LAS VEGAS -- Holly Holm seemed well on her way to retaining the UFC women's bantamweight championship on Saturday night.
Then Miesha Tate scored one of the most stunning finishes in mixed martial arts history.
Tate landed a swift takedown in the final two minutes of the fifth round at UFC 196 and landed a tight rear-naked choke. Holm tried to shake Tate off, and when she couldn't, went unconscious instead of tapping out.
Tate won the title at 3:30 of the final round at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for her fifth straight victory.
"I knew I had to finish the fight," said Tate (18-5). "I knew I had to be perfect in the fifth round."
Tate had very nearly finished the bout in the second round, dominating from bell to bell and securing a rear-naked choke in the final minute.
But Holm (10-1), who had won the opening round, regained control and won the third, fourth, and appeared to be winning the fifth. She stuffed every Tate takedown attempt in that time frame up until the final, fateful attempt.
The victory served as validation for Tate, the former Strikeforce champion who had played a major role in helping establish women's fighting with the mainstream while Ronda Rousey got the credit. Following her second loss to Rousey at UFC 168, Tate was initially promised a title shot after defeating Jessica Eye last summer. But the UFC instead gave the shot at Holm, who defeated Rousey via knockout at UFC 193.