[UPDATE] “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, 24, defeated Miesha Tate, 25, for the Strikeforce bantamweight championship after locking in her patented armbar. Here's the official recap of the March 3rd fight. By all accounts, the Showtime broadcast was a big win for women's MMA.
Whether or not you follow, or even like, MMA (mixed martial arts) it's important to know that women are making their mark and here to stay.
Tomorrow night's fight between Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey (March 3rd in Columbus, Ohio and broadcast on Showtime 10:00PM EST) is undeniably the biggest for the women of Strikeforce since Carano vs. Cyborg took place back in 2009.
This will be only the third women's main event for Strikeforce (Sarah Kaufman vs. Takayo Hashi headlined a Challengers card) and the first under the new ownership. However, this may be the most important bout in women's mixed martial arts history.
What's at stake? Strikeforce Bantamweight (135 lb) Champion Miesha Tate (12-2) will defend her title against Ronda Rousey (4-0), who has previously fought in the 145-lb division. This will be Rousey's first fight at 135 pounds.
Both Rousey and Tate are highly accomplished athletes outside of MMA as well - Rousey won a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Olympics, and Tate has won a silver medal in the FILA Grappling Championships.
The trash talk between the two championship competitors has drawn the interest of fans online and Strikeforce ads have been prominent in Columbus. With the Arnold Sports Festival coinciding with the event there should be a decent sized crowd in the arena. Possibly even topping last years Strikeforce event in Nationwide Arena of 7,123 (Feijao vs. Henderson). The large arena will certainly have plenty of comped seats but it will be the Showtime ratings that define how successful this fight is.
Tate vs. Rousey is already a significant match due to the title being on the line, but they will carry the pressure of the hopes of dreams of their counterparts into the cage with them on Saturday.
It has been almost a year since Zuffa LLC, the UFC's parent company, purchased Strikeforce and it is no secret as to where owner Dana White has stood in regards to women's MMA. His statements of the women's divisions not being deep enough with talent do have some warrant. However, make no mistake that the front office will be interested in the performance of this particular card.
With previous acquisitions by Zuffa one can only assume it is a matter of time before they merge the talent of Strikeforce in to the UFC. The question has always been if the women will see the inside of the Octagon. This main event has even drawn the interest of Dana White himself.
If Tate and Rousey can show the validity of the women's drawing power then the future of women's MMA on the elite stage will look as bright as the championship they are vying for.
Predictions? Here's what some fighters are saying:
Sara McMann: I honestly don't know. I lean towards Miesha slightly for experience with high level grapplers and more tools in striking, but Ronda is very skilled in select areas and has a chance to catch her. If Miesha makes few errors she will win. If Ronda can take her down she will win.
Jordan McDonald: I don't think you can ever count Miesha out. She is always game and her experience at fighting championship rounds is definitely in her favor. She doesn't come off as intense as Ronda but I don't think that means she is any less dangerous. That being said, Ronda is a force to be reckoned with and as much as people like to talk smack about her lack of experience, no one has been able to stop her game plan even when they know exactly what it is going in.
Sarah Goodlaxson: I think Ronda is going to win and that people underestimate her because of her lack of experience, but they need to remember the level of athlete she is.
More top female fighters give their thoughts on Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey. Will you be watching? What do you think about women's MMA?
The main card will be shown on Showtime on Saturday, March 3rd. Click here for ticket and Showtime information.
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