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Rousey brings home the gold

March 03, 2012|By Grant Gordon

It was the longest fight of Ronda Rousey's mixed-martial-arts career.

And it was also the most satisfying fight of Rousey's burgeoning MMA ascent.

The Glendale Fighting Club-trained judoka submitted defending champion Miesha Tate at the 4:27 mark of the first round of their headlining bout at Strikeforce "Tate vs. Rousey" at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday night to become the new Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion.

"I didn't talk my way into that one," said Rousey in the postfight cage interview in reference to naysayers, led by Tate, before the fight saying the phenom hadn't done enough to deserve the title shot.

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With the victory, which capped the live Showtime broadcast, Rousey improved to 5-0 with all five of her pro MMA bouts coming to a halt via armbar. Previously, Rousey had never fought past the first minute of action.

Tate (12-3), who had won six consecutive bouts coming into her first title defense, extended the round by escaping an earlier arm-bar attempt, delivering some solid punches standing and holding her own on the ground.

"She was much more savvy on the ground than I anticipated," Rousey said. "She's legit."

Seconds later, though, Rousey made it known that she didn't feel bad in the least for the damage she'd done, as Tate laid on the floor long after the submission with her left arm badly damaged and likely dislocated or broken.

"Her arm is wrecked," said Showtime analyst Pat Miletich during the broadcast. "Her left arm's trashed."

It was clear that the bad blood that boiled throughout a much-publicized build-up for what was considered one of the biggest fights in the history of women's MMA had clearly gotten personal after the fighters went forehead-to-forehead at the weigh-ins the day prior.

Now Rousey, who was cornered by GFC's Edmond Tarverdyan, will move on, though, with her first defense likely to come against former champion Sarah Kaufman, who won a bout earlier in the night.

"I think Strikeforce was looking for a star in the women's division," Miletich said at the broadcast's conclusion, "and I think they found it tonight."

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