This past weekend at the UFC TUF Season 17 Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada Cat Zingano established herself as the next opponent for UFC Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey by taking out Meisha Tate in the third round with a series of knees. Both Tate and Zingano won $50k each as a bonus for ‘Fight of the Night’, hopefully ending talk that the women’s divisions don’t have talent and depth. Look for Rousey to be a massive favorite over Zingano when the two finally meet towards the end of the year.
The first stop for Zingano and Rousey is the TUF reality series 18th edition, where both women will coach a team of women in the typical format. The UFC probably lost an opportunity here for an all women’s show, but just their appearance on the show history will be made.
The reality series will likely not change the odds much at all, as the theme of the show with fighters living together just seems to turn out generic fighter after generic fighter. Granted, season 18 will see the women cohabitating with the male teams, but look for generally professional conduct. We will get to know Zingano, but she is likely to be dominated by Rousey as the series films, since the Champion is definitely more established and is not shy about speaking her mind.
Against Tate, Zingano showed she could take punishment, as she was getting beat up for roughly the first 8 minutes of the fight. late in the second round, the momentum swung in Zingano’s direction, and she hurt Tate. Cat stayed with the strikes heading into the 3rd round, and she landed a knee that shook up Tate, requiring only a strong followup flurry to get the stoppage.
Tate can complain all she wants, but Zingano did a good job in staying in the fight and eventually getting the win.
Against Rousey, that survival is more precarious, as Rousey is a relentless finisher who no one has been albe to resist. Zingano has two choices – come out, set the pace and take it to Rousey, or look to survive the initial burst. Zingano is a solid fighter with a perfect record, but I don’t like her chances, and neither will the sportsbooks.