Miesha Tate knows what she needs to do — and more importantly avoid — in order to hand Ronda Rousey her first career loss at UFC 168. The dreaded armbar has been “Rowdy’s” ticket to the big-time with seven straight-first round finishes to start her career. Tate knows exactly what that feeling is like as she was one of Rousey’s victims dating back to their days in Strikeforce and ended up losing her title. She seeks revenge against her bitter rival in their women’s bantamweight title rematch in Las Vegas. Rousey is a huge favorite heading in, and it’s easy to see why.
The two women clearly don’t have much time for one another which was one of the main selling points of Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter. There was plenty of drama and animosity between the two coaches, but with the season in the books and the fight approaching the time for talk will soon be over. Tate has been working on her wrestling game and judo takedown defense in the hopes of becoming the first fighter to solve the Rousey puzzle. We’ve seen all of Rousey’s opponents talk the same game about how to avoid being taken to the ground because they know the danger, yet it still happens time after time. That’s a credit to how exceptional Rousey is at what she does.
Rousey’s first defense of her UFC belt came against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157. Carmouche put up a spirited challenge but fell victim to an armbar finish at 4:49 of the opening round. Remarkably, it was the longest fight of the champion’s career. Rousey has been working on her stand-up game, but obviously her judo background will always be her calling card. She’s not one to wait around before looking to get the job done and no doubt will be looking to pounce on any opportunity that Tate presents to her from the moment the fight begins.
Tate got this major opportunity because of a knee injury suffered by Cat Zingano. Zingano defeated Tate by a third round stoppage in a Fight of the Night effort at the TUF 17 finale. It was an entertaining battle in the UFC debut for both women. Tate truly believes she will make the most of getting this second chance at her arch-rival. It’s clear she will have to fight the perfect fight to defeat Rousey because, as we’ve seen in the past, one mistake and it’s lights out. While anything is possible once a fight begins, it would be a shocker if Rousey doesn’t leave the MGM Grand Garden Arena with her title and her undefeated record still intact.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports