Hey fans! It’s Christmas time! Why are you reading about the fight game right now?
Well, if you’re like me, you’ve got your duties cared for, so why not?
Chestnuts are roasting on the open fire and yes, Jack Frost is nipping at my nose. I’ve got the turkey in the oven, the misteltoe to make the season bright, etc. (Admittedly, Marvin Gaye sings it better than I. Have a listen!)
So, let’s take a minute and look ahead. Let’s talk about this Saturday’s UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2… or rather, let’s go a step further and talk about what could happen after UFC 168.
As mentioned last week, UFC 168 is a late (and unlikely) contender for biggest show of 2013. In addition to the main event which sees Chris Weidman defending his UFC Welterweight title against Anderson Silva, the evening features the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship showdown between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate.
A rematch from their Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight title match last year, the bout between Tate and Rousey will bring one of the ugliest grudges in MMA history to its largest stage.
On the night of their first match, a war of words ended in a first round armbar victory for Rousey.
Fans received a closer look at Rousey and Tate as they coached opposite each other on the eighteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Tate reversed her fortune, earning a sympathetic fan base and sweeping the competition. For her part, Rousey has publicly sulked at her portrayal on the show.
So, Tate has some momentum as far as the fans are concerned. Unfortunately, she isn’t being taken so seriously by odds-makers, who have Rousey a huge favorite — as much as (-1100).
Maybe it’s the spirit of the Season talking, but I think both parties could be right.
Let me explain. Looking at the bout on paper, Tate would seem to be at a big disadvantage, and has her back to the wall this Saturday. She’s coming off a TKO loss to another contender in Cat Zingano. Last year, she was finished by the champion in one round.
Setting paper aside — well, Tate’s back isn’t near the wall.
That great showing on TUF has fans on her side more than ever. Whether or not she contends for a title again, she will have a fan base interested in seeing her fight.
Tate’s bouts are generally exciting and she’s got a solid all-around skill set. Known for her wrestling, Tate won the standup exchange with Rousey before the bout hit the mat, and recorded submission victories against the likes of fellow pioneers Marloes Coenan and Judie Kedzie.
The UFC’s women’s division is still in its infancy and Tate is sorely needed to bring the division some glamor. If Tate loses — even if she loses big — expect to see more from this dependable, solid-as-a-rock contender in years to come.
Tomorrow, we’ll have a look at the opposite scenario. In the meantime, let us know what you think happens next for Tate, if Ronda Rousey’s hand is raised Saturday night.