HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- Miesha Tate
is the new champion of Strikeforce
's 135-pound women's division after forcing Marloes Coenen
to tap out with a brilliant arm triangle choke in the fourth round of a fight that had been a back-and-forth battle on the ground.
Tate's submission was a thing of beauty: She had Coenen in side control on the ground and briefly looked like she was going to transition into full mount, but instead she transitioned to the other side and sunk in the choke. After a brief struggle, Coenen had no choice but to tap.
The fight hadn't been a crowd-pleader in the first three rounds, but the fans were thrilled when Tate got the choke in the fourth. It was the first time Coenen has been submitted in 24 professional fights.
The first three rounds were a tactical ground fight:
-- Midway through the first round Coenen appeared to have Tate in trouble with a choke on the ground, but Tate managed to both pull her head free and get into side control. From there Tate spent the rest of the round on top, and that may have been enough to earn her the round on the judges' scorecards.
-- In the second round they went to the ground again, and once again Coenen had Tate in a tough position, taking her back with three and a half minutes on the clock. Coenen locked in a body triangle and seemed to be in excellent position to finish the fight with a rear-naked choke, but instead she held Tate's back for the rest of the round without ever getting close to a submission. It was a round Coenen clearly deserved to win, but she had to feel disappointed that she didn't finish the fight.
-- In the first minute of the third round Tate caught a Coenen kick and took her down, and for most of the round Tate was on top on the ground. Coenen briefly reversed things at the end of the round, but it was a round that Tate deserved to win.
And then came the fourth, when Tate sunk in that beautiful choke. It hadn't been a thrilling fight to that point, but the ending was worth the wait.