Last week was a pretty busy week for womens mma with not one but two tournaments taking place in a 2 day span. This post will focus on the Strikeforce one night tournament since it was a one and done affair as opposed to the proper 3 month tournament that Bellator is putting on.
The 3 fights that took place were Miesha Tate vs Maiju Kujala – Good old fashioned striker vs grappler, but with 3 mins rounds which turned it into desperate takedown vs desperate takedown defense. Tate used her wrestling to neutralize the kickboxer Kujala and spent the majority of the two poor excuses for rounds pinned against the cage before being taken down by Tate. Granted Kujala was able to stifle Tate by threatening her with a guillotine. But with only 180 seconds nothing happened and Meisha Tate got the unanimous decision.
Next up – Hitomi Akano vs Carina Damm
A spirited back and forth fight between the only woman to get popped for steroids in Carina Damm and Hitomi Akano whose last fight for Strikeforce had her auditioning for Cris Cyborgs new punching bag (she failed). But Akano seemed to be a different fighter when her opponent shows up on weight and in her natural weight class of 135 lbs. With spinning back fist and crazy ground transitions this was yet another fight diluted of its potential awesomeness because of 3 minute rounds. That being said Akano was still able to reverse a bad position on the gournd to get a second round submission finish.
Tournament Final – Meisha Tate vs. Hitomi Akano
This fight reaffirmed what we have known about the state of modern mma: If you can’t wrestle, you can’t compete at the highest level. Being the finals, the opponent were given a whopping 9 minutes (a third 3 minute round) to duke it out for the shot at the title. Tate being a wrestler implemented her winning gameplan of taking the fight to the ground and doing work. Akano attempted to derail this by attempting judo throws but only succeeded in giving up her back. Even still Akano was able to threaten a toe hold/leg lock submission for the latter half of the 1st round but that was the majority of her offense for the rest of the fight.
Tate took advantage of Akano’s failed judo throw and transitions and maintained back mount for the rest of the fight. Going as far as to threaten with a rear naked choke in the final frame along with some ground and pound. Meish Tate took another lopsided decision to win the tournament and earned her title shot with the winner of Sara Kaufman vs Marloes Coenen.
Crappy round structure aside which in all fairness was due to the Arizona athletic commission not being a fan of the one tournament to begin with, it was entertaining night of fights.