The Blueprint 3.01.12: Twisted Steel and Sex Appeal
Posted by Patrick Mullin on 03.01.2012
On Saturday night Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey will wage war in the hottest title fight in MMA history. But don't let the pretty faces fool you, these ladies are the real deal in the cage. Will Tate "Takedown" the Rowdy One? Will Ms. Rousey collect one more arm and a title belt to go with it? We have the answer for you as usual here in The Blueprint!
Hello once again friends and fans The Blueprint is here and we're presenting the best looking edition this column has ever seen. Why? Because our subjects are two beautiful girls with some serious skills. These girls are indeed a combination of twisted steel and sex appeal and these beauties are looking to go into beast mode once the bell rings to start the fight. We previewed the fight a bit on 411 Ground and Pound Radio this weekend, which airs every Sunday morning at 11 am EST. Once again the number to call in is (323) 657-0901 so feel free to join in the discussions with our expert panel. As is customary we'll start with the challenger.
"Rowdy" Ronda Rousey
Height: 5'6 Reach: 66 inches Record: 4 Wins (4 Submission) 0 Losses Years Pro: 2 Years Strengths: High-level Judo background, physical strength, armbar, balance and leverage
Ronda Rousey's Keys to Victory
1) The Armbar - Ronda Rousey has won all four of her professional fights and all three of her amateur bouts in the same manner, locking in the armbar and forcing a submission. This is not a coincidence. Rousey is incredibly proficient with her execution of this hold as are most high-level judokas. The strength of this hold as opposed to many other judo techniques in a mixed martial arts setting is that the armbar does not require a gi in order to work. This allows a judoka in an MMA fight to use this technique at seemingly any point where as they cannot rely on many instinctual techniques due to not being able to use an opponent's wardrobe for leverage to execute a throw or strangle.
Rousey has shown the capability of locking this hold in from several different positions which shows just how good she is at it. Even if she is unable to lock in the hold perfectly on her first one or two attempts, she'll have put the thought in Tate's mind that the threat of her armbar is ever present as 7 other female mixed martial artists will attest to. Rousey's armbar is similar to say a Chuck Liddell right hand bomb. It can get you from virtually anywhere and you have to be on the lookout for it at all times. Sometimes you'll wind up being so preoccupied by the virtual threat that you'll stop looking out for other successful techniques Rousey has at her disposal and you'll get caught with a throw or a kimura or a choke.
2) Assert Your Size - Ronda Rousey is a naturally bigger woman than Miesha Tate. Rousey's heavily judo-oriented style is one where if you enjoy a size advantage it can be almost impossible to fight against in grappling situations. As such, Rousey should muscle into Tate as is quick as possible and use that size to bully Tate around. Tate is an accomplished grappler but judo's principles of leverage and balance control are designed to fight against Tate's specialty of wrestling. So not only is Miesha fighting Rousey's strength, but the possibility that Rousey will also be using Miesha's own strength against her in order to throw her, trip her, or just to make her carry extra weight to wear her down.
We also haven't seen Ronda in a situation where she's had to use any real striking technique, but getting hit by a naturally bigger opponent is never fun. Miesha can certainly take a good punch but when faced with bigger and stronger opposition you want to limit that as much as possible. Rousey also has very strong thighs and hips which should accentuate the power of her strikes as she turns into them. While she may not have the boxing ability of a Sarah Kaufman power can always wind up being a great equalizer.
3) Start Fast - At this moment Ronda Rousey has yet to have a professional fight go longer than 49 seconds. In four professional fights her total time spent in the cage is two minutes and eighteen seconds. She blitzkriegs her opponents before they have any idea what's going on and takes their arm home. While Tate is a much more experienced and skilled opponent than Ronda's previous victims, she also happens to be a slow starter. Miesha is usually a fighter who likes to take her time to size up her opponent and its wound up costing her against Sarah Kaufman and almost against Marloes Coenen.
Rousey realizes she doesn't get paid by the hour. If she can go into this fight and quickly grab a hold of Miesha's arm and end it then she instantly becomes the biggest deal in female MMA and that's exactly what she wants. Rousey knows that in mixed martial arts competition Tate is much more used to going several rounds and with the experience disadvantage she already gives away she can ill afford to allow Miesha any type of comfort zone. Ronda needs to immediately assert herself as a danger to Tate as soon as the fight starts.
Ronda Rousey's Perfect Strategy - Ronda Rousey needs to get this fight over with quickly. She's never had to go longer than forty nine seconds in a fight so you have to question her conditioning, especially when going against someone capable of fighting five hard rounds. Rousey has to come out quickly and avoid the strikes and potential takedowns of Tate in order to close the distance and clinch. From the clinch she can either work in a throw attempt like an uchi mata or tomoe nage and then try to lock in the jujigatame, or as we know it the armbar. This is her quickest and most effective route to victory against Miesha Tate.
