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Miesha Tate is one fight removed from being a Strikeforce champion. At 25 years old, she could also play a major role in the future growth of women's MMA. With the current lack of depth in the women's bantamweight division, Tate could even be one impressive win away from earning a rematch with Ronda Rousey or Sarah Kaufman for the Strikeforce title.
Yes, Tate had her arm mangled by Rousey in less than one round in March. However, prior to the fight-ending submission, Tate gave Rousey the toughest test she has had thus far in MMA. Even if they felt strongly the outcome would be the same, fans would line up to see a Rousey-Tate rematch.
Nonetheless, Tate finds herself competing against Julie Kedzie on Showtime Extreme during the preliminary card of Saturday's event. This should not be the case.
Strikeforce has elected to include fighters such as Lumamba Sayers, Anthony Smith, Ovince St. Preux and T.J. Cook on Saturday's main card. The promotion wants to put these fighters on display as future contenders. That is clear, but they are doing so at a significant cost.
In the male divisions, there is a clear decline in talent between UFC and Strikeforce fighters. Casual fans tuning in to see elite male fighters have been shrugging off Strikeforce events ever since the promotion was purchased by Zuffa. However, in some ways, Strikeforce can still be considered the "major leagues" for female fighters.
Given the right matchups and proper promotion, it has been proven that female bouts can draw significant audiences. If Strikeforce continues subjecting its top female contenders to preliminary cards, though, fans will have no reason to be excited about the opponents who Rousey competes against and the promotion will lose its competitive advantage in women's MMA to an organization like Invicta.