Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's Bantamweight championship belt was on the line when Ronda Rousey faced arch rival Miesha Tate in the co-main event of UFC 168 last night (Sat., Dec. 28, 2013) from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
To watch full fight video highlights of Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate right now click here.
The bout was a culmination of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18, a show that brought Rousey's incredibly competitive nature to the forefront, losing her many fans in the midst of the drama-filled spectacle. Tate earned the support of a lot of those people in the process, but that didn't mean she had what it takes to dethrone the surging Rousey.
Sitting with a spotless (7-0) record in mixed martial arts (MMA), Rousey had finished all of her opponents with first round armbars. While she wasn't able to continue that streak against Tate, she ultimately put an end to her bitter rival by locking up a third round submission. It was a "Fight of the Night"-winning effort that delivered for fans of TUF 18.
Let's take a look back at the brilliance of Rousey's latest win.
The fight started with a striking exchange before going to the ground. When it stood back up Rousey threw some good knees against the cage and got a takedown. Rousey avoided a strange armbar attempt from Tate to land some big punches. Tate reversed to land on top but Rousey hit her with elbows from the bottom. "Rowdy" sought out a triangle as blood rained from Tate's face. Tate got up to throw some big shots of her own.
Rousey got another takedown that was reversed by "Cupcake." With one minute left in the first round, Rousey threw Tate to the mat once again. The fight returned to the feet, where Tate landed a hard shot as the rousing first round came to a close.
Tate hit the canvas again to start the second round. She landed some up-kicks to Rousey's head and got back up. Rousey countered a Tate takedown attempt with a judo throw. Rousey took down Tate and went to her back before pushing the fight up against the fence. Another Rousey throw followed and she went to work from side control. The inevitable armbar finally came but didn't take, and Rousey soon transitioned to the mount. She landed hard punches and locked up the armbar, but Tate miraculously didn't tap. "Rowdy" secured a reverse triangle and pounded away at Tate's midsection as the second frame ended.
Rousey pushed forward when the third round began, looking for another armbar. This time the hold was true, earning the tap from a resilient Tate. It was a dominant performance from a true champion.
Rousey was never in trouble and answered any lingering questions about her conditioning after appearing able to fight on well into the championships rounds against Tate. But she didn't need to, putting an emphatic stamp on her archrival. Her technical brilliance is simply unmatched to this point and it's going to take a special performance to knock her off her perch.
Rousey will move on to face No. 4-ranked Sara McMann in the headlining bout of February's UFC 170. The champion is not afraid to put her belt on the line with an incredibly fast turnaround. As long as Rousey stays motivated and focused on fighting as movie roles roll in, she should maintain her position as a dominant champion.
If anyone can give her a run for her money, however, it's the Olympic silver medal-winning wrestler McMann.
For Tate, the loss is absolutely crushing to her career. She now holds the unfortunate distinction of having lost to her division's champion twice and the top contender once. That puts her in a sort of women's bantamweight purgatory and she'll probably never get another title shot as long as Rousey is in the picture.
She was understandably disheveled at last night's post-fight press conference. If Tate is still inclined to keep fighting, she'll need to string together several impressive victories to regain any true relevance. That's too bad, because "Cupcake" is undoubtedly one of the finest women's mixed martial artists on the planet.
She just can't seem to get to the top of the mountain.
At least she can take some solace in the fact that she was the first fighter to take "Rowdy" out of the first round. It's an unsatisfying consolation prize but showed that there is at least a very small glimmer of hope for the women lining up to face Rousey.
Ronda Rousey did what most thought she would do when she submitted Miesha Tate for a second time at UFC 168. She'll soon face Sara McMann for the belt. Will anyone be able to stop the freight train that "Rowdy" has become?