Miesha "Takedown" Tate
Height: 5'6.5 Reach: 64.5 inches Record: 12 Wins (3 KO, 5 Submission, 4 Decision) 2 Losses (1 KO, 1 Decision) Years Pro: 5 Years Strengths: Strong wrestling base, stamina, MMA experience, and ability to absorb punishment
Miesha Tate's Keys to Victory
1) Outlast Her - Miesha Tate's stamina and conditioning are outstanding. They have allowed her on multiple occasions to fight twice in the same night. This is a total contrast to her opponent Ronda Rousey who as we've documented hasn't even gone beyond the first minute of a fight, let alone the first round. Training to fight a five round fight is one thing, but it's the experience of actually doing so that really readies you for going through that process more than anything else. Tate has gone as many as five rounds in a night on two occasions and also went four rounds with Marloes Coenen in her championship victory.
Miesha herself has used a phrase that applies here when speaking about outlasting an opponent, referring to it as "taking them into deep waters and drowning them". Now I understand that just because Rousey hasn't had a long fight doesn't necessarily mean she can't fight for a long period of time. However the proven commodity in that regard is Miesha and she would be wise to use Ronda's inexperience in having to fight for an extended length of time against her. Ronda is also cutting a significant amount of weight for the first time in her MMA career dropping to 135 pounds. She's fought as high as 150 pounds and despite her saying everything to the contrary cutting weight WILL affect her, mainly in the stamina department.
2) Punch Her in the Face - Miesha Tate is not known as a striker. When your nickname is "Takedown" its very indicative of how you intend to fight. However Miesha has trained striking techniques for several years longer than her opponent which would put her at an advantage she's not used to usually having in her fights. Speaking of not being used to things, Rousey's never really been hit in a fight. She usually just rushes her opponent and clinches them against the cage before locking in the armbar and ending the fight. So how well is she going to react when she has to deal with being hit early and often?
The more you show Ronda the difference between a fight and a grappling contest you have to wonder if it will start to discourage her. As great a grappler as Ronda may be with being at the Olympic level, its a whole different world when you're getting punched, kicked, elbowed, and eating knees. People have grappled with Ronda, what they haven't done yet is fought with her. Miesha can show her the difference and by doing so can take the psychological edge in the fight as well. Fighting is really easy until you realize getting hit in the face sucks.
3) Take Her Down - Miesha is at her best when she is living up to her nickname of "Takedown" when she fights. When she uses her wrestling to bring an opponent onto the mat and they're looking up at the lights the fight becomes all-Miesha. Judokas share a trait with wrestlers in that they absolutely do not like being put onto their back. Judo is all about control and when you're not in control it becomes a very frustrating situation. When you add to this that the majority of judo techniques designed to reverse the position or stand back up are gi techniques this becomes an even bigger nightmare for a judoka in a fight.
Judoka's also do not study leg locks by nature and the guillotine is illegal so unless Ronda has really included a heavy amount of jiu jitsu into her training its going to be difficult to fight against the instincts she's built from her several hundred judo matches. This is going to limit what she can do from a disadvantageous position under Miesha to either attack or get back up. Perhaps even if she has included that much BJJ into her training, is she really going to be able to pull it off against a FILA silver medalist who was able to tap out one of the best, if not the best female grappler in MMA in Marloes Coenen? It's not really likely.
Miesha Tate's Perfect Strategy - Miesha is the champion and should conduct herself as such in the fight. Ronda is going to look to take the fight to her, and this will allow Tate to see just exactly what Rousey is going to throw at her. Let Rousey try to unleash her barrage and see if she can keep the pace of it up for more than a minute or even a round. Once you see the first signs of Rousey tiring or slowing down turn the tables on her and force her to fight at a fast pace. Put her on the defensive with strikes to back her up against the cage and then score a double or single leg takedown. At that point she can continue to work Ronda over with strikes to soften her up for a potential submission or simply ground and pound until the fight is either stopped or time expires.
Final Prediction: Ronda Rousey has managed to talk her way into a title fight despite having never fought in the bantamweight division and having only four professional fights against somewhat nondescript opposition. Miesha Tate has fought some of the best pound for pound fighters in female mixed martial arts and beaten them in order to become the bantamweight champion of the premier female mixed martial arts organization, Strikeforce. On paper this fight really shouldn't be competitive and in all honesty I don't think it will be.
I think having to cut a significant amount of weight in her career for the first time is going to really hurt Rousey's already questionable gas tank and her physical strength. Rather than taking a step up fight from the mediocre opposition she's faced, she's going in against one of the best rounded and battle tested female fighters around at the champion's natural fighting weight. I just think Ronda is biting off more than she can chew at this point and that she doesn't have the all around skill set needed to compete with Miesha for a five round title fight. When her only route to victory seems to be a first round armbar that's not very promising.
With Tate you can see a multitude of ways for her to win. She can use her wrestling to keep Ronda grounded and either score a TKO, win on points by control, or set up a submission. She also has the option of using her superior striking pedigree to control the fight when standing and preventing Rousey from getting close and using her throws and trips. I see Miesha just using her superior conditioning, grappling awareness, better striking, and overall superior skill set to weather the early storm from Rousey and take control of the fight before bringing Ronda deep and closing the show via TKO in the third round.
Winner...AND STILL Strikeforce Female Bantamweight Champion, Miesha "Takedown" Tate