holm.
Tate was bitter, and it was made worse when Holm went to Melbourne, Australia, and knocked out Rousey on Nov. 14 at UFC 193 in arguably the greatest upset in UFC history.
But when Rousey wasn’t able to rematch Holm right away, Tate got the shot and made the most of it.
She nearly finished Holm in the second after a takedown, eventually getting the champion’s back and sinking in a choke. Holm fought it and the bell sounded, saving her.
Holm seemed to take control by winning the third and fourth rounds.
But Tate, who is as dogged as any fighter in the UFC, kept coming.
“I had to be patient,” Tate said. “She’s dangerous and is capable of catching anyone at any moment.”
Her win will likely mean a third meeting with her bitter rival Rousey, though that has yet to be determined.
But as Tate exulted, she found time to congratulate her vanquished foe.
“I have so much respect for this woman,” Tate said of Holm, who didn’t tap and went unconscious. “I have so much respect for her because she gave me everything she had.”
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