New Strikeforce champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey lived up to her nickname on Saturday night, submitting Miesha Tate with her signature armbar to capture the women’s bantamweight title after a raucous four and a half minutes of action.
Prior to her first Strikeforce main event at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, 25-year-old Rousey engaged in a heated war of words with Tate that culminated in a nose-to-nose standoff at Friday’s weigh-ins.
The pre-fight heat was no gimmick, according to Rousey, who claims she expected Tate to come out swinging.
“That’s part of the reason I tried to get in her head so much before the fight. I felt like if you challenge someone’s womanhood or manhood, they tend to be a lot less tentative and tactical in their matches,” Rousey told Showtime Sports after her victory. “They tend to fight more with their emotions than with strategy. I prefer to fight people like that, so I was glad she was coming at me instead of running away.”
Running away was the furthest thing on the mind of either woman, as the pair threw heavy leather before Tate eventually shot for a takedown. The Olympic judoka countered the maneuver expertly, tossing Tate over her hip and pounding away from top position. Stepping over Tate’s head from side control, Rousey appeared to lock up her go-to technique, only to have the champion slip out of the armbar attempt.
“I felt like I didn’t quite have it. I was trying to scramble and put it together, but she was aware enough to know the right way to turn to get out of it. I didn’t feel very secure with it,” said Rousey. “She impressed me with how savvy she was on the ground, at least with her defense.”
Tate scrambled into Rousey’s guard, eventually taking her back as she attempted to stand. The judo player would escape moments later, however, grabbing a hold of her foe and executing a beautiful head-and-arm throw.
Quickly passing to the mount, Rousey dropped a hailstorm of punches on the prone Tate, who gave up her back and then her arm. Rousey transitioned to the armbar seamlessly, rolling Tate onto her back and extending her appendage to the point of no return. While there was no official word on the end result of the submission, Tate’s elbow appeared to be badly dislocated as she tapped out near the end of round one.
“With the second [armbar], I felt like she would have to give up an arm in order to get out of the position,” said Rousey. “I was sure it was going to work. I wouldn’t have given up such a dominant position unless I was positive that the arm was there.”
Rousey will now likely face former champion Sarah Kaufman, who outpointed Alexis Davis in a bloody rematch to highlight Saturday’s undercard. On the other hand, Tate may be deserving of an immediate rematch after a gutsy effort in defeat. Regardless of who receives the shot, Rousey says she will be ready to defend her new title for the Strikeforce faithful.
“[I’ll do] whatever the fans want,” said Rousey. “If the fans want to see a rematch, or see me fight Sarah Kaufman next, that’s my job, right? I’m the champ now.”