Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Flyweight veterans Miesha Tate and Lauren Murphy will face off this weekend (Sat., July 2, 2022) at UFC 276 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tate’s big 2021 return to action has been a mixed bag so far. Though she pummeled Marion Reneau in July (watch highlights), her attempt to dispatch a top member of the new generation, Ketlen Vieira, ended rather poorly. Now, she’s relocating weight classes, a move many wondered about for years, but it may be too late? Murphy is a reasonable opponent at least. Freshly removed from a decisive loss to Valentina Shevchenko, Murphy is actually older than the former champion, and it overall seems like a match up of athletes with similar strengths and weaknesses.
This fight was supposed to take place at UFC 276, but a couple weeks of delay doesn’t change much. Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each woman:
Key Wins: Holly Holm (UFC 196), Marion Reneau (UFC Vegas 31), 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”), Amanda Nunes (UFC 200), Ketlen Vieira (UFC Vegas 43), Cat Zingano (The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale), Raquel Pennington (UFC 205)
Keys to Victory: No one has even knocked Tate for toughness or heart. The wrestler doesn’t have the cleanest technique in any one area, but her combination of takedowns, back takes, and sheer guts did make “Cupcake” a two-time world champion.
Again, this feels like a very reasonable match up for Tate’s introduction to the Flyweight division. If she’s able to make the weight in healthy fashion and perform well, it’s a very winnable fight. Neither woman strikes quite like Israel Adesanya, but between the two, Tate’s right hand is far and away the best weapon.
Like all “Takedown” fights, however, getting on top is the end goal. Fortunately, Murphy is a very willing scrapper, much like Tate herself. Therefore, the goal should be to throw down a bit and convince Murphy that this is a striking match. As soon as Murphy is really setting her feet and trading, Tate’s classic level change with a trip should work well.
Once in top position, Tate is in her wheelhouse.
Key Wins: Joanne Calderwood (UFC 263), Roxanne Modafferi (UFC on ESPN 11), Andrea Lee (UFC 247), Mara Romero Borella (UFC on ESPN 5)
Key Losses: Valentina Shevchenko (UFC 266), Sijara Eubanks (UFC Fight Night 131), Katlyn Chookagian (UFC Fight Night 91)
Keys to Victory: Murphy is a scrapper. She can wrestle well enough, too, but often, it seems Murphy is unable to fully contain her opponent on the canvas. When that happens, she’s down to brawl.
Volume is likely the key here for Murphy. Unlike Tate, she’s accustomed to the 125-pound cut, and she’s proven that she can maintain a high pace for 15 full minutes. Conversely, Tate has never been the most high-volume fighter — she tries to circle around and pick her shots more.
Murphy will find more success in longer exchanges. Touching the body a bit would also be a wise choice to test that gas tank. It is vital, however, that while pushing the pace, Murphy remains within her stance and avoids over-extending, lest she give up easy takedowns. Since Tate tends to shoot her best takedowns in the open, punching into the clinch and attacking with knees and elbows also might be a viable path to victory for Murphy.
This is the last chance for a final Miesha Tate title run.
Do I like Tate’s odds against Shevchenko? No, not at all. Still, Taila Santos had a decent bit of success backpacking the Flyweight queen, so at least there’s a theoretical path to victory for “Cupcake.” If she’s victorious in this bout, a title shot might actually be next for Tate. That’s the value of being an established ex-champ! If she comes up short, however, we can effectively write off Tate from the 125-pound title mix.
Murphy was pretty soundly dominated by Shevchenko last time out. So, long as “Bullet” holds the belt, a title shot is rather unlikely. At the same time, taking out Tate would be the best win of her career. Until Shevchenko falls or moves to Bantamweight, Murphy can only seek to keep herself in the mix.
At UFC Long Island, Miesha Tate and Lauren Murphy will battle. Which woman will earn the victory?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Long Island fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 2 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Long Island: “Ortega vs. Yair” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.