Miesha Tate has won seven of her past eight bouts. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Miesha Tate will have to wade through the artillery of an unbeaten newcomer to land her desired rematch with reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey.
Tate will answer the call to her Octagon debut when she meets Cat Zingano at “The Ultimate Fighter 17” Finale on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The winner of the second-ever fight between women in the UFC will coach opposite Rousey on Season 18 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series and receive a coveted shot at the champion.
Rousey submitted Tate with a first-round armbar under the Strikeforce banner in March 2012. The loss provides some extra incentive.
“Every single 135-pounder out there should be looking at Ronda and thinking of a way to beat her,” Tate told Sherdog.com. “I’m no different. The only difference is I’ve had the opportunity to get in there once before, and I do believe I will be the first woman to ever face Ronda twice. I think that’s going to give me an advantage.”
First, Tate must solve Zingano. The former two-division Ring of Fire champion has finished six of her seven opponents -- three by submission and three more by knockout or technical knockout. Zingano, a 30-year-old Broomfield, Colo., native, last appeared inside the Invicta Fighting Championships promotion in October, when she submitted Raquel Pennington with a second-round rear-naked choke. The stakes could not be clearer for Tate.
“I cannot look past her because if I lose that fight, it’s going to be a huge detriment to my career, and there’s no way I’m going to let that happen,” she said. “I’m not looking past her. I think she’s going to be an incredibly tough opponent.”
Tate bounced back from her defeat to Rousey in August, when she survived a head kick from Julie Kedzie and submitted the Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts veteran with an armbar of her own. She plans to rely on her guile and toughness against Zingano.
“I just really think I cannot be broken,” Tate said. “I heard her say she comes to try and break people. She’s not going to get that out of me. I’m not going to break. I don’t understand that. I don’t quit. I don’t break. You guys saw, I let my arm snap in half [against Rousey]. I just don’t want to quit. I have none of that in me. I think that’s really going to be frustrating and challenging for her.”
In Zingano, Tate sees an almost mirror image of herself: a wrestler with a heavy top game and fearless standup.
“I don’t think I’ve ever fought anybody quite as similar [to me],” she said. “She’s got a strong wrestling background, she’s got a strong grappling background and she throws heavy, wild punches on her feet.” With more than twice as much professional MMA experience under her belt, including a Strikeforce headliner, Tate believes she has a leg up on Zingano as they enter the uncharted territory of the UFC’s Octagon.
“I feel I’m a little more seasoned,” she said. “I’m a little more comfortable with the lights and the camera and the action, the energy of the crowd when you walk out. I may not have experienced it on a scale as grand as the UFC, but I have with Strikeforce. I feel right at home here. Being a part of this feels right.”
This & That
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