The next UFC women’s bantamweight title defence for champion Ronda Rousey finally has a date. The UFC announced on Wednesday that Rousey will take on No. 1 contender Cat Zingano in the co-main event of UFC 182, which is set for January 3 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main event of that card is UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier, and that fight, along with Rousey vs. Zingano, means the UFC has a true blockbuster PPV on tap to kick off 2015. Rousey vs. Zingano is a very good fight and one that fans of women’s MMA have been looking forward to for a long time. The two were originally set to coach opposite one another on TUF 18, but Zingano blew her knee out and was removed from the show’s cast before it began filming. Following an extended layoff, Zingano recently returned to the win column with a third-round knockout win over Amanda Nunes to reassume her spot as the No. 1 contender, and she definitely makes for an intriguing opponent for Rousey, the undefeated, undisputed champion. Most believe that Rousey is going to smoke Zingano, and she very well could win by first-round submission once again, but I think Zingano’s toughness and heart will make her a tough out and I don’t think this fight is as clear-cut as some believe. I do think that Rousey will be a gigantic betting favorite once again, but I think Zingano has a shot, albeit a long one, to win the title, and I for one won’t be sleeping on her when she takes on Rousey early next year in Vegas. Paulo Thiago Cut And one more important note from yesterday is that the UFC has finally cut veteran Paulo Thiago from the roster. Thiago, who is 15-8 in his MMA career, has lost his last three fights in a row over Sean Spencer, Gasan Umalatov and Brandon Thatch and overall has lost seven of his last nine bouts. Thiago, who ends his UFC career at 5-8 all time inside the Octagon, will always have that epic knockout win over Josh Koscheck from UFC 95 on his resume, but overall he just never panned out and it’s been clear from his last few fights he’s not a UFC-caliber fighter anymore. It’s possible Thiago is signed by an organization such as WSOF or Titan FC, but I think it’s more likely Thiago hangs up the gloves for good and maybe gets some work as a UFC ambassador in Brazil as still he’s very popular there regardless of his recent MMA record. So long, Thiago.
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