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Holm, Tate play nice in UFC 197 press conference

Conor McGregor vowed to drag Rafael Dos Anjos’ severed head through the streets of Rio de Janeiro.

Dos Anjos promised to punish McGregor for his nonstop fusillade of insults.

Holly Holm and Miesha Tate, meanwhile, talked of game plans, opportunity and mutual respect.

The four MMA fighters, principals in the two featured fights of UFC 197 on March 5, faced the media Wednesday. The 40-minute news conference was streamed live on UFC.com from the MGM Grand, the site of the card, in Las Vegas, Nev.

Albuquerque’s Holm, who took the UFC women’s bantamweight title from Ronda Rousey some 9½ weeks ago in a monumental upset, is scheduled to make her first defense against Tate.

McGregor, who recently took the men’s featherweight title from Brazil’s Jose Aldo, will seek to snatch the lightweight belt from Dos Anjos, another Brazilian.

McGregor’s trash talk dominated Wednesday’s proceedings, and Rousey’s name kept coming up. But, along the way, Holm and Tate managed to set forth the challenges each fighter will face in this matchup.

Tate (17-5, 4-2 UFC) twice has lost to Rousey, both times by submission (arm bar). Rousey was completely dominated by Holm in November before the Albuquerque fighter felled her with a second-round head kick.

Any conclusion that might be drawn from those results, Holm said, would be meaningless.

“Styles make fights,” said Holm (10-0, 3-0 UFC). “Every fight is different. It’s a different game plan, and we’re just going to really zero in on this game plan.”

Tate, she said, “reaches for a lot of things and scrambles in different scenarios. She’s headstrong throughout an entire fight. She’s been through more battles, so she’s got that experience in there in fights where she’s been digging deep and coming out on top.

“To me, I think that’s more of a threat in a fighter, when you know they’ve been through battles.”

Tate’s relationship with Rousey was toxic, and the challenger said it’s a relief not having to deal with personal animosity in the buildup to March 5. Tate and Holm spent time together while filming “Fight Valley,” an MMA-based movie, last summer.

“It’s just a different kind of feeling leading into this fight,” Tate said. “I’m a fan of respectfulness, and I think Holly is a true sportsman. I like this fight; I like the matchup.

“It’s a little refreshing to not have it have to be against Ronda and have to go through all the trauma of seeing each other all the time. Holly and I are very friendly, so it’s just a different fight.”

The Holm-Rousey fight was made over the objections of Tate, who had won four UFC fights in a row and was ranked the No. 1 challenger to Rousey’s title. Then, after Holm’s upset victory, it appeared Tate would have to wait months longer while Holm and Rousey fought a rematch.

But with Rousey’s immediate MMA future uncertain, and with Holm’s stated preference to get back in the octagon sooner than later, the Tate-Holm fight was made.

“The positive,” Tate said, “is that I’ve been ready to fight for a title for a long time. It just made me that much more hungry having to wait for it and to appreciate the opportunity that much more.”

If Rousey were her opponent March 5, Holm said, that would have been fine. But Tate presents her own set of challenges, and the Albuquerque left-hander is eager to prove she can adjust.

“Who wants to be a one-hit wonder, right?” Holm said. “… I just feel like I’m climbing, climbing. I never want to feel like I’m at the top.

“This is going to be a whole different fight than the one with Ronda. We’re going to train completely different, because this is a completely different fighter.”

SANCHEZ ADDED: Diego Sanchez, Holm’s teammate at Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA, has been added to the UFC 197 lineup. Sanchez (25-8) is scheduled to face Jim Miller (25-7) in a lightweight fight.

Sanchez is moving back to lightweight after losing a unanimous decision to Ricardo Lamas in his featherweight debut in November.

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