Photo via Esther Lin for MMAFighting.com
Since signing with Strikeforce in 2008, Miesha Tate has only tasted defeat once. Five times she has had her hand raised at the end of the bout with two of those wins coming in the same evening. Amidst the cool Arizona summer night, "Takedown" bested two fighters in Aug. 2010 to earn a shot at the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion's 135-pound title.
It would be nearly a year before she stepped inside the cage to make the challenge, but when she finally did, she made it count. Over the course of four rounds, she used her wrestling abilities to take control of the bout before ending the fight with an impressive submission.
We'll take a closer look at the bout, a fantastic back and forth with Marloes Coenen that saw "Rumina" get submitted for the first time in her 24 fight career, as we prepare for tonight's (Mar. 3, 2012) Strikeforce: "Tate vs. Rousey" card. "Takedown" is set to make her first title defense against a rocketing prospect in "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey.
Many are predicting the end of Tate's reign tonight. Many also incorrectly predicted there wouldn't be a reign to begin with.
Let's dive right into Tate's incredible performance against "Rumina."
Tate opens up with a leg kick before clinching up and bullying the champion against the cage. Coenen defends against the takedown attempt and Tate busts out some old school Marco Ruas foot stomps. "Rumina" desperately tries to create distance but "Takedown" more than lives up to her moniker as she is relentless in trying to get the fight to the mat. Coenen is the champ for a reason and soon works her way off the chain-link. A hook from "Rumina" catches the challenger who responds with a nice straight.
They clinch for a second time and Coenen makes use of her Golden Glory training by latching onto a Thai clinch and delivering a knee to Tate's face. "Takedown" grabs the leg and drives the champion against the cage and finally onto the mat. From there, Coenen sinks in what appears to be a pretty deep modified guillotine choke. Tate avoids being submitted and pops her head out, transitioning quickly to sidemount.
Not much action aside from the dominant grappling display from Tate. While some would decry her lack of offense, a five-round championship fight is often a marathon, not a sprint. Rather than expend her own energy in the opening round, "Takedown" seems content to make the champion get tired by trying to get back to her feet.
A quick exchange to start the second round and Tate once again immediately clinches her opponent. While "Takedown" struggles to get the champion to the canvas, Coenen delivers solid knees to the challenger's body and thighs. Latched onto a single leg, Tate spins Coenen around but the balance of the champion is strong enough to turn the takedown around in her favor. "Rumina" takes her opponent's back and begins snaking her arm around Tate's neck. "Takedown" defends against the submission but is unable to keep Coenen from raining down punches from behind.
With a minute left to go, the Golden Glory fighter flattens Tate out and drops huge punches. The horn sounds with "Rumina" still glued to her opponent's back as she had been nearly the entire five minute period.
The champion begins to pepper Tate with leg kicks as the third round opens. "Takedown" times one perfectly and drops Coenen to her back. From there, Tate uses her wrestling prowess to smother her opponent, barely allowing even an inch of space between them. Unfortunately for the challenger, her offense is lacking enough the referee calls for a stand-up. It barely matters as the Team Alpha Male product secures a second takedown, dropping Coenen against the cage to pretty much end the round. The champion is able to sweep her challenger at the last second but the horn sounds before anything can come of the reversal of position.
The first of two scheduled championship rounds begins unlike any of the others as the two combatants stay standing and opt to engage in striking exchanges. For the first minute, Coenen and Tate trade punches and kicks before "Takedown" does exactly that and once again gets the champion to the mat. "Rumina" threatens with a guillotine choke but Tate's position on top makes it basically impossible to fully sink in the submission. Tate transitions to sidemount and begins dropping short elbows while jockeying for position.
She works towards controlling her opponent's head and arm but in a brilliant display of diversion, puts her knee on Coenen's stomach to make the champion think Tate is working towards getting full mount. Instead, she slides over and locks in a tight arm triangle choke. With three quick taps, "Rumina" loses the fight and her belt.
It's been over six months since Tate's incredible victory that night. And while she won the title from a soft-spoken experienced veteran, she makes her first defense against a brash, outspoken newcomer in Rousey. The judoka has four victories to her name with each coming via armbar.
Will "Rowdy" add a fifth arm -- and a title -- to her collection tonight in Columbus?
Or will "Takedown" derail Rousey's hype train?