Miesha Tate Turns Back the Clock in UFC Austin Featured Preliminary Bout

Miesha Tate showed she still has some gas left in the tank at UFC on ESPN 52.

The former Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight champion dominated in her first appearance in over a year, submitting Julia Avila by rear naked choke in the third round (1:15).

With the win, Tate (20-9, 7-6 UFC) picked up her 20th career victory. It was a win that’s eluded her for years. Many thought Tate was done after suffering back-to-back losses to Ketlen Vieira and Lauren Murphy, but Tate looked like her prime self early against Avila.

Using her patented wrestle-heavy style, Tate quickly took Avila to the mat and rode her for the entire five minutes. Tate peppered her with shots and forced her to survive without breaking a sweat. After two potential 10-8 rounds in Tate’s favor the only question was if “Cupcake” could find her first finish since she won the title from Holly Holm in 2016.

That question would be answered early in Round 3 as Tate yet again took the Raging Panda’s (9-3, 3-2 UFC) back. The finish was textbook for Tate as she’s done it eight times in her career before.

She may be a “Cupcake,” but if fighters continue to underestimate the 37-year-old former champ, they’ll be left with a bitter aftertaste.

Related » UFC Austin Round-by-Round Scoring

Drakkar Klose (14-2-1 8-2 UFC) put his name in the running for knockout of the year with one of the most savage finishes of 2023. After getting caught in an armbar early against Joe Solecki in their lightweight clash, Klose instinctively lifted Solecki above his head and slammed him unconscious into the mat.

Solecki’s body went limp as soon as he hit the canvas and the bout was stopped 1:41 into Round 1. Klose has won three straight since being knocked out by UFC Austin headliner Beneil Dariush in 2020.

Cody Brundage saw how Klose finished his fight and thought to himself, “that’s a good idea.”

Fresh off Klose’s knockout slam, Brundage did his best impersonation after slamming Zach Reese to sleep in the first round (1:41) of their middleweight clash. Like Klose, Brundage (10-5, 4-4 UFC) was also caught in a potential arm submission.

Slamming your way out of a submission is considered an amateur mistake, but Brundage may have earned himself an extra $50,000 with the second super slam of the night. The win gave Brundage his second win in a row, while muddying Reese’s (6-1, 0-1 UFC) perfect record.

Rodolfo Bellato had an Octagon debut to remember after coming out of a back-and-forth war against the heavy-handed Ihor Potieria victorious. Bellato was on skates early in Round 2 before being dropped and nearly finished by the Ukrainian, but Team Nogueira’s hottest light heavyweight prospect would ultimately be celebrating.

Bellato (12-2, 1-0 UFC) closed the show at the 4:17 mark of the second frame after shaking off a thunderous three-punch combo that put him flat on his back. Potieria (19-5,1-3 UFC) looked poised to pick up his first win since retiring Maurico Rua in January, but couldn’t find the finish in mount.

As Poteira started to slow, Bellato surged. Rising to his feet, Bellato sent the fight back to the mat with a trip. Sensing his opportunity, Bellator broke through Potiera’s defense with heavy elbows. Once Bellato shifted into full mount, there was nothing Poteria could do to avoid punishment. Bellato reigned down punches until the fight was stopped by referee Jacob Montalvo.

Down a round and on the cusp of a second straight loss, Jared Gooden found his way back on track with a second-round submission (1:11) over Wellington Turman in welterweight action. Gooden’s right eye was swollen shut after taking a five-minute butt-whuppin in Round 1 but the X3 Sports prospect turned the odds with a right hand that staggered Turman midway through the second stanza.

Gooden (24-9, 2-4) pounced on Turman, following him to the canvas. Worried that referee Jeff Rexroad was going to stop the bout, Turman fatally gave up his back when trying to escape mount. Gooden snatched up Turman’s neck moments later, handing him (18-8, 3-6 UFC) his third-straight loss.

Veronica Hardy opened the UFC Austin prelims with a split decision win over former training partner Jamey-Lyn Horth (28-29, 29-28, 29-28). Hardy’s lateral movement out of her southpaw stance caused problems for Horth, as she was open to flush left crosses all afternoon.

Hardy (8-4-1, 3-4 UFC) snapped the previously unbeaten Horth’s (6-1, 1-1 UFC) six-fight win streak by keeping the fight on the feet. Horth’s last finish came by way of rear-naked choke, but Hardy’s movement forced Hardy to rely on her boxing. Hardy dropped Horth multiple times by stepping in with the cross but nearly gave the final round away by engaging in the clinch. Horth tightened the scorecards late with her forward pressure, but Hardy’s bigger shots won the hearts of the judges.

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