UFC 197: Dos Anjos vs McGregor Date: March 5, 2016 Location: Las Vegas, Nevada Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena Broadcast: PPV UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm Holly Holm is one of the most successful female boxers in history, being a longtime light welterweight and welterweight champion, and even holding titles as high as 154lbs. Her boxing record was 33-2-3 when she retired from the sport in 2012 to focus on MMA (which she had debuted in the previous year). Despite her boxing credentials, Holm’s kicking game has proven to be her most dangerous weapon, as six of her seven career finishes have come as a result of her legs, including her incredible knockout of Ronda Rousey this past November. Her striking background also gives Holm an advantage when setting up angles and fighting at range with more inexperienced opposition. Holm has parlayed those attributes into a 10-0 record including a 3-0 start to her UFC career. Holm is taking a risk by defending her crown against Tate now rather than waiting for a monster payday against Rousey later this year, but she wants to stay active as a fighting champion. UFC Women’s Bantamweight Contender Miesha Tate A Strikeforce bantamweight champion at 25 years old, Miesha “Cupcake” Tate (17-5) shocked the world when she submitted Marloes Coenen at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson to win the belt. Tate has great takedowns, an extremely good chin and is willing to brawl or take the fight to the ground. She also has decent size and holds great power, making her a difficult matchup for just about anyone in the bantamweight division. Other than Holm, Tate is the only other woman to give former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey a decent run for her money before becoming one of many victims to the champ’s famous armbar submission, losing her Strikeforce title at the end of the first round and the rematch in the third round. Since the second loss to Rousey, Tate has reeled off four straight wins against contenders and former title challengers like Sara McMann, Liz Carmouche and most recently Jessica Eye. UFC 197 Opening Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened Holm a -400 favorite (bet $400 to win $100) with Tate a +310 underdog (bet $100 to win $310) at 5Dimes Sportsbook via ESPN, and the line is yet to move. Holm was a huge underdog in her last fight against Rousey, opening over +900, so it will be interesting to see how she handles the roles being reversed here. As far as the actual fight goes, I find it eerily similar to Holm’s last fight against Rousey, except Tate doesn’t present as much of an explosive finishing threat. Tate has improving power on the feet and her wrestling will be the big focal point of this bout, but as long as Holm can utilize proper footwork and distance like in the Rousey bout, she should be able to connect solidly due to Tate’s poor striking defense. Tate has also been hurt several times in fights and if Holm can connect flush with any of her head kicks, it could be lights out for “Cupcake.”
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