Rousey-Tate 2 Set After TUF 18, But ‘Cyborg’ Is The Real Challenge

Cyborg SantosThis past week, observers of the growing women’s MMA scene were taken for a twist, as Cat Zingano was replaced by Miesha Tate as a coach on ‘The Ultimate Fighter 18’ due to a knee injury sustained by Zingano. This, of course, means that Ronda Rousey and Tate will have the rematch that the UFC hoped would be scheduled before Zingano got in the way. It is the most marketable fight currently available to the UFC; but there is a bigger fight out there for women’s MMA, and that is the much talked about bout between Rousey and Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino. Justino (formerly Santos) asked to be released from the UFC because of the lack of a 145 lb weight class. With her win over Fiona Muxlow back at Invicta FC 5 in April, she will fight Marloes Coenen for the 145 lb title under the Invicta flag in July. Though Coenen is a veteran who has maintained a fantastic record since her debut back in 2000 and is one of the best female fighters in the world, look for Justino to be a big favorite at the sportsbooks heading into what is a rematch. It took Justino into the 3rd Round before her punches added up and he was able to take Coenen out the first time around. Assuming ‘Cyborg’ wins, she will have one fight remaining on her contract with Invicta. For the UFC’s part, they have been building their women’s roster slowly but surely, with Rousey and Liz Carmouche providing an impressive introduction to the female side of the sport to UFC fans back at UFC 157. The follow-up to that was that ‘Fight of the Night’ performance by Zingano and Tate on ‘The Ultimate Fighter 17’ finale card. Sara McMann also had an impressive UFC debut, while Alexis Davis and Rosi Sexton are set to fight at UFC 161 in Winnipeg. Rousey has proven to be a successful main event fighter, with many calling her one of the UFC’s top 5 draws after her UFC 157 headline win over Liz Carmouche. Rousey will be fighting her coaching counterpart after the conclusion of this season of TUF concludes in December. The line for Rousey-Zingano was issued with Ronda a massive favorite, and expect nothing different when the line comes out for Rousey-Tate 2. Even with a season of TUF, and from now until the end of 2013 to build up other contenders, no one fighter has the appeal of ‘Cyborg’. Look for Justino to earn the Invicta title with her outing against Coenen. With her remaining fight for Invicta, Justino should attempt the cut to 135 lbs, as she has already stated she would be willing to come down to 140 to fight Rousey. Aside from Coenen, there really is not even a fighter that comes to mind to face Justino, so the drop down would let her test the weight cut and establish her dominance in the 135 lb weight class. The bottom line is a lot needs to happen before we see Ronda Rousey versus Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ in the cage together. But until the match is made between the top two women in the world, we are going to see both of them in matches where the line is so wide at the books, that you just can’t bet the fight. Rousey vs ‘Cyborg’ will be an interesting line to see, but more importantly it’s the biggest fight to be made in women’s MMA. Hopefully we get to see it sometime in 2014.

Written by Miguel

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