Armchair Matchmaker

Matching up Miesha Tate

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Miesha Tate returned in style at UFC Vegas 31 with a performance of the night winning finish over Marion Reneau. After almost a five year layoff due to a ‘retirement’, Tate returned and looked as good as she’s ever looked. The former champion suffered two straight losses to Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington before hanging the gloves up and taking a hiatus from the sport in 2016. Now that she’s back, however, and seemingly hunting for the belt, ‘Cupcake’ needs a new opponent. We look at some of the options for one of the pioneers of women’s MMA.

Matching up Miesha Tate

Holly Holm

This is one that we’d all be interested in. Two former foe’s going at it again in what could be seen as a #1 contenders fight. 

The pair first met back at UFC 196 and had their brilliant fight overshadowed when Nate Diaz defeated Conor McGregor. Holly Holm did well in the fight, managing to play the matador whenever Tate would shoot a takedown. Well… this tactic worked for the first round, however, in the second, Tate was able to get the takedown early and dominate Holm on the floor. 4:30 was the total control time for Tate, 29-1 on the strikes count, a 10-8 wouldn’t be unreasonable.

After four unsuccessful takedown attempts during rounds three and four, Tate got the fight to the floor in the final round. With a little over a minute and a half left in the fight, Tate put Holm to sleep to capture the belt.

LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 5: (R-L) Miesha Tate submits Holly Holm during their women’s bantamweight championship bout during the UFC 196 in the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The rematch seems like a viable option. Holm is coming off a big, dominant win over Irene Aldana in October and has been struggling with injuries that have forced her out of recent bouts. She’s favoured the wrestling realm much more often in recent years and has been successful with it, notching two straight wins. At 39, Holm needs a title fight soon if she is to continue to be a contender at 135lbs.

Aspen Ladd

There’s certainly a caveat to this one. If Aspen Ladd can get through Macy Chiasson this weekend, she could welcome Miesha Tate back to the top five of the division. Ladd is 9-1 in her career and has only suffered defeat in a flash, 16 second knockout at the hands of Germaine de Randamie. Prior to this, she dominated each and every opponent she faced, notching two finishes in three UFC victories.

Ladd vs. Tate would be an interesting one as both women have a similar style. Hang for as long as necessary on the feet before shooting for a takedown and working the ground game. Ladd tends to favour the ground and pound style of top control, only gaining one submission on her record back in 2015. This is the opposite to Tate, who looks for submissions whenever possible. The former champion holds seven submission wins in 19 wins, most notably against Holm. She also captured the Strikeforce bantamweight title via submission in 2011.

Tate would certainly hold the experience advantage over Ladd. The former champion had 21 professional fights, including multiple title fights before Ladd even made her professional debut. She’s eight years older than Ladd and has had much more high level experience. A win for Ladd, however, could highlight a changing of the guard at 135lbs.

Irene Aldana

If the UFC really do want to give Miesha Tate a title push, a fight against #4 Irene Aldana makes sense. Aldana is 6-2 in her last eight fights, impressing with three finishes. Most recently, she brutally finished Yana Kunitskaya with some brilliant boxing. Yes, she lost to Holly Holm in her first main event slot, however, you’re only as good as your last fight and Aldana impressed massively in her last outing.

Aldana is one of the few top contenders who is yet to face the champion, Amanda Nunes. The UFC are clearly keen to give Nunes new contenders because as it stands, she’s wiping out the entire division. Don’t be surprised to see Aldana matched with Nunes next (if the champion gets through challenger, Julianna Pena). Lima is coming off just one victory and has gained a title shot, so Aldana could do the same.

That being said, a victory over Tate would solidify Aldana as the next title challenger. The Mexican holds the advantage on the feet with her much superior boxing skills. On the other hand, Tate holds the advantage in the wrestling realm. This would be a classic striker vs. grappler match-up. 

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Frazer Krohn has been with MMASucka for nearly 5 years. He is the host of the MMASucka podcast, which is released every Monday. He's the author of a series of six books about MMA, which were published in 2023.

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