Miesha Tate and Julie Kedzie put on a show on Saturday. Their battle will go down as one of the best fights of 2012, and quite possibly the fight of the year.
Former Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion Tate entered looking for an impressive performance that would lead to a rematch against Rousey. Kedzie was trying to put her name back out in the forefront of the bantamweight division.
Kedzie surprised many by opening up an onslaught on Tate in the first round.
She caught Tate with a headkick where her foot connected to the face and hurt Tate. The strike seemed to catch Tate by surprise, and the subsequent strikes from Kedzie shook her confidence. The jovial demeanor from Tate was being beaten out of her by Kedzie.
When Tate recovered and tried to bring the fight to the mat with her wrestler there was Kedzie defending well. The first round went to Kedzie.
Tate was able to rebound in the second round. Kedzie continued to pepper her with shots and defend some takedowns, but the former champion had much more success in the second frame of the fight. All things looked to be even after two rounds of excitement.
Kedzie went back to work in the third round and dropped Tate with a brutal headkick. Her shin connected flush against Tate's face. It looked like the fight was about to end as Kedzie went in for the kill.
Tate proved she was tough as nails as she survived and recovered as Kedzie went to the mat looking for the finish. Then in dramatic fashion, Tate transitioned to an armbar, surprising Kedzie. With the clock ticking away she fought for the submission as Kedzie battled to avoid being tapped.
Kedzie continued to stack Tate while she tried to pry her arm off. When Kedzie was put to the mat she used her foot to keep Tate from completing the submission, but it would not last. Tate finally extended the arm and forced the tap out from Kedzie.
The fight stole the show. It was an instant classic.
Tate showed incredible resolve and heart, and Kedzie put together one of the best performances of her long career.
Seven plus months into the year and we have not seen many battles that can rival what they did at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman. It was a special fight between two warriors.
It likely tops another fight of the year candidate that happened earlier this month. Joe Lauzon and Jamie Varner put on a great fight on the UFC on FOX card earlier in August. While it was a great fight as well, there was something special about Kedzie vs. Tate.
Showtime will be re-airing the preliminary card and showcasing the incredible fight. It marked yet another Strikeforce event where the women stole the show with a dramatic back-and-forth battle.
There are still a lot of fights left to go in 2012, but Kedzie vs. Tate will surely still be in the discussion for fight of the year. Hats off to the two fantastic fighters who left it all in the cage on Saturday.