Holly Holm may have won more rounds at UFC 196, but Miesha Tate was certainly more impactful.
Tate was down on the scorecards heading into the fifth round of their co-main event title bout but believes scoring a dominant round two set the table to submit the champion and steal the fight.
"I think she just crumbled under the pressure when I took her down in that second round," Tate told Fight Network's John Pollock. "My coaches and Bryan [Caraway] actually told me, 'She's either going to stay down and be so scared about being submitted that you're going to ground and pound her and beat her up or she's going to try desperately to get up. Because your top pressure is so heavy she's going to be forced to leave something out there and you're going to grab it and you're going to submit this girl.'
"We saw both cases. In the second round she stayed down there and took some heavy ground and pound. In the fifth round she definitely didn't want to get stuck down there again so she tried to zealously get up and I saw the opening and I took it. We planned for that and we assumed that was going to happen."
Holm and her team have been criticized by UFC president Dana White over the decision to fight Tate rather than wait for a rematch with Ronda Rousey, but Tate admires her for it.
"I think Holly took the advice of her coaches who she trusts with everything," said Tate. "They said, 'Holly, you've always been an active fighter. Let's not change who you are now that you're the champion because that's when you're going to lose sight of who you are.' I think the idea was to keep her grounded just the same as if she wasn't the champion. Fighting often, through the top 10 and I admire that. I respect that. I think that's what any champion should do. She didn't want to wait. She wanted to get in there and prove why she was the best in the world.
"It didn't work out for her this time but that's the mindset that makes a champion. You're not going to win every fight in this sport but she has the mentality of a champion and that's why she beat Ronda. If she would have said, 'I'm not ready to fight Ronda' she would have missed that opportunity. She's just the kind of woman who wants to stay ready, be ready and she's passionate about this. I have a lot of respect for her and I don't think it was a mistake. I think she's going to learn from it and she'll come back better."
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The Fighter and The Kid - Episode 132: Friend of the Morning Report Skylar Astin
#UFC198 @Curitiba- BrasilMal posso esperar para lutar em casa!Can't wait to fight at home!Posted by Anderson 'The Spider' Silva on Thursday, March 17, 2016
Happy Paddy's day everyone!! Wear them colours with pride!!! #IrishBlood pic.twitter.com/o16QbN0m7n— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) March 17, 2016
This dude will regret coming up to 145 w/ first mouth shot....— Jeremy Stephens (@LiLHeathenMMA) March 17, 2016
Knocking Brazilians out is my forte. #LineEmUp#May29 pic.twitter.com/LUkfBMvEvm
Unfortunately it has come to this. It's a shame, but I have more than one and will win ... https://t.co/BCqDGSTmz6 pic.twitter.com/fXsbqXhG8A— Tiffany Van Soest (@TiffanyTimeBomb) March 18, 2016
Strong rumors that #UFC in talks with China Media Capital to sell the promotion. Looking for a $6 billion valuation. Crazy times.— Jonathan Snowden (@JESnowden) March 17, 2016
UFC courting multiple deals. New CFO and a few signs of a potential sale. I'd place even odds on a 2016 sale.— Jonathan Snowden (@JESnowden) March 17, 2016
5 weeks. I can't wait! @ufc 197 https://t.co/P94Rrmv8nC— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) March 17, 2016
When a cop tried to race me.before anyone say something THIS IS NOT REAL it's for a movie I got comin out on pornhub pic.twitter.com/iu7OL6A1BQ— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) March 17, 2016
Conor meets Rocky.
Amazing Motivation, For An Amazing Comeback!! Team Conor all the way.. #conormcgregor #UFC #MMAPosted by Kit Dale on Thursday, March 17, 2016
Announced yesterday (Mar. 17 2016)
Renan Barao vs. Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night 88
Gegard Mousasi vs. Derek Brunson planned at UFC 200
Kevin Casey vs. Elvis Mutapcic at UFC 199
Dan Charles vs. Augusto Sakai at Bellator 155
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.