The Nationwide Arena hosted a turning point in women's MMA Saturday, with Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey.
Read my previous article; I wasn't a believer. I didn't feel that this card would take women's MMA in the United States to a new level. A day later, I'm starting to fear I was wrong.
The Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey clash for the Women's Bantamweight Championship was quick, but worth the price of admission, and Sarah Kaufman's slugfest with Alexis Davis thrilled the Columbus crowd.
From my vantage point, the women's contests were the top two matches on the card. Most of the non-inebriated, informed fans around me seemed to agree, and I heard constant comments of, "This is a fight!" or, "This is awesome!" for both encounters.
In the earlier women's contest, Kaufman threw everything she had at Davis, but Davis could not be put away. Davis showed a lot of heart, determination and looked like she had a chance to pull off the win late, but it was not meant to be.
Still, Davis won over the crowd and fans booed the decision when Kaufman was announced as the winner.
The fans didn't boo because they disliked Kaufman, and when the Canadian fighter was shown on big screen later in the show, the Nationwide Arena crowd cheered and applauded the victor.
It was great start to a huge day for MMA ladies everywhere.
After the K.J. Noons vs. Josh Thompson match, I sat in my seat gearing up for the main event of the evening, and I noticed a few attendees pack up their belongings and leave the arena. Did they learn nothing from the Kaufman/Davis war in the preliminaries? Why'd they even bother waiting through the Noons/Thompson snoozer if they were going to leave?
Tate vs. Rousey was an even contest for a good portion of the fight. It looked like Tate could out strike Rousey at the beginning, but when "Rowdy" Ronda seemed tired of getting hit, she took Tate down.
Tate escaped Rousey's first armbar attempt and did a good job taking Rousey's back at one point. It looked like the contest was destined to head to the second, which would have been a first for Rousey.
Instead, Rousey hit a judo toss to the mat, and the beginning of the end began. She would mount and eventually finish the fight like she had her previous four—via armbar.
Rousey became a star last night. She backed up her talk, refused to feel bad for the damage done to Tate and the aura surrounding her grew.
So what's next? It seems clear that Kaufman, who many said was the rightful No. 1 contender to Miesha Tate, will battle Rousey. The bout will no doubt headline a future Strikeforce card in the near future.
Women's MMA now has a new top dog, two recent amazing performances to hang their hat on and the attention of fight fans worldwide.
It's only a matter of time before we see these ladies on bigger and bigger stages in the future.
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