Ronda Rousey is in a bad mood. She hasn’t watched The Ultimate Fighter. She can’t even look at or acknowledge Miesha Tate, as illustrated at last Saturday’s TUF finale. The Ultimate Fighter experience has seemed to benefit Tate and hurt Rousey in the eyes of the public. The UFC bantamweight champion has an opportunity to erase all of that when she steps inside the cage to battle Tate on Saturday, Dec. 28 at UFC 168. In Rousey’s favor, she has already defeated Tate convincingly. Can she do it again? History may be on her side. Since the Rousey fight, Tate struggled, but rallied to submit Julie Kedzie in the third round. Then she was knocked out by Cat Zingano in April of this year. Rousey, on the other hand, submitted Sarah Kaufman and Liz Carmouche, both in the first round, after the Tate fight. Rousey has looked like a champion since the Tate fight, and Tate has fought more losing rounds than winning ones. Can Rousey do it again on the bigger stage inside the UFC, in what will probably be the biggest women’s match of all-time? Here are three things Rousey should do to make sure she defeats Tate again.
3. Close The Distance Rousey may be a one-trick pony, but her trick is pretty good. If she gets close, she takes you down. An Olympic bronze medalist in Judo, Rousey possesses, a wicked clench and judo throw. She took Tate down easily in their first fight and Rousey’s takedowns aren’t soft. Rousey’s strong and determined and her judo throws are hard and vicious. Rousey has been unstoppable when taking her opponent down. The judo throw usually leads to the arm-bar submission attempt. This formula worked the first time. It’s likely to work again. Whatever happens, Rousey can’t trade punches with Tate. In the first fight, her neck was stiff and chin was straight. Rousey has to get inside Tate’s punches. 2. End it Early Rousey doesn’t get paid by the hour. In seven fights she has spent less than 11 minutes inside the cage. Five of her seven fights never made it out of the first minute. Rousey is most dangerous when she strikes quick. Most fighters are willing to spend at least the first minute in a feeling-out process. Not Rousey. She charges, throws and then submits her opponent. Tate will no doubt attempt to keep distance between herself and Rousey, but Rousey needs to charge Tate like a bull and stick to Tate like glue. If she can get her hands around Tate quickly, she will be successful. Rousey already has a huge psychological advantage. Tate knows what can happen if Tate gets close to her. Rousey needs to remind Tate quickly who was boss last time and the sooner she can touch Tate in the fight, the better her chances. 1. Avoid Giving Up Her Back Tate had a chance to win the first fight once she got Rousey’s back. Tate actually had Rousey’s back for more than a minute, but Tate lost her position and Rousey slipped out. Rousey also ran into brief trouble when she gave up her back to Liz Carmouche in February. Carmouche nearly tapped Rousey out with a neck crank. Rousey can’t afford to have Tate on top of her. She needs to be able to see Tate the whole time during the fight. Once Tate gets her back, Rousey is vulnerable to a rear naked choke attempt. She will need to work on her sprawl and monkey roll if Tate gets behind her. Rousey cannot give up her back to the Tate, who is a far better wrestler. Rousey’s formula works for a reason. She should not deviate from it. If Rousey can charge and then judo throw Tate, she will win with another arm-bar submission and probably much quicker than the first fight.