There has not been a bigger superstar in the world of mixed martial arts than Ronda Rousey. As the face of women’s combat sports, Rousey has appeared on almost every major television network and on the cover of dozens of magazines since winning the inaugural UFC bantamweight championship at UFC 157. But during the last few months Rousey’s name cannot be brought up without mentioning her rivalry with former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate.
These two originally met back in March 2012 under the Strikeforce banner. In what turned out to be Rousey’s coming out party, she secured her signature first round armbar and walked away with the belt. Since that night, these two women have let loose a barrage of hate aimed at one another, including Tate’s boyfriend Bryan Caraway threatening to knock Rousey’s teeth out.
Their rivalry came to a boiling point as they both squared off as opposing coaches on season 18 of the Ultimate Fighter. Insults were thrown, tears were seen and it all culminated with one of the most emotional face-offs in UFC history.
It may be taking a backseat to the highly-anticipated rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva but this is without a doubt one the most intense rivalries in any major sport, let alone MMA. But there can only be one winner so without further ado here’s how these two women matchup against one another.
This is a tough matchup as neither fighter has shown much striking prowess in any of their previous fights. While Tate does have three knockout victories in her career, her last one being in 2009, she has become known for her ability to absorb a tremendous amount of punishment. In her last Strikeforce win against Julie Kedize, Tate was knocked down three times in the fight. This made her third-round armbar victory the first victory in Strikeforce, UFC, WEC and Pride FC history to come after a fighter was knocked down that many times and still finished their opponent. Tate was also out landed 52 to 17 in significant strikes, which is the third biggest in Strikeforce history for a fighter who finished her opponent.
To Rousey’s credit, she rarely spends time on her feet as she tends to bring the fight to the canvas as quickly as possible. In fact, since she joined Strikeforce in 2011 she has landed a meager 19 significant strikes. But she more than makes up for this with her deadly accuracy. In her last fight against Tate, Rousey landed 43 of 48 total strikes. While many of these punches were on the ground, it’s still shows she’s not afraid to let her hands go.
Again, this is very difficult to judge who has the advantage in the striking department as neither of these women tend to keep their fights standing. I do not expect that to change in this fight so it’s a toss-up if this turns into a kickboxing match.
An Olympics bronze medalist in Judo, Rousey is on a completely different level with her takedowns that most fighters on the roster, let alone the women’s division. While a career takedown accuracy rating of 66.7% is what many will point to when praising her skills, it is the fact that she almost never allows her opponents to even attempt a takedown that is far more impressive. Her opponents’ hesitation to close the gap may be to due to the fact that all six of her takedowns have come from the clinch, with two of them being slams.
But Tate is no slouch in the wrestling department, as she’s landed at least one takedown on every one of her UFC/Strikeforce opponents not named Ronda Rousey, including three in her last fight against Cat Zingano. In fact, her 18 takedowns in Strikeforce are tied for fifth most in the company’s history. But while she is better than almost every other female fighter in the division, she simply cannot hold a candle to an Olympic athlete. As Rousey so eloquently put it: “I’m an Olympic athlete and [Tate] is a high school wrestler.”
In their first meeting, fans witnessed Tate break in half as she lay helplessly squirming under the torque of a Ronda Rousey armbar. So it’s not even close in this department, as Rousey is simply unstoppable if the fight goes to the canvas.
Since turning pro, all seven of Rousey’s victories have come by way of first round armbar, with five of them coming before the fight hit the one-minute mark. This makes her one of the only two fighters in UFC, Strikeforce, WEC or Pride FC history to have earned three submission victories within the opening minute. Her 25-second submission victory in her Strikeforce debut is the second fastest in company history and her 54-second submission victory over Sarah Kaufman is the fastest in a Strikeforce championship fight.
But this won’t stop Tate from attempting to secure a submission victory of her own. She has earned six career victories via tap out and her 11 serious submission attempts are the fourth most in Strikeforce history. But she once again has no hope of competing with Rousey.
I’d like to think Tate learned enough from their first meeting to become the first fighter to make it to the second round against Rousey. If she has any hope of winning, she’ll avoid Rousey’s clinch game and keep the fight standing in order to avoid another depilating submission loss. But if she does secure a takedown of her own she’ll have to end the fight quickly or she will run the risk of Rousey taking the fight to her comfort zone.
But with that being said, I do not expect much of a fight from Tate, as Rousey has shown almost no weaknesses in her game. Expect her to take the fight to the canvas quickly and earn yet another first round armbar.
Rousey via Round 1 submission
Don’t forget to check out the complete head-to-toe preview of Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva II