At the end of the fight, however, it would be Zingano that stood tall, not only winning the fight, but also earning a slot opposite Ronda Rousey as coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 18, as well as a title shot.
Tate took control from the start, not letting the Zingano unleash her usual early aggression. Tate scored the takedowns and outstruck Zingano on the feet in round one.
Tate again put Zingano on the mat in round two and had her in trouble with a heel hook attempt. Zingano not only fought her way out of danger, she turned the tide, reversing position and roughing Tate up with ground and pound as the round closed.
That set the stage for round three, where Zingano unleashed her strength, taking Tate to the mat and unloading with elbows and punches. They returned to their feet, but Zingano was in kill mode, unleashing four consecutive knees to the face that had Tate dazed and backed into the fence. One well-placed elbow sent Tate drifting to the canvas, the referee rushing in to stop the fight.
Zingano couldn’t have been more proud, starting MMA as a mother looking to shed some post-baby weight to fighting her way into the UFC.
“To be honest, I looked up to Miesha since I started this sport. I was scared to death of her, but I had no time to show it,” admitted Zingano after the fight.
“This is a dream come true. Everything that’s happened in my life has led me to this day.”
Zingano’s dream is nowhere near complete, however, as she now has the TUF 18 coaching slot and a shot at the UFC women’s bantamweight championship belt currently wrapped around Rousey’s waist.
“I can’t wait. Me and her, we’re both gonna rumble,” Zingano said of Rousey. “It’s gonna come down to heart, it’s gonna come down to technique, it’s gonna come down to speed. I can’t wait for that fight.”
(Follow @KenPishna on Twitter)