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UFC 196 fight card: Holly Holm vs Miesha Tate full fight preview

Holly Holm and Miesha Tate will battle for the strap this Saturday (March 5, 2016) at UFC 196 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In a match up of boxer and wrestler, what adjustments must be made for either woman to claim victory? Find out below!

Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Watch the incredible video highlights from UFC 196 last night!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight bad asses Holly Holm and Miesha Tate will collide this Saturday (March 5, 2016) at UFC 196 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Holm shocked the world in her last bout with her brutal finish of Ronda Rousey. Despite entering the title fight as a massive underdog, Holm stole the strap in violent fashion and now looks like a very difficult woman to beat.

Meanwhile, Tate was the woman passed over in favor of Holm for that title shot. Luckily, the gritty wrestler now will square off with someone other than Rousey in an attempt to become UFC champion.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for each combatant:

Holly Holm
Record: 10-0
Key Wins: Ronda Rousey (UFC 193), Raquel Pennington (UFC 184), Marion Reneau (UFC Fight Night 71)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Holm is a former professional boxing champion and has experience as a kickboxer as well. Thus far, her takedown defense has been very strong, forcing her opponents to contend with "Preacher's Daughter" on the feet.

It hasn't been going well for them, as Holm has knocked out seven of her past opponents.

For Holm, this is a pretty standard bout. Against an opponent who pressures forward and looks for the takedown, Holm needs to circle, stay off the fence, and punish her opponent coming in.

Sound familiar?

Overall, this will almost always be Holm's game plan. She's such a talented range striker that it makes little sense for her to do anything else, as the vast majority of her opponents will look to close the distance and take her down.

Holm's style takes full advantage of her conditioning edge as well, which will be important in this fight. Tate does a damn fine job of making fights ugly and using that to her advantage, but if she gets tired first, that will become an impossible task.


Miesha Tate
Record: 17-5
Key Wins: Jessica Eye (UFC on FOX 16), Sara McMann (UFC 183), Liz Carmouche (UFC on FOX 11)
Key Losses: Ronda Rousey (UFC 168, Strikeforce: "Tate vs. Rousey"), Cat Zingano (The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale)
Keys to Victory: Tate is one of the toughest athletes in the sport. She's a talented wrestler with some aggressive striking, but time and time again, it's her heart and willpower that allows Tate to pull through and earn the victory.

In this bout, however, it's more important that Tate stay smart and fight in a more measured manner.

If Tate comes out guns blazing and tries to blitz Holm, this bout will likely end similarly to Ronda Rousey's bout with Holm. Forward pressure is great, but throwing wildly and leading with the face against a strong striker is never a smart move.

Instead, Tate needs to focus on a pair of things. First and foremost, Tate needs to try and pressure her opponent into the fence by cutting off the cage. While Holm was able to deny Rousey's favorite clinch throws, she's likely been preparing for them since day one.

Tate's double-leg takedown may be a different story.

On a similar note, Tate needs to continue using level change feints to set up her punches. Holm has been in the game a long time and was rocked by one of Rousey's wild shots, so a well-timed overhand could drastically change this fight.

Bottom Line: It's for the title!

Holm went from a relative unknown -- in the MMA world at least -- to a star overnight. She did the impossible by dethroning Rousey, bringing her a ton of fame and acclaim. However, a victory here against one of the division's former champions and a true veteran would really solidify Holm as more than a nightmare match up for "Rowdy."

Alternatively, a loss would put Holm in an odd place. There's simply a massive gap in competition level between Rousey and the rest of her wins, so it's possible that Holm may not be quite as dominant as she showed in that bout. With only three fights inside the Octagon, it's uncertain just how well Holm will fair opposite the rest of her division.

It's odd to say this about a title fight, but this may be a far more important bout for Tate. Both of her losses to Rousey were dominant, and even though she's improved since, it's hard to like her chances in a trilogy match. For the first time in a long time, Tate seems to have a real chance at taking the title, so it's important that she capitalizes right now.

If Tate comes up short, her road ahead is unclear. She's contemplated retirement before, and it's hard to see how she can work back to the title unless UFC creates a women's Flyweight division. If that doesn't happen in the near future, Tate may just live up to her word and leave the sport.

At UFC 196, Holly Holm and Miesha Tate will fight over the title. Which woman will have her hand raised?

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