UFC on Fox preview: Tate versus Eye

Despite two prior losses to Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate will be knocking on the door of a potential trilogy fight against the UFC bantamweight champion on Saturday.

Tate (16-5) will look to extend her winning streak to four when she meets Jessica Eye (11-2) in the UFC on Fox co-main event this weekend at United Center in Chicago. Tate's last loss came via third-round armbar to Rousey (11-0) at UFC 168 in December 2013. {C}

As much as her 0-2 record against Rousey might stand in the way of securing another title shot, the 28-year-old Tate has just as much riding in her favor should she beat Eye. She has a long-standing rivalry with Rousey that has somehow remained strong despite them already sharing a cage twice. She is the only Rousey opponent to ever make it out of the first round, which, considering Rousey's knack for sub-minute finishes, is a potential selling point in itself.

Tate also simply doesn't have much competition when it comes to claiming the 135-pound division's No. 1 contender spot. According to the UFC's divisional rankings, Rousey has fought (and dominated) each of the top six-ranked females at 135 pounds. The only one she hasn't fought in those six is Eye, who is vying for a title shot herself in this matchup against Tate.

With the winner likely moving on to fight Rousey (presuming she defends her title against Bethe Correia at UFC 190 next month), let's take a closer look at the style matchup between Tate and Eye.

ODDS:Tate -190, Eye +165


Coming out aggressive, guns blazing, from the opening bell has become somewhat of a staple in Tate's performances.

Her standup has always been somewhat clumsy, and it very much leaves openings for her to get tagged, but that doesn't mean it's easy to deal with. Tate will essentially run at opponents until they give her a reason not to (the hard straight right hand Sarah McMann landed in her last fight, for example) -- and, in fact, even that sometimes doesn't stop her. Tate is technical on the ground, chaotic on the feet and she's a fighter everywhere. She's looking to mix it up at all times.

By contrast, Eye is one of the more technical boxers in the entire division. At the very least, she aspires to be. Occasionally, she can get sucked into exchanges that resemble brawls, but she makes a concerted effort to pick opponents apart, dart in and out, move laterally and work behind her jab. She has pretty good head movement, and her hand speed is a major advantage. When Eye does engage, she's confident in her ability to slip punches and use her speed to land first.

One thing about Eye, however, is she's not incredibly tricky to prepare for. She'll throw an inside leg kick here and there, but she's apt to settle into a sort of tunnel vision in which she only throws punches, targeting only the head. She has not attempted a takedown in her UFC career. Her strikes are effective, but they aren't the type that you don't see coming (that typically knock you out). For as clean as her standup can be, she has only three knockouts, one of which was a doctor's stoppage in her last fight.

Given Tate's ability to take punches and her persistence in moving forward, it's easy to picture this fight going to the clinch often. Eye is not the biggest bantamweight, but she's athletic, not extremely vulnerable to being overpowered and throws decent elbows from the clinch. That said, the clinch should be Tate's world in this fight. Her best takedowns are outside trips from these positions, and once she has Eye on the floor, there is a good chance of her keeping there and possibly locking in a submission.

With a title shot on the line, both figure to be properly motivated. Neither has trouble keeping a high pace for three rounds. Tate has more experience on a big stage, but Eye has looked very much at home in the UFC thus far.


Almost everything about this matchup on paper favors Tate. Things can look dicey when she bites down on her mouthpiece and swarms a superior striker, but she's been in there with harder hitters than Eye and lived to tell about it. She's likely to eat a fair share of right hands on Saturday, but her wrestling advantage should be substantial. I expect her to make full use of it. TATE SUBMISSION, SECOND ROUND.