Miesha Tate isn’t counting Holly Holm out against Cristiane Justino. In fact, Tate believes the former bantamweight champion might be the most intriguing stylistic matchup out there for “Cyborg.”
Holm will challenge for Justino’s featherweight crown at UFC 219 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Dec. 30. The 32-year-old Brazilian has been a wrecking machine for the duration of her career, earning 16 of her 18 triumphs via knockout or technical knockout. That includes a trio of victories in the Octagon.
“Of anybody that I can think to fight Cyborg to right now, that has the best chance, I honestly, truly believe that it’s Holly,” Tate said during a recent appearance on MMA Tonight on Sirius XM Rush.
“The reason I say that is, if Cyborg cannot get ahold of Holly, if she recklessly chases her down - similar to how Ronda [Rousey] did, not using the correct angles - if she follows her like a missile - which she does in every fight I’ve ever seen before. That’s how she hunts girls down because she can. With Holly, that’s not a good idea. She can cut through those angles. She’s an amazing counter striker and if she lands that head kick, I think she can put anybody away. So stylistically, this makes for a really, really interesting fight.”
The fight which Tate references, of course, is Holm’s landmark victory over Rousey at UFC 193. At the time, Rousey was considered unbeatable force until she was confounded by Holm’s ability to counter effectively in their November 2015 meeting. Ultimately, Rousey was felled by a Holm head kick and follow-up punches 59 seconds into the second round, ending her 12-bout unbeaten streak.
Tate would face Holm next, and she claimed the 135-pound belt with a rear-naked choke of the Jackson-Wink MMA product 3:30 into the fifth round of their UFC 196 clash. Prior to the finish, Tate had a difficult time implementing her wrestling against the former boxing champion. “Cupcake” acknowledges that Justino will have a strength advantage at UFC 219, but getting to use that against Holm can be easier said than done.
“If Cyborg gets ahold of her and throws her down to the ground, obviously Holly’s in trouble. She’s in big trouble. But I can truly attest to how amazing Holly’s footwork is and just how difficult she is to get ahold of, how hard it is to do that. You really have to throw everything to the wayside just to try to grab her. I think I got two takedowns on her in our five rounds and I’m smaller. I think I’m a little speedier than Cyborg is even. Cyborg’s really, really strong but she’s not necessarily the fastest woman in the world. She doesn’t tend to shoot a lot out in the open so I think to press Holly against the cage or to overwhelm Holly is going to be a difficult task, I really do.”
.@MieshaTate tells @RJcliffordMMA & @OfficialAJHawk that Holly Holm right now has the best chance out of anyone in women's #MMA to beat Cris Cyborg, that Cyborg's usual strategy needs to be adjusted for this fight, & that if Holm connects with the right leg kick she'll get the W. pic.twitter.com/Ti2so9BwbQ— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) November 22, 2017