By: R Eric Ellison
Glad to see you sliced your way through the internet to dissect another great UFC fight headed our way. This time, The Baldfather bestows upon us Fight Night 52: Hunt Vs Nelson, a card dotted with a handful of very interesting and exciting bouts. Today we breakdown the numbers hidden behind one of the more intriguing match-ups in Miesha Tate Vs Rin Nakai. A fight slightly lost under the electrifying hype of Hunt Vs Nelson, but certainly a battle any hardcore MMA fan has on his/her radar.
Each “Under the Knife” article is broken down into three sections; The Wrap Sheet, Cross Examination, and The Winning Path. In The Wrap Sheet, we will take a closer look at each fighters statistics individually. The Cross Examination is where the fighters are compared to one another. Finally, The Winning Path takes the previous results and draws a bit of a numerical map as to how each fighter may win.
Ready? Here we go.
THE WRAP SHEET
First, Rin Nakai has been training in judo since she was 3 years old. The former Queen of Pancrase has notable wins over familiar names like Tara La Rosa and Sarah D’Alelio, after taking to MMA shortly before her 20th birthday. Tate, though, will be by far her biggest test, as”Cupcake” is ranked No. 2 among women’s bantamweight contenders. Nonetheless, Nakai is undefeated at 16-0-1 with an impressive portfolio that includes four KOs, six submissions, and six decision victories. Eight of her wins came in the first round, and Nakai hands down is now the most accomplished Judoka in the womens division aside from Ronda Rousey.
That brings us to Miesha Tate. “Cupcake” is no stranger to facing a dangerous judo fighter, and her preparations for the Rousey battles will no doubt come back again to help this upcoming match with Nakai. Sporting a record of 14-5-0, Tate brings something to this game in her numbers that makes a huge difference, experience in the Octagon. Tate is no KO artist, and her wrestle and grind style shine when you look see all but three of her wins are either submission or decision. Tate tends not to lose unless stopped, and there can be no question as to her heart on fight night.
Now comes the fun part. The first thing that leaps out to me is Tate’s losses. Miesha has five, and only one is via decision. Sliding this up against Rin Nakai’s finishing rate of over 75% and quite the picture begins to reveal itself. In some ways it seems Tate’s work to thwart Ronda Rouseys judo may come to help her out tremendously here. Her wrestling accuracy and defense are a lot less than her resume would suggest, with 37% successes and close to 45% takedown defense rate. “Cupcakes” experience against higher level opponents may shine through the battle, but any engagement up close will be a slippery slope for both competitors.
Another thing to consider is Nakai’s “stiffness” during her fights. Look up just about any of her battles, and you’ll notice exactly the point. She stands upright, and her strikes feel a tad flat and a bit short. Tate is no Anderson Silva, but she does a pretty decent job on the feet, and has a standing defense percentage close to 50. Comparing the two statistically, Nakai touches down with a higher accuracy rating (47% to 41%), but her output level is less than Tate’s. Also Rin has a habit of a hint of “brawl” to her striking, which may leave her exposed on the feet to the more experienced “Cupcake.”
THE WINNING PATH
Nakai is very fast, a viper with her grappling and submissions, and very much undefeated. Though she doesn’t particularly posses one punch KO power, Rin is certainly capable of putting anyone in the division on the mat. Her judo has only worked to further her success putting all her MMA skills together, and her road to victory at UFC Fight Night 52 will likely be determined by it. Nakai has a strange ability to quickly change chaos to precision on the mat, and if her hand is raised this weekend, it will likely be from a sudden submission during ground and pound.
Miesha Tate may actually come into this war for a slugfest. Many think Tate has leaned on her wrestling a bit too much in the past, and Tate herself seems to see that as well. Her exchanges on the feet in the UFC show an ever evolving striker. Though she has less knock outs, Tate on film seems to have more power. Her sometimes slow down is a bit daunting, but Miesha actually has the math here to do very well on the feet if she can keep it there. Look for “Cupcake” to stun Nakai with strikes, and follow her to the ground for the stoppage finish.
By: R Eric Ellison