Strikeforce got itself a new women’s welterweight champion tonight, when 24-year-old Meisha Tate coaxed the submission from former champ Marloes Coenen in the fourth round of their five round fight.
The bout was back and forth until the end, with both Tate and Coenen putting the other in disadvantageous positions at varying times. Tate was the aggressor early, driving for the takedown until she got it; it looked like it came at a price though, as the notoriously submission-able Coenen latched onto her neck and held onto on their way to the mat. The young challenger held tough though and avoided the submission, ending the first round transitioning between North-South and side control.
Coenen wasn’t going out like that though, and came out with a purpose in the second round. The scrappy Dutch fighter reversed Tate off of a takedown and quickly took her back. She would hold the position for the duration of that round, alternately working for the choke and landing ground and pound.
The third round proved more measured from both combatants, with Tate hitting two takedowns, but being unable to get off any significant offense from the top position. In the closing moments of the round, Coenen swept Tate and took top position herself.
Heading into the championship rounds, it was beginning to look like Coenen might be stealing the momentum, but Tate had other things in mind. She came out hard and got a takedown early on, fighting past a guillotine choke attempt by the champ to take side control. From there, Takedown transitioned seamlessly into mount and then on to Coenen’s other side, locking up an arm triangle all the while. Once she crossed over Coenen’s body, she put the squeeze on it and forced her to tap to take the belt.
With the victory, Tate makes it six in a row and brings her career mark to 12-2. She’ll face the last woman to defeat her, Sarah Kaufman, in her first title defense.