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UFC 197 Could Be Miesha Tate’s Last Chance at UFC Gold

Friday, January 15, 2016

 

The time just never seemed right for Miesha Tate; the fighter many thought was the second best in the world at her weight class. Tate had bested nearly everyone she faced with only a few notable exceptions, including one very dominant champion. Even after going on another dominant win streak and being publicly told she had the next title shot somehow she lost the opportunity. It seemed that Tate was destined to wait for her third crack at Ronda Rousey. However, things change, champions lose, and Rousey is no exception. After losing her title to Holly Holm, Rousey unknowingly kicked the door open for Miesha “Cupcake” Tate. 

Many expected Ronda Rousey to be granted an immediate rematch after her loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193. It seemed almost perfect timing for a rematch that would headline UFC 200 and give the fans a show worth paying for. This idea seemed almost too good to be true and as it turned out, it was. Reports began to come in that Rousey was injured. Some reports said she had a broken jaw, others said she was unable to eat solid foods due to her teeth being loose. Yet steadfast and full of moxie, UFC president Dana White assured the public that Rousey would be ready to fight and there was no reason for Holm to fight before their eventual rematch. Holm and her camp publicly disagreed. The new titleholder seemed destined to be a fighting champion. She didn’t want to wait for fights; she wanted to put the gloves on and compete. When asked who she thought she’d like to fight, the first name out of Holm’s mouth was Miesha Tate. 

Now I’m not saying I am the only one who wanted to see this fight happen, but I am saying I called for this back in November (see the article here). Here is why this fight is interesting. If you go back and watch Tate’s last eight fights, starting with her first loss to Rousey, you will see progression. Tate is 5-3 over that span but she has shown improvement in many areas that she was known for having deficiencies. Her wrestling, which was always stellar, has improved as well. Early in her career, Tate would often try and force takedowns when they were not available and she relied on them to keep control. Today’s Miesha Tate uses transitions and chain takedowns much better; additionally her level changes off strikes have improved tremendously. She is throwing more combinations that end with takedown attempts and it seems to be keeping her opponents guessing. Tate’s strikes have improved as well. She showed just how effective she is as a striker in her last fight against Jessica Eye. While Eye took control of the striking early, Tate adjusted to the footwork and length of Eye and overcame what many believed would be a disadvantage on the feet. As the fight wore on, Tate put on display just how far she has come on the feet as she used her counter punching and kicks to take the fight where she wanted. Eye was unable to adjust to the feints, short combinations, and takedowns that seemed to come so fluidly for Tate. 

The one area that I didn’t notice major improvements in Tate’s game over the last eight fights was her submissions. However, submissions have never been a huge problem for Tate; she’s solid on the mat. Tate has six submission wins to her credit and over her twenty-two fights has only been submitted twice and those were both against, you guessed it, Ronda Rousey. There is no shame in getting submitted by Rousey, but what we did see was improvement in submission defense between the two fights. Tate’s second shot against Rousey was a bit sloppy compared to what we might see now, but it did allow the world to see someone escape a Rousey submission attempt on multiple occasions. 

With all that hard work behind her, Tate must focus in on the task at hand, a UFC bantamweight title shot against Holly Holm at UFC 197. Holm posses a huge threat to just about everyone in the division and Tate is no exception. Holm is clearly the best striker Tate will have ever faced. She uses her footwork to set up long strikes that are often capped off by powerful kicks. Her movement can frustrate fighters who want to get inside on the longer, more powerful fighter. As I mentioned earlier, Tate had to deal with some of these very issues when she recently faced off against Jessica Eye. That being said, it is important to point out that Holm is going to be much stronger than Eye and it is unlikely that she will go down quite as easily. Tate needs to find a way to cut off the movement of Holm, slowing her down and making her work harder to escape clinch positions. While Tate might not be able to stop Holm from getting away, it will only work in Tate’s favor, as Holm will likely slow a bit in the later rounds. Beyond that the one weapon that people might not think about is the power of Tate. She has been able to drop, stun, or knockout many of her foes. While she didn’t get hit too often against Rousey, she has been known to back out of striking exchanges by moving straight back, leaving her chin exposed. If Tate can some how land clean, it might spell disaster for the newly crowned champ.  

Miesha Tate has come a long way from her days as a high school state champion wrestler in Washington. She has built herself into a fighter who many believe has the tools to be a champion. Now four years after her last shot at UFC gold, she is set to make what could be her last chance at the belt a successful one. Tate is going to need all the skills she has worked on over that time to be crisp as she is facing, in my opinion, the most well rounded opponent she has ever stood across from in the cage.           

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

Related Slideshow: Oregon’s Most Devastating Sports Injuries

Here is GoLocalPDX's list of Oregon's most devastating injuries that have occured within the past 10 years.

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Greg Oden

Sept. 2007 — Micro fracture surgery on right knee

Dec. 2009 — Fractured left patella 

Nov. 2010 — Micro fracture surgery on left knee

Dec. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on right knee

Unfortunately, Trail Blazer fans everywhere already know how drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant worked out for their team. After being be the #1 selection in the 2007 NBA Draft, Oden was never able to play a full season due to ongoing knee injuries. The team eventually waived him in March of 2012.

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Dennis Dixon

Nov. 2007 — Torn left ACL

During the 2007 season Dixon had the Oregon Ducks as the #2 team in the country. That was until he suffered a torn ACL against Arizona State and attempted to play on it the following week against Arizona. After Dixon went down for the season the Ducks lost their remaining two regular season games. Fortunately, they were able to end their season on a high note with a victory over South Florida in the 2007 Sun Bowl.

