The second-ever UFC female fight is this weekend. Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano will try to show the UFC audience that there is more talent beyond Ronda Rousey.
To make this bout even more important, the winner will join Rousey as a coach on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter. Then they will battle for the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship later in 2013.
Tate currently ranked first in the UFC rankings, and Zingano stands fourth. This important fight will deliver an exciting contest on Saturday night.
Here is a look at the Tate vs. Zingano matchup.
Neither woman will blow you away with their striking. They are grapplers.
Regardless, all fights start standing and they may choose to test each other on the feet instead of where their strengths lay.
If they choose to strike it probably won't be the most technical affair you have ever witnessed, but it will likely be entertaining. Both of these women come forward. They don't back down. That could make for an exciting slugfest.
I have to give Tate a slight advantage in the stand-up. She isn't the most proficient, but she has been in the cage against better strikers such as Marloes Coenen and survived. She will continue to improve both offensively and defensively which will make it hard for Zingano to score standing.
The true matchup in this fight is the ground battle.
Tate is a decent wrestler with good submission skills and Zingano is a jiu-jitsu specialist.
If Tate gets the takedown, don't expect her to submit to Zingano. It is a possibility, but certainly not the likely outcome. Tate would have to grind out a win from top, and fight off Zingano's submission attempts from bottom.
If Zingano can execute one of her trips from the clinch she will be in a great position to pull off the mild upset. She has good ground and pound, and better submissions. She has the tools to put Tate away, but this is a closely contested category. The edge goes to Zingano for being the one more likely to finish.
Tate's X-Factor: Experience
Tate is used to fighting in big shows and against quality competition. This is nothing new for her.
Zingano never got to make her Strikeforce debut and was never put on a big stage like she will be on Saturday night. This is a significant advantage for Tate.
Tate has been in fights against the elite in the division. She has faught Kaufman, Coenen, and Rousey. She will have to respect Zingano's skills, but they will not be anything new or better than what she has previously faced.
Zingano's X-Factor: Getting the Takedown
Zingano will have to put Tate on her back at some point in this fight in order to win. Can she do it?
"Alpha" has decent trips from the clinch. If she puts Tate down it will likely be from that move. Tate is the better wrestler of the two so shooting a double or single won't be all that effective. She needs to close the distance and get a hold of the former champion.
Zingano needs to make Tate uncomfortable.
This is a close matchup. The winner will be who can dictate where the fight takes place.
I think that will be Tate.
Tate's wrestling will allow her to keep the fight standing, or to take Zingano down. It will force Zingano to react to Tate instead of being the aggressor. That will be the difference.
Over the course of 15 minutes Tate will score more on the judge's scorecards than Zingano. She will have her hands raised and get the rematch she desperately wants. And if March of 2012 is any indication, the next season of The Ultimate Fighter will be can't-miss television.
Prediction: Tate defeats Zingano by unanimous decision