UFC Bantamweight champion Holly Holm is set to defend her title for the first time, but not against Ronda Rousey, but rather Rousey’s arch nemesis, Miesha Tate, at UFC 197.
The UFC announced on Tuesday that the upcoming UFC 197, which is scheduled for March 5 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, will feature not one, but two main events. In addition, these fights are also title fights.
Featherweight champ Conor McGregor agreed to go up to lightweight to challenge current champion Rafael dos Anjos, while Holly Holm will face Miesha Tate for the bantamweight belt.
— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) January 12, 2016
— JOE.co.uk (@JOE_co_uk) January 11, 2016
After knocking out former champ Ronda Rousey with a vicious roundhouse kick in the second round of their bout in November, Holm (10-0) is still expected to have a rematch against the crowd darling.
Reports earlier said that the rematch would take place at UFC 200 in July, where Rousey is set to make her comeback.
However, it looks like Holm, 34, didn’t want to wait that long to fight again.
— BlackSportsOnline (@BSO) January 6, 2016
Tate, 29, is an extremely talented MMA fighter and is well-known for her grappling skills, which Holm’s corner finds more dangerous than Rousey.
Mike Winkeljohn, who is Holm’s striking coach, said that the bantamweight champion has not faced her toughest test yet. He pointed out that the fact that she was the underdog in the Ronda Rousey fight took off a lot of pressure from Holly Holm.
In this next bout, however, people will expect more from the “Preacher’s Daughter.”
In addition, he said that Tate’s fighting style is not something to be relaxed about.
“Miesha Tate (17-5) is gonna scramble all day long, where Ronda was gonna try to get quick submissions. There’s a difference how that plays out. So in many ways, Miesha Tate is more dangerous than Ronda Rousey,” said Winkeljohn.
Listen to Holly Holm’s Coach Declare Miesha Tate a ‘Dangerous’ Opponent
The coach also considered other female MMA fighters and said that each of them has a different fighting style. As a team, they just have to prepare Holly to fight against such styles.
Winkeljohn also said that Holly Holm wants to remain as active as possible, and that is why she will face Miesha Tate in March.
Once she beats Miesha Tate, she can face anybody the UFC throws at her until Rousey finally returns to the Octagon for the rematch.
However, the question is when.
A recent report said that the Furious 7 actress will not make her comeback at UFC 200, as previously announced.
The announcement came from UFC president Dana White, saying that the filming for Rousey’s upcoming film, Roadhouse, has been pushed back. The film will possibly reschedule filming near UFC 200 in July, which could affect Rousey’s preparations for a rematch.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 13, 2016
“She could do both, but the question is, should she do both? She could do both, but why should she?” White told Yahoo! Sports.
As a result, Rousey has reportedly asked for more time, and White agreed.
In December, the former champion said that she has to “beat this chick” and reclaim the title from Holly Holm no matter what it takes.
Unfortunately, the recent development in Rousey’s schedule will delay the rematch until later this year.
Holm’s coach has already pointed out that although Rousey-Holm II is the “money” fight, they just have to wait for Rousey’s decision to return.
“If Ronda has the guts to do it again, let’s do it again for some big money,” he said.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 12, 2016
Of course, a rematch with Ronda Rousey may not be too enticing if Holly Holm loses the championship to Miesha Tate, or against another opponent, assuming she will also fight at UFC 200.
[Images by Quinn Rooney and Steve Marcus/Getty Images]