Miesha Tate had to wait for her Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title shot, but made the most of it, submitting Marloes Coenen to obtain the women’s 135-pound title at Strikeforce & M-1: Fedor vs. Henderson the Sears Centre outside of Chicago on Saturday.
Tate earned her shot at the title by winning the one-night Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight Tournament. The weight class was recently re-categorized as bantamweight. She was scheduled to face Coenen for the title in March but had to withdraw due to a knee injury suffered in training.
They don’t call her “Takedown” Tate for nothing. She drew on her wrestling ability to constantly pressure the champion throughout the fight.
In the opening round, Tate quickly closed the distance and got to the clinch position. Coenen separated only to be clinched again. Tate secured a single-leg takedown, but Coenen applied a guillotine choke. Tate escaped and advanced to side control. She maintained control throughout the rest of the round, but was unable to inflict any damage.
Tate utilized the same strategy to start the second round by immediately clinching. The champion obtained a takedown and took Tate’s back and spent the rest of the round softening up the challenger with punches while looking to secure a rear naked choke.
Coenen began to open up her striking in the third stanza, landing several leg kicks. Tate caught one of them, though, and pushed forward for the takedown. After being unable to advance the position, referee “Big” John McCarthy stood the fighters up. Tate quickly got Coenen back to the canvas. Coenen swept Tate in the closing seconds but likely lost the round.
They stood and struck for the first minute of the fourth round before Tate shot for and obtained a takedown where she advanced to side control. Tate changed sides, locking on an arm-triangle choke forcing Coenen to tap out to become the new Strikeforce women’s welterweight titleholder.
“Marloes is no joke. I had a good start to my training camp. A rough finish, but that’s what makes the heart of a champion right there, tough times. Tough times really make you tougher,” said the new champion following the fight.
The win was the first time Coenen had been submitted in her career and Tate said she couldn’t have asked for anything better.
“Most of her wins are by submission. She’s never been submitted. That’s what I came here to do tonight,” she said.
Tate will face former titleholder Sarah Kaufman in her first title defense in a rematch, hoping to avenge one of her two previous loses.
“That’s the best thing I could ask for, the second best thing. You know, a chance to avenge a loss.”
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