My analysis on this blog has not been particularly kind to Miesha Tate. I picked Ronda Rousey to beat her (not that I needed to be Nostradamus to make that pick), I picked Cat Zingano to beat her, and I picked Marloes Coenen to beat her. Two out of three ain’t bad I guess.
In this matchup I think I’m finally ready to pick Tate to win a fight, but it’s not because I see her as an overwhelming favorite. Tate is a very flawed fighter, particularly where her striking is concerned. Overall, Tate has landed 167 significant strikes and absorbed 286. She’s been knocked down three times – the only other current UFC women’s fighter to be knocked down even once is Sara McMann, and that just happened two months ago.
It’s clear that Tate needs to land takedowns to win fights. Fortunately, Tate sticks to that game plan relentlessly, constantly pursuing takedowns and submissions. She’ll need that tenacity to beat Liz Carmouche, who profiles as the better overall striker, although striking isn’t her strong suit either.
Like Tate, Carmouche is well known for her wrestling ability and her ground and pound in particular. Her strikes from top position helped her earn stoppage victories over both Jessica Andrade and Jan Finney. She’s landed 12 takedowns in seven fights and at least one against every opponent not named Ronda Rousey.
So who will have the advantage in takedowns when Carmouche faces Tate? It’s almost impossible to say. Both fighters have shown the ability to land takedowns, but neither has shown the ability to defend them. Carmouche has been taken down five times in eight tries, while Tate’s takedown defense is a dismal 23 percent. In Tate’s case, that number is virtually meaningless because almost all of the takedowns landed against her were by Rousey.
The only fair thing to say is that a takedown can go either way – but there is serious evidence to conclude that Tate is the more effective grappler. While Carmouche has landed 12 takedowns and passed guard 20 times, she’s only attempted two submissions in the UFC and Strikeforce. Her opponents have attempted four submissions against her and she’s lost by that method twice, against Rousey and Coenen.
(Moments like this are when I fully appreciate what a terror Rousey has been in this division.)
Tate has to be considered the more effective submissions fighter, and as strange as it might sound, I would point to her second fight against Rousey as evidence. Tate is the only fighter to show any ability to defend Rousey’s submissions – it took some real adaptation by Rousey to figure out how to finish Tate. Tate has won six fights by submission overall, and put a lot of pressure on the ground to opponents like Cat Zingano as well.
I don’t think striking will be much of a factor in this fight, because Tate will make sure it’s not a factor. It’s certainly possible that Carmouche can win the takedown battle and the fight, but since I think Tate is at least equally good at takedowns and better at submissions, I consider her the slight favorite to get the win in this one.
Pick: Miesha Tate by submission