Julianna Pena just put herself in a very good position in the UFC women's bantamweight division. The TUF winner grinded out a tough decision victory over a game Cat Zingano in the featured preliminary bout of UFC 200. Zingano started well, but Pena was in control over the second half of the fight. All three judges had it 29-28 for Pena.
The first round was grappling-heavy, with Zingano controlling most of it. Large portions went spent with Zingano stacking Pena up against the cage, leaving her with few options but to try to land short punches from the bottom. Pena did score one takedown early, but it didn't last long.
The second round went both ways. Zingano completely controlled the first half with takedowns and positional control. But Pena was able to squirm around and take her back, securing hooks and threatening with a choke over the second half of the round. Pena's work was more effective overall.
Pena got off to a great start in the third, scoring a takedown and completely controlling her opponent on the ground. Eventually she took her back and almost secured the choke, but Zingano fought it off. When that didn't work, she just held onto her back for the rest of the fight.
Zingano was fighting for the first time since her loss to Ronda Rousey, while Pena was looking to go 4-0 in the UFC. She did exactly that.