Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight females Miesha Tate and Jessica Eye will look to earn a 135-pound title shot this Saturday (July 25, 2015) at UFC on FOX 16 inside United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Despite a pair of losses to Ronda Rousey, Tate might actually have the best chance of any woman in the world to dethrone "Rowdy." It's still a very, very low chance, but "Cupcake" will look to earn a third opportunity to make it happen by taking out Eye.
Though she's technically won just one of three in her UFC career, Eye has nonetheless established herself as a top fighter in the division. In particular, her destruction of Leslie Smith -- and to be more specific, her destruction of Smith's ear (see gruesome pic here) -- showed just how dangerous the boxer could be.
Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both women:
Key Wins: Sara McMann (UFC 183), Liz Carmouche (UFC on FOX 11), Marloes Coenen (Strikeforce: "Fedor vs. Henderson")
Key Losses: Ronda Rousey (UFC 168, Strikeforce: "Tate vs. Rousey"), Cat Zingano (The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale)
Keys to Victory: Tate is one of her division's finest wrestlers who also possesses a very strong submission game as well. On her feet, she's less than polished, but Tate makes up for that with raw aggression and decent power.
And above all else, Tate is tough as nails. Look no further than her most recent fight in which McMann broke her orbital in the very first round and nearly finished the former Strikeforce champion. Then, Tate rallied back in impressive fashion, taking the next two rounds clearly.
Luckily for Tate, her strengths just so happen to line up with Eye's weaknesses. Eye is a smaller Bantamweight who has struggled with fighters controlling her from top position, which just so happens to be Tate's specialty.
This doesn't necessarily mean that Eye will be an easy fight for Tate, but she won't have to switch up her style of attack in any major way. Tate can rely on her usual style of fighting by pushing forward with punches until she has a chance to duck into the double leg.
Once on top, Tate should step up her aggression on the mat a bit. She hasn't yet finished any of her opponents inside the Octagon, and a submission win could go a long way in securing that third shot at Rousey.
Record: 11-2 (1)
Key Wins: Leslie Smith (UFC 180), Zoila Frausto Gurgel (Bellator 83)
Key Losses: Alexis Davis
Keys to Victory: Eye is a very quick fighter whose crisp punches separate her from many other female fighters. In addition, she's really stepped up her volume lately, which led to her mauling of Smith.
To defeat Tate, Eye needs to rely on her movement and speed. Tate is not the quickest fighter, and it's up to Eye to force "Cupcake" to reach for her and miss.
From the outside, Eye needs to constantly be popping her opponent with the jab. If she's active with the strike while circling, it will force Tate to close the distance with either punches or takedowns, and Eye should be able to defend a takedown shot from the edge of her jabbing range.
On the other hand, plenty of counter opportunities will arise for Eye if her opponent reaches with punches. Eye is quick enough to bounce in with a hard counter shot and return to circling before Tate can level change into an effective shot, and that will be much easier for her if Tate's looping punches are coming up short.
Bottom Line: This is most likely a title eliminator bout, in addition to being a solid style clash.
Tate may have a pair of dominant losses to Rousey, but no one is watching Rousey's fights for her opponent anymore. At this point, it's largely assumed that the Judoka will maul her opponent in a brisk manner regardless of who she's facing, so Tate will be given as many title shots as she can earn.
That said, a loss here would set Tate back a bit. Her current win streak is impressive, but none of those victories came easily, so it could be arduous for her to build another solid streak.
On the other hand, this is a truly massive opportunity for Eye. Despite not having a real win streak at the moment, she could leap into a match up with Rousey. I can't predict that it would go well for her, but it's an opportunity nonetheless.
If Eye does fail to upset Tate, she's in a much worse position. Officially winning just one of four fights is rarely a good look, even if the losses are to the top of the division and one of her wins was overturned. If she loses here, it would actually take a serious win streak to climb back up the ladder.
At UFC on FOX 16, Miesha Tate and Jessica Eye will scrap in the co-main event. Which woman will have her hand raised?