The co-main event for UFC 168 is going to be a rematch for the womens bantamweight title between the challenger Miesha Tate and the defending champion Ronda Rousey.
Tate is a large underdog in this matchup at +600, while Rousey is a huge favorite at -900.
Tate (13-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) made her Octagon debut against Cat Zingano at the Ultimate Fighter 17 finale eight months ago. She got the better of Zingano in the first two rounds of action, convincingly winning each frame with her wrestling. She ran out of gas, however, in the third round, and Zingano got the better of her, landing some brutal strikes, especially with her knees. After a number of unanswered strikes, referee Kim Winslow stepped in to stop the fight, simultaneously as Tate was attempting a takedown.
Zingago won the job of coaching against Ronda Rousey on the following season of The Ultimate Fighter with Rousey’s title on the line. Unfortunately, Zingano suffered a knee injury and backed out of the coaching gig. Conveniently, she was replaced by Tate, who many believe the UFC were hoping would win the fight. Tate coached opposite Rousey on the reality series, and had quite a successful run. Both of her fighters went on to win the tournament; Julianna Pena for the women, and Chris Holdsworth for the men.
“Cupcake” has poor striking skills, but she has been working on it. She is a talented wrestler who works solid takedowns, as her former nickname would suggest. Tate owns two ‘female fighter of the year’ awards, and two ‘submission of the year’ awards. She is a talented submission artist who has won six of her 13 professional mixed martial arts bouts by way of tapout. Her conditioning is not very good, as was evident in her last outing against Zingano. If she did not run out of gas, she would have very likely secured a unanimous 30-27 decision.
Rousey (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) survived a first round standing rear naked choke by Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 over 10 months ago, and then came back to defeat her with her infamous armbar with only 11 seconds remaining in the very same round. The victory marked her first in the Octagon, and seventh in a row in the sport; all seven coming by way of armbar submission within the very first frame of action.
Five of her stoppage victories have occurred in under one minute. Rousey is an Olympic bronze medalist judoka who is an extraordinary grappler. She works beautiful takedowns, and her submission game is excellent. She is raw in the stand-up department, but has been working her striking with coach Edvard Tarverdyan, and has been making improvements in that department.
Though she has never been out of the first round, Rousey takes her training and cardio very seriously, so I expect her to have the advantage in the conditioning department against Tate, as she heads into this championship rematch. “Rowdy” is an incredible tough fighter who is full of heart and has no quit in her. She will be after Tate from the opening bell, looking to hurt her, and finish her.
Gabe Killian writes for MMA Oddsbreaker. Follow him on Twitter @GabeKillianMMA.
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