Las Vegas, Nev. – A highly-anticipated and exciting title fight featuring two of the world’s elite mixed martial artists will take place when STRIKEFORCE® returns to Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, March 3, when newly-crowned women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate makes her first title defense against undefeated sensation Ronda Rousey.
STRIKEFORCE®: TATE vs. ROUSEY will air live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast), while preliminary fights will be shown live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® at 8 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on West Coast).
The March 3 fight card, which takes place on the same weekend as the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, will also feature a battle of top lightweights when former STRIKEFORCE champ Josh Thomson takes on the surging KJ Noons. Also on the card, British striker Paul Daley welcomes Japanese star Kazuo Misaki back to Strikeforce in a welterweight bout, and another former STRIKEFORCE champ, Sarah Kaufman, meets top contender Alexis Davis in a women’s bantamweight contest. Additional fights scheduled for the event are expected to be released shortly.
“The energy in the city of Columbus is always incredible during the weekend of the Arnold and we can’t wait to get back there with this championship fight,” STRIKEFORCE CEO Scott Coker said. “Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey is the title fight fans wanted and we were happy to give it to them. Miesha made a big statement when she submitted Marloes Coenen for the title last year. Now she meets one of the fastest-rising stars in all of mixed martial arts, unbeaten judo ace Ronda Rousey. Columbus, get ready, because we’re bringing a great night of fights to your city once again.”
Tickets for STRIKEFORCE®: TATE vs. ROUSEY go on sale Friday, Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. ET and are priced at $125, $75, $45 and $25. Tickets will be available at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, at ticketmaster.com or 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line store at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing and ticket outlets at Chiller Dublin, Chiller Easton. Applicable service charges may apply.
UFC® Fight Club™ members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Wednesday, Jan. 18 beginning at 10 a.m. ET via the website www.ufcfightclub.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter and STRIKEFORCE Insider subscribers Thursday, Jan.19, starting at 10 a.m. ET. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com and the STRIKEFORCE Insider through STRIKEFORCE.com.
In what many might consider one of the best come-from-behind wins in MMA last year, Miesha Tate (fighting out of Yakima, Wash.) submitted then-champ Marloes Coenen in the fourth round to earn the STRIKEFORCE women’s bantamweight championship last July. Now 12-2, her path to the top of the division also included notable wins over Zoila Gurgel, Jan Finney and Hitomi Akano. Once a high school wrestler who competed on the men’s team, “Takedown” has continued training to become a complete MMA fighter and silence any critics who doubted her along the way. On March 3, she wants to end the hype of Rousey and cement her place as the best women’s bantamweight in the world.
“I feel like Ronda will definitely be a challenge for me, but not one that I can’t handle,” said Tate. “Her Olympic experience is great, but this is MMA and her MMA career has been short. She hasn’t truly been tested yet and I plan on doing just that when we meet in Columbus.”
Ronda Rousey (fighting out of Venice, Calif.) has experienced a meteoric rise to the top of women’s MMA that will ultimately see her fight for the title within one year of her first professional bout. Currently undefeated at 4-0, the former U.S. Olympic Judo bronze medalist has won all four of her bouts in under one minute via armbar, and she shows no signs of slowing down. A fan-favorite that has quickly caught the eye of the media and fighters alike, “Rowdy” is now faced with her most challenging fight to date on the biggest stage of her MMA career. With a win, she’ll capture her first mixed martial arts world title, and better yet, the validation that her rise through the ranks was no fluke.
“Miesha is a seasoned and respectable fighter, but she’s not a dangerous fighter,” said Rousey. “If she thinks she’s going to submit me, she’s got another thing coming. She’ll have her chance on March 3 and we’ll all find out who the best female MMA fighter in the world is.”
Former STRIKEFORCE lightweight champ and UFC® veteran Josh Thomson (fighting out of San Jose, Calif.) steps back into the cage looking to make his way back to the top of the division. With a record 18-4, 1 NC, “The Punk” has defeated top stars such as Gilbert Melendez, Duane Ludwig, Nam Phan and Pat Healy. He’ll have his work cut out for him when he takes on KJ Noons (fighting out of San Diego, Calif.). At 10-3, “King Karl” is fresh off a three-round war with Billy Evangelista where he took the decision, and he is ready to get right back in the cage. The former EliteXC® titleholder owns a win over former STRIKEFORCE champion Nick Diaz and is looking to take the first step in eventually putting the STRIKEFORCE belt around his waist.
British bad boy and renowned striker Paul Daley (fighting out of Nottingham, England) returns to the STRIKEFORCE cage after two successful international victories hoping to continue his success. The former UFC welterweight, who currently stands 29-11-2, has beaten the likes of Martin Kampmann, Jorge Masvidal and Scott Smith, and he always poses a threat with his one-punch knockout power. “Semtex” will take on noted Japanese striker and 2006 PRIDE® Welterweight Grand Prix winner Kazuo Misaki (fighting out of Chiba, Japan). A veteran of the sport with a 24-11-2, 1 NC professional record, “Hitman” has had his hand raised against Dan Henderson, Denis Kang, and Phil Baroni, and he plans on more of the same in Columbus, where he will return to STRIKEFORCE for the first time since his 2009 win over veteran Joe Riggs.
At just 26 years old, Sarah Kaufman (fighting out of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) has already held the most important title in her division by defeating Takayo Hashi to win the STRIKEFORCE women’s bantamweight championship. Plus, she has beaten some of the best at her weight, including Miesha Tate, Liz Carmouche and even her current opponent along the way. At 14-1, she’s hungrier than ever to take back the top spot, but will have to get past Alexis Davis (fighting out of Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada)to do so. In a rematch of their 2007 collision, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt Davis is ready to turn the tables and leave with the victory. With a record of 11-4, Davis feels that a win over Kaufman would elevate her to the next title shot.
For more information or the latest STRIKEFORCE news, visit www.strikeforce.com. All bouts live and subject to change.