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Posted on March 6, 2012 by John Petit
Strikeforce Rousey Vs Tate took place last night in Columbus, Ohio in front of thousands of lively fans looking for some stellar mixed martial arts action. They got it in spades! This is an odd “3 Stars” piece for me for one particular reason, all of the star winners are female. I only say odd, because it doesn’t even happen very often that 2 female MMA bouts are on the same card. Lets get right into this.
Third Star: Alexis Davis
Almost 5 years to the date, last nights Bantamweight qualifier bout was a rematch between Davis and former champion Sarah Kaufman, and unfortunately for Davis she fell short for a second time. The good news is that she won tons of fans over who watched on Showtime Extreme and she was one half of the clear winner of the fight of the night. Davis rose to the occasion, and even when she was down on the cards, she was coming forward fully prepared to go out on her shield. She got right in the pocket with Kaufman and was more than willing to take a punch to throw one. She didn’t get the W last night, but she exemplified everything I look for in fighter.
Second Star: Sarah Kaufman
Kaufman was a little jaded going into this fight, and you could tell by some of her candor with the media. I don’t blame her, and in fact she handled it wonderfully, but she strongly felt that Ronda Rousey shouldn’t be given a title shot as she had never fought at bantamweight before. When asked about it, she would answer, but it was never something she went around talking about. Instead, for the most part she bit her tongue and took a fight with Alexis Davis who she hadn’t beaten before. Many thought that Kaufman would just use her wrestling to push around Davis to wear her out, and then finish her on the ground. Davis came to fight, and fought much better then most people thought she would. They both went toe-to-toe for 3 rounds and fought one of the best WMMA fights I have seen in years, if not the best. Kaufman came forward throwing punches almost the whole time, and it wasn’t untill the third round did she slow down even a little.
Kaufman did what she needed to do, and was able to get the win over Davis and she will most likely be the person who fights Rousey next. Having a fight this good, on a night that was very important to women’s MMA, could be a career defining moment for Sarah Kaufman.
First Star: Ronda Rousey
During the 2008 Olympic Games many MMA analysts were watching Judo closely, but they were watching Men’s Heavyweights Teddy Riner (bronze medal, France) and Satoshi Ishii (gold medal, Japan.) Teddy Riner decided to stick to Judo and has continued to pile up gold medals at the worlds. Ishii went on to an MMA career and recently fought Fedor Emelianenko. The person who went on to become a champion in MMA wasn’t a 100kg male, it was the 70kg bronze medal winner female from United States Ronda Rousey.
Having never fought at bantamweight before, Ronda Rousey had some questions surrounding her about how she would adapt to the division, and let alone how she would react on the biggest stage in women’s mma fighting for a title. Sure, she had been in the pressure cooker before during the 2008 Olympic Games where she won her medal, but this is a different ball game. Like she had been there before, Ronda Rousey went on to do the exact same thing she did to her other 4 opponents, but this time it took about 3 minutes more. A round one arm bar.
Almost straight away, Rousey had Miesha Tate flat on her back with her arm bent in an awkward direction, but Tate didn’t tap and was able to escape. She escaped but she ended up on the bottom, and after a few seconds Rousey got up and let Tate to her feet. This had me wondering what she was planning on doing as her game plan was certainly not to stand and trade with Tate. After the fight, she said she let it go and got up, because she knew it wasn’t tight enough. I am willing to argue that 90% of grapplers would NOT let their opponent up after letting them out of a loose submission, and that right there is why Ronda Rousey is my first star.
She KNEW she would get Tate down again. She KNEW she would get a hold of the arm, or another limb, later in the fight. That’s a level confidence we don’t see very much in MMA, as so many little things could go wrong, but we say that trait in champions. Specifically, we see that trait in the ‘pound for pound best fighters’ lists. At 25 years of age; she is 3-0 as an amateur, 5-0 as a professional and now Strikeforce bantamweight champion. Rousey already has that trait.