Rousey improves to 5-0 with five first-round armbar wins
If Ronda Rousey is a one-trick pony, it might be the greatest trick in the history of women's mixed martial arts.
Rousey came into her Strikeforce title fight against champion Miesha Tate with four first-round armbar submission victories in her four pro fights – at an average of just under 35 seconds a fight. And even though Tate took her into the deep waters she said she would take her, those deep waters didn't even make it past the first round.
Rousey latched onto Tate's arm a second time in the first round, torqued it back in what appeared to be devastating fashion before Tate finally was forced to tap, making Rousey the new Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion. The Tate-Rousey fight was the main event in a Showtime-broadcast card at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Rousey was criticized by Tate, as well as former champion Sarah Kaufman, for what they deemed as Rousey trash talking her way into a title fight she didn't deserve. But it took her just 4:27 and one more armbar for her mantel to prove she belonged.
"I didn't talk my way into that one," Rousey said after the fight.
Rousey said her opponent was better on the ground than she expected her to be. But after months of trash talk, Rousey made it clear there was no love lost between the two.
"She's much more savvy on the ground than I anticipated," Rousey said. "She's good. She's legit. But I don't feel that bad about it."
Tate opened up the fight in a hurry, rushing forward with strikes. She even fended off Rousey's first armbar attempt on the ground, reversing the position and ultimately taking Rousey's back to look for a rear naked choke. But ultimately that Rousey armbar was inevitable.
"It's a little sore," Tate said of her left arm. "I came here to put on a fight. I didn't like her, so I wanted to come out hard. I got a little overzealous. She caught the arm. I've got to give her respect. I do respect her as an athlete."
Tate and Rousey got heated at Friday's weigh-in event, with Tate putting her forehead up against Rousey's. Tate then reportedly said Rousey should be fined for pushing back. And because of that, Rousey said any chance of the grudge between the two being put to bed, even after the fight, is out the window.
"I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt before since I started (the trash talking)," Rousey said. "But after the weigh-ins, if you're going to try to act hard, back it up. I thought that was kind of messed up."
Rousey's first title defense is likely to come against former champion Kaufman, who closed out Saturday's preliminary card with a decision win over Alexis Davis.
"I'd welcome (Kaufman) for sure," Rousey said. "I'm really glad to see the ladies bring it. I feel like Sarah Kaufman thought she got cheated out of this title shot, but it's all up to Strikeforce."
In other action on Saturday's main card, Josh Thomson was unhappy with his unanimous decision win over K.J. Noons in the co-main event. He said two staph infections hampered his training, making his cardio an issue in the victory. Former middleweight Kazuo Misaki made his Strikeforce debut at welterweight a good one with a split decision win over Paul Daley.
And to open the Showtime telecast, former champ Ronaldo Souza submitted Bristol Marunde in the third round, and Lumumba Sayers tapped Scott Smith in the first.