On a night where history will be made as former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva meets former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz, former Olympic wrestler Sara McMann faces arguably her toughest test since her UFC 170 tilt with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. This Saturday night at UFC 183, live from Las Vegas, NV, McMann faces former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, who knows something about fighting Rousey, as Tate is not only the lone woman to fight Rousey twice, but also the only woman to fight past the first round against Rousey.
On paper, the bout seems like a clash of two very solid wrestlers that are capable of winning any way they please, and a win for McMann does as much for her as a win would do for Tate, as each woman presents problems for the other. Add in the recent win McMann gained against Lauren Murphy, as well as Tate’s wins over Liz Carmouche and Rin Nakai, and this bout’s interest increases.
Every fight involves some keys to victory for both of the parties involved, and we know Tate will have a mixed bag of tricks for McMann, just as McMann will for Tate. Still, what specific things should McMann look to do in order to optimize her chances of victory?
Defense/Reach
McMann will come into this bout as the more accurate striker and wrestler, so why would her defense in either realm be a key to victory? In plain terms, it relates to the problems Tate presents. Sure, she might absorb a few more strikes than McMann, but even when she coasts, she stays in her opponents face for the majority of the time, and when she gets her opponents down, there aren’t many women that can hunt any better for submissions than “Cupcake”.
This is where McMann benefits from playing defense to a degree, because no woman to date has been able to take McMann down, let alone keep her down, not counting the body shot with which Rousey dropped McMann. To put it in laymen’s terms, Tate will have a hard time submitting her if McMann leaves her without any opening to take a limb or her back.
Prepare to play for 15 minutes
The one thing all wrestlers keep in common with each other is cardio, and neither Tate nor McMann is an exception to this. In fact, both ladies combine for ten total decision wins, but some felt McMann’s win over Murphy came with a bit of a question mark, though in fairness, split-decision verdicts usually leave that opening, by design.
It goes without saying that Tate does not and will not go down and out in the first round unless she goes out swinging, so the minute McMann took this bout, she knew she had to prepare to go 15 minutes anyway. Still, playing her game for 15 minutes against Tate means executing her will against Tate for at least 10 minutes without a second guess, and coming off of that split-decision against Murphy, she must find a way to dominate Tate, even if she has to steal a line or two from Rousey’s fights with Tate to do it.
Reach
Despite having been outstruck by Rousey and Murphy, McMann can neutralize Tate’s aggressive standup by staying slightly outside and using her two-inch reach advantage to keep Tate at bay while avoiding her best blows, which could lead the former Olympian to victory. Sounds simple enough, right?
Everything sounds simple until Tate gets in her foe’s grill, and besides, a two-inch reach doesn’t automatically swing the bout into McMann’s favor. In terms of reach, it isn’t the length, but how McMann uses it to her advantage, that ultimately matters

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.