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Brandon Roy

Sept. 2008 — Cartilage removed from left knee

April 2010 — Meniscus tear in right knee

Jan. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on both knees

Brandon Roy is perhaps one of the most beloved Trail Blazers in the history of the franchise. After being drafted in 2006, and leading the team out of the "Jail-Blazer" era, he had to make the tough decision to retire at the young age of 28. His degenerative knees prevented Rip City from seeing their superstar ever play to his full potential.

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Jacquizz Rodgers

Nov. 2008 — Grade II separation of the acromioclavicular joint

During the second to last game in 2008 Jacquizz Rodgers suffered a separated shoulder that ended his season. Unfortunately, this meant that he wasn't able to play in the Civil War, which was perhaps the biggest game of the year for the Beavers. If the Beavers had been able to defeat the Ducks they would've been able to book their tickets to play in the Rose Bowl. Instead, they went to the Sun Bowl where they defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers.

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James Rodgers

Oct. 2009 — Torn left ACL

After participating in only 4 games during the 2009 season Rodgers went down with a torn ACL while playing against #9 Arizona. This couldn't have come at a worse time for Rodgers considering he was expected to have a breakout season. Rodgers, who was a senior at the time, was able to end his career at Oregon State as the career leader in all-purpose yards.

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Joel Pryzbilla

Dec. 2009 — Ruptured right patella tendon and dislocated patella

In December of 2009 the Trail Blazers' backup center, Joel Pryzbilla, was lost for the season with a ruptured and dislocated patella. This was a huge blow to the Trailblazers' frontcourt because they had already lost Oden for the season a few weeks before. Pryzbilla was also the team's defensive anchor who provided an inside presence. "The Vanilla Gorilla" was sorely missed for the rest of the year.

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LaMichael James

Oct. 2011 — Dislocated right elbow

The 2011 season couldn't have started any better for LaMichael James. After the first game James became Oregon's career rushing leader, surpassing Derek Loville. During the second game he rushed for over 200 yards against Missouri State. Unfortunately, James' year was slowed by a dislocated elbow suffered against Cal. Luckily for Duck fans he was able to return to end the season.

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Nate Costa

Nov. 2010 —Torn Right ACL

After suffering a multitude of knee injuries throughout his career at Oregon Costa was forced to officially retire from football after tearing his ACL for the third time in agame against Washington. Although Costa's career was hobbled by injuries many of his teammates looked to him as their leader. Oregon's coaching staff referred to Costa as the "heart and soul" of the 2010 team that won the Rose Bowl.

Photo via Addictedtoquack (image cropped)
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Sean Mannion

Oct. 2012 — Torn Left Meniscus

During the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, Sean Mannion was enjoying one of his best as a Beaver. Unfortunately, he tore his left meniscus against Washington State that resulted in him missing around half the season. With Mannion leading the way the Beavers had the Pac-12's fourth rated offense, averaging 459.5 yeards per game. With Mannion sidelined Cody Vaz became the starting quarterback

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Marcus Mariota

Oct. 2013 — Partial MCL Tear

Marcus Mariota is widely regarded as one of the greatest Oregon Duck quarterbacks to ever play at Autzen. Unfortunately a knee injury hobbled his sophomore season. After Mariota suffered a partial MCL tear against UCLA he conintued to play the remainder of the season. With Mariota's knee not allowing him to be as mobile as he was accustomed to teams were able to take advantage. In the weeks following the injury the Ducks suffered losses to Stanford and Arizona. Duck fans everywhere would like to know what that season woud've loked like if Mariota had stayed healthy.

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CJ McCollum

Oct. 2013 — Broken fifth Metatarsal In Left Foot

After being taken 10th overall during the 2013 NBA Draft the shooting guard out of Lehigh wasn't able to start his career the way many had hoped. After breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot the rookie wasn't able to take the court until January of 2014. Before the injury McCollum was in consideration for playing time behind Lillard. 

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Alex Morgan

Oct. 2013 — Stress reaction in talus bone

During the 2013 season Morgan suffered an injury that doctors misdiagnosed as a mildly sprained ankle. After a few additional tests were performed it turned out that Morgan had suffered a far more serious injury. She actually suffered a stress reaction in the talus bone that put her immediate future with Team USA in question. After rehabbing for 7 months Morgan was able to make a full recovery.

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Bralon Addison

April 2014 — Torn left ACL

After exceeding expectations as a freshman and sophomore at the University of Oregon Addison was expecting big things from his junior year. Unfortunately, Addison suffered a torn ACL during last year's spring practice that kept him sidelined the entire year. Without Addison in the lineup the receiving core never lived up to their full potential. If he had been able to play this season the National Championship may have wielded a different outcome.

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Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Dec. 2014 — Torn ACL

In preparation for the first ever college football playoffs Ekpre-Olomu ended up tearing his ACL during a routine practice. This was a huge blow to the Ducks considering Ekpre-Olomu was one of the team's better defenders. He was also one of the best corners in the country who many analysists expected to be selected as high as the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

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Wesley Matthews

March 2015 — Torn left achilles

Just 2 months before Matthews suffered a torn achilles he had become the Trailblazers' all-time leader in 3-point field goals made. It looked as though the Trailblazers were poised to make a deep playoff run. Things took a drastic turn when Matthews was lost for the season. With the team in a 0-2 hole against the Memphis Grizzlies it doesn't look as though they will be making it to the second round of the playoffs this year.

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