Kicking off the UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor pay-per-view main card at Madison Square Garden in New York City was former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate against Raquel Pennington. Tate coached Pennington all the way to the semifinals of The Ultimate Fighter season 18, and tonight was an opportunity for pupil to beat teacher, as Pennington sought the upset win. For Tate, she wanted to get right back into title contention following the loss of her belt to Amanda Nunes.
Pennington worked her jab to start round 1. It was sharp and accurate. She tagged Miesha with a right hand that noticeably stung her. Tate went to the body in the clinch, then searched for the takedown against the fence. Tate couldn’t get it and Pennington had a tight standing bulldog choke. Miesha was lifted off her feet and defended it similarly to how Diego Sanchez did vs. Marcin Held on last week’s UFC Mexico City card. Pennington couldn’t get the tap but made Tate work for the takedown. Miesha did get her down , and as Pennington got back up, Tate looked for control of Pennington’s back. With seconds left in the round, Miesha was just riding Pennington and Raquel was cautious and not wanting to make any mistakes. Pennington outstruck Tate and had the sub attempt, but Tate had control of Pennington in the final 2 minutes of the round.
Pennington’s jab continued to bust up Tate’s face, and she was throwing power punches behind it. Tate was bleeding and struggling to cope with the striking at range. Miesha threw knees to the body in the clinch and searched for the takedown again. It was a stalemate against the fence, then Pennington turned around and had Miesha’s back, and Tate grabbed the fence egregiously and was warned for it. Miesha spun around but she still had her back pinned against the fence and Pennington throwing short punches up top. Pennington threw good body shots but Tate had the Muay Thai plum and fired off knees. It was a grueling 2nd round with plenty of shots exchanged in the clinch. They broke free in the final seconds and Tate drilled Pennington with a good right hand.
Miesha pulled guard, perhaps in search of an armbar or triangle off of her back. Pennington threw ground-and-pound while fending off the danger of Tate going for a submission. The guard pull didn’t pay off for Miesha and Pennington briefly had north-south position. When Tate got back to her feet, Pennington had a hold of the neck and again went for a choke. Tate used the butterfly sweep and then attacked for a heel hook, but there was nothing there. Pennington was willing to grapple with Miesha, and she performed very well. Tate just didn’t have enough offense and creativity to win rounds, and “Rocky” muscled Tate down in the final minute of the 3rd, then teed off with ground-and-pound to end the fight.
Official result: Raquel Pennington def. Miesha Tate via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
In the post-fight interview, Tate announced her retirement from the sport.