Officially this is a fight between Miesha Tate and Jessica Eye. Unofficially, to the exasperation of both fighters, it might as well be a fight between Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey. In the media leading up to this bout, Rousey’s name may well have been mentioned more often than Eye’s. Regardless, the most significant prize in this fight is not winning, nor an opportunity to fight Rousey after UFC 190. The prize is in fact, the chance to get close to the coveted title of Woman’s Bantamweight Champion.
Aside from that, Tate and Eye promises a good show for a number of reasons. Tate’s professional debut in MMA came nearly eight years ago and Jessica Eye had her first amateur cage fight only 7 months later, so we’re looking at two seasoned veterans of the sport here who have lived through the pre-UFC ‘dark ages’ in woman’s MMA and endured the extreme hardship and pain the sport demands to become two of the top female fighters in the world. Saturday night will offer the chance to compete on the sport’s biggest stage in front of millions of fans on FOX, allowing them to forget whatever suffering they had beared in the past and attempt to claw the life out of their opponent.
Miesha Tate started out as early as her high school days in wrestling. When she progressed to university she further developed her grappling skills through Brazilian Jujitsu. Until her first MMA fight she was still foreign to the concept of striking and is still sometimes criticised for her clumsy attempts. Since then she had survived some extreme striking assaults, most notably during her last bout with Sarah McMann when she fought though most of the 15 minute encounter with a cracked orbital bone to secure victory. Prior to that Tate lost to Cat Zingano in a flurry of furious knees and elbows in the third round despite having dominated Zingano on the floor before the TKO. Assessing her next opponent, Tate admits that Jessica Eye has some of “the best boxing in the women’s bantamweight] division.” However, Tate also declared “I’m going to bring a lot of pressure, a lot of heat and make the fight ugly…”
Jessica Eye knew pain even before her career in MMA. At the age of 16 she was hospitalised after a car accident with numerous fractures including a broken back. Like all other elite athletes, a horrific trauma like that generally compels them to take on the impossible. Fourteen fights later, there are still mixed feelings about her grappling abilities in spite of her strength in the stand-up clinch. However, there is little doubt that she is one of the best strikers in MMA, famous for her variety of techniques and remarkable speed. Nonetheless, over the course of her career, she had only managed a relatively unimpressive three out of fourteens wins via TKO.
Essentially this should fight should be a game of ‘catch me if you can’. Given Miesha Tate’s remarkable tolerance of pain, it will take a great deal more than accurate fast punches to get this ‘Cupcake’ to succumb. On the other hand, 15 minutes is a very long time in a very small confirmed space to get away from one of the division’s best grapplers who will be hell bent on taking Jessica Eye to the ground.