Welcome to FightLine’s live coverage of UFC 196.
While we no longer get to see champion vs. champion, we’ll still get an incredible main event and a title fight in the co-headline role.
Setting the stage, Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will look to bring down the house from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in the headline bout.
McGregor, the current UFC featherweight champion, was expected to meet lightweight titleholder Rafael dos Anjos. However, a broken foot knocked dos Anjos out and opened the door for Diaz.
The contest will take place at welterweight, and a win for “Notorious” could possibly push him towards a championship match with Robbie Lawler at UFC 200.
Taking the co-main role will be Holly Holm’s first female bantamweight title defense, as she battles former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate.
Again, Holm was originally booked for a rematch with Ronda Rousey, but that never even came to the table when Rousey asked for time off.
The rest of the pay-per-view main card will see Gian Villante meet Ilir Latifi, Corey Anderson square off with Tom Lawlor and Amanda Nunes face Valentina Shevchenko.
On the FOX Sports 1 prelims will be four bouts, headlined by Brandon Thatch vs. Siyar Bahadurzada. Joining that fight will be Erick Silva-Nordine Taleb, Vitor Miranda-Marcelo Guimaraes and Darren Elkins-Chas Skelly.
As a push for more marquee names on UFC Fight Pass continues, the early prelims include Diego Sanchez-Jim Miller, Justin Salas-Jason Saggo and Julian Erosa-Teruto Ishihara.
FightLine will be bringing you complete coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET with the first Fight Pass prelim.
Julian Erosa vs. Teruto Ishihara
We kickoff this blockbuster event on Fight Pass with featherweights Julian Erosa (15-3) and Teruto Ishihara (8-2-2). Erosa was a member of The Ultimate Fighter 22, while Ishihara competed on Road to the UFC: Japan.
Round 1: Ishihara with a kick right off the touch, catching Erosa off-guard. However, Erosa, nicknamed “Juicy J,” has a huge reach advantage. Ishihara just misses on a knee, tries to capitalize on the ground, but they are back to the feet quickly. Erosa playing a counter-striking game now, as Ishihara is all over him. Damage being done to the legs of Erosa, who is getting peppered with kicks. Power shots landing by Ishihara, but Erosa gets him to the ground with a takedown off a caught kick.
FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Ishihara
Round 2: Ishihara talked about the left hook being there for him between rounds and it was, as he drops Erosa quickly into the second. Several punches on the ground later and this one is all over.
Teruto Ishihara def. Julian Erosa via KO (left-hook) at :34 of Round 2
Justin Salas vs. Jason Saggo
We’ll bump up to the lightweight division next, as Justin Salas (12-6) takes on Jason Saggo (10-2). Both of these men have been sidelined with injuries for over a year.
Round 1: Salas trying to open things up with kicks, as Salas retaliates with a huge power kick of his own. Now to the body goes Salas, looking to close the distance. He finds an opening and lands with a huge takedown, but Saggo is a black belt in Gracie jiu-jitsu, so this might be exactly what he wanted. Excellent rubber-guard and Saggo rolls to the top position. Ground game is scoring points for Saggo, but he also has advantage and slides to the back. He easily gets a hook in with over-under control, slipping in the under hook. Blood pouring from the face and Saggo is pounding away with 30 seconds left. This one is all over.
Jason Saggo def. Justin Salas via TKO (strikes) at 4:31 of Round 1