Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey – Preview & Event Coverage
By Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester
We’re seeing less and less Strikeforce events these days. Thanks in part to ZUFFA, whose biggest draw is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and some may see the buyout of Strikeforce as a way to shut down the competition. Whichever the case may be, Strikeforce nonetheless still puts on stellar shows when they can and this weekend’s Tate vs. Rousey card should draw a lot of mixed martial arts fan’s attention after all the smack talk and hype between the women in the main event.
In the main event, Miesha Tate (12-2) and Ronda Rousey (4-0) square off in the cage for the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championship and will put an end to the verbal abuse between the two. After campaigning for a championship fight with Miesha Tate just because she believed people would want to see it, Ronda Rousey finally got her wish; albeit with many people questioning rather or not she deserved it over more accomplished fighters like Sarah Kaufman. Only 4-0 in her mixed martial arts career, and this fight with Tate being her first professional fight at 135 lbs. many wonder if Rousey deserves a title shot.
Nevertheless, the 25-year-old judoka and Olympian was able to convince the fans that this was the fight they wanted to see. Despite not shying away from any chagrin she may have received leading up to this fight due to the way in which she hyped the fight, she’s ready to go five rounds with the champ, who in her last fight became the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight champion by taking a page out of her opponent Marloes Coenen’s book and submitting her in the 4th round. Tate and Rousey match up rather nicely, as both are accomplished grapplers.
Rousey will come into the fight with more experience in judo. But where she has the experience in judo, Tate will have the experience in submissions as she has scored 5 submissions in 14 bouts. In the end, it will ultimately come down to who has the greater sense of control on the ground, as it is without a doubt that the match will eventually go there. That is where the fight will be decided.
In the Co-Main event, Josh Thomson (18-4) returns from another injury to face the ex-pro boxer K.J. Noons (11-4). Thomson was once one of the best Lightweights in the world and is still considered a standout in the Strikeforce ranks, but injuries have sidelined him for 14 months. Thomson holds notable wins over Rob McCullough, Hermes Franca, Duane Ludwig, Gesias Cavalcante, and current Strikeforce Lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. In the other corner, after struggling with back-to-back losses, K.J. Noons fought Billy Evangelista to a unanimous decision. This will be a great match-up in the striking department, as K.J. Noons had an accomplished boxing career and all but 3 of his 11 wins have come by knockout. His most glaring weakness is his takedown defense and his ground game. This is where Josh Thomson will have the edge. Thomson will not be afraid to trade punches with K.J. Noons. However, he will likely look to take Noons out of his element and bring the fight to ground at some point and look for submissions, as Noons is weakest on the ground. Look for the fight to stay standing early until Thompson attempts to bring the fight to ground and grab for submissions.
Also on the main card is a fight between Paul Daley (29-11-2) and Kazuo Misaki (24-11-1). Despite weight issues and his last two losses in Strikeforce, Paul Daley is still a fan favorite. Coming into this fight with a two fight winning streak over Jordan Radev and Luigi Fioravanti, Semtex will face a veteran in the sport in Kazuo Misaki who has fought some big names in his mixed martial arts career. A former Pride Grand Prix winner, Kazuo Misaki may have a hard time standing with Paul Daley as it is no doubt what is on his Paul Daley’s mind. Daley will look to swing leather and knock out his opponent in stunning fashion. He has very little interest in going to the ground and Misaki will have to do what he has done in the past against other heavy-handed opponents and that is pepper him with shots from a distance, and avoiding “Semtex’s” hands. Misaki will have to counter Daley’s punches if he hopes to survive, and somehow get a hold of a limb and look for a submission if standing and banging with Daley does not work in his favor.
Prior to that fight fans will see the former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza (14-3-1), makes his return after losing his title to Luke Rockhold. Originally signed to fight Derek Brunson, Souza will now face Superior Cage Combat Middleweight champion Bristol Marunde (15-6). Marunde is taking a huge step up in competition. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker announced the fight via Twitter on February 22, which gives Marunde only nine days to make weight. He will be fighting on extreme short notice, but Marunde will bringing into the fight a four-fight winstreak, who despite his short career has a decent number of submission victories. But he’ll be facing one of the best submission grapplers in the business today in ‘Jacare’ Souza. Despite putting on a dull and lackluster performance in his last outing, Souza is still the favorite to the win the match-up against the newcomer Marunde. Souza is definitely looking to raise his stock with an impressive victory.
On the final fight of the main card, Scott Smith (17-9) will take on Lumumba Sayers (5-2). This will likely be a swan song goodbye for Scott Smith if he does not pick up an impressive victory. Suffering a three fight losing streak usually gives a fighter his or her walking papers, but good old Scott Smith always come to fight, despite being on the wrong end of knockout punches. He’ll have to put on a performance similar to his famous comeback victory over Pete Sell in the UFC, because Lumumba Sayers will definitely look to submit Smith. Four of his five victories have come via submission, and Scott Smith has already suffered some tough submission losses. So, Smith will want to keep this fight standing as much as possible and look to end it rather quickly, while Sayers will hope to take the fight to the ground and submit Smith as fast as he can, as none of Sayers fights have gotten out of the first round.
The night will end a rivalry of words between two Bantamweight women fighters, mark the returns of ‘Jacare’ Souza and Josh Thompson, and aim to amaze mixed martial arts fans around the world. Check in to Showtime on March 3 for Strikeforce – Tate vs. Rousey for a spectacular night of fights.
Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey – Final Card
Main Card (Showtime):
Strikeforce Banatmweight Championship:
Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey
K.J. Noons vs. Josh Thomson
Paul Daley vs. Kazuo Misaki
Bristol Marunde vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Lumumba Sayers vs. Scott Smith
Preliminary Card (Showtime Extreme):
Alexis Davis vs. Sarah Kaufman
Caros Fodor vs. Pat Healy
Ryan Couture vs. Conor Heun
Roger Bowling vs. Brandon Saling
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