UFC 178, Las Vegas MGM Grand September 27th, 2014. A date and time Zingano will probably have imprinted on her mind for a while, and rightly so.
Cat Zingano last entered the octagon a year and a half ago to face Miesha Tate, winning that fight bought her a sure ticket at facing Rousey as well as a coaching spot on the Ultimate Fighter 18 Rousey vs….Tate. During her fight against Tate, Zingano blew out her knee and has been sidelined ever since. Already a heartbreaking injury due to lost opportunity that came with it, her personal life came completely undone. The pain she has suffered throughout the past 17 months should have let everybody know that this woman can never be broken by a simple fight.
Zingano’s Heading Home at the Top
Amanda Nunes certainly did try to break the American’s will as she dominated the first round keeping top position for most of it and trying with all her might to impose her favorite finish on Zingano: ground and pound TKO. Somehow, Zingano managed to dodge enough punches to survive that early round. She ate some big punches however, so did the canvas as the Colorado based fighter would move her head just enough for Nunes to miss.
In the second, Zingano came at Nunes, mad and determined. She scored a huge takedown and maintained top position. In the third round Zingano came at the brazillian like the Apex predator she had become after the first and rammed Nunes with knees before once again using the same takedown to drop her in the middle of the octagon. Front and center she took mount and, through Amanda Nunes’ arms guarding her face she managed to land some huge elbows and open up the younger fighter’s forehead. Cat had the fight right then, she put all her heart, hurt and anger of the past year and half into the ground and pound of her opponent and won by TKO.
In her post fight interview, Zingano struggled to keep it together, what was crystal clear was her happiness, perhaps relieved that this comeback is now behind her and she is very well here, and how badly she wanted to go home to her son Brayden. In the crowd, Ronda Rousey was on her feet with the hugest smile on her face, not a smile suggesting that she had found her next victim but rather one of deep respect. Rousey knows that whenever she does face Zingano she will be facing a woman truly deserving of the position she is in: fighting for the highest honors.
Following her performance she made sure to let Dana White know that, regardless of any as of yet unsigned fighters, she is right there and ready to fight for the title and will bring all current skill sets and more. In fact, at the post-fight presser she was asked what she could bring to Rousey and her answer was incredibly humble “I don’t know…I just bring something different every time”. After all she’s been through, is it possible that at this point, for this particular opportunity, what she could bring is utter fearlessness and ruthelesness? She has been lower than low and picked herself and her son back up to reclaim the success she was deemed to receive over a year ago.
The Cat didn’t lose her tongue, she’s been growing claws that would scare Wolverine.