The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale: April 13, 2013 Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada UFC Women’s Bantamweight Contender Miesha Tate (-175) Profile: The Strikeforce bantamweight champion at 25 years of age, Miesha “Cupcake” Tate (13-3) shocked the world when she submitted Marloes Coenen at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson to win the belt. Coenen was expected to be the mainstay at 135 pounds after being ousted from 145 by Cris “Cyborg” Santos, but when Tate defeated her, she immediately made the world realize she was legit. Tate has great takedowns, an extremely good chin and is willing to brawl or take the fight to the ground. She also has decent size and holds great power, making her a difficult matchup for just about anyone in the bantamweight division. Tate even gave UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey a decent run for her money before becoming one of many victims to the champ’s famous armbar submission, losing her Strikeforce title at the end of the first round. She now hopes for a rematch with Rousey in the UFC if she can get past Cat Zingano at the TUF 17 Finale. UFC Women’s Bantamweight Contender Cat Zingano (+135) Profile: Undefeated Cat Zingano (7-0) makes her UFC debut after a brief but successful stint in Invicta in which she displayed her smothering Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills. In her entire career, Zingano has only visited the judges once, which speaks to her killer instinct inside the cage. Expect her to be ready for whatever Tate throws at her, including working off her back. Zingano’s debut comes with extra pressure, as the winner of her fight against Tate at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale draws UFC champ Ronda Rousey as the opposing coach on the first co-ed season of TUF in history and earns an immediate title shot. Opening TUF 17 Finale Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Tate a -175 favorite (bet $175 to win $100) while Zingano opened as a +135 underdog (bet $100 to win $135) at 5Dimes sportsbook. Despite being four years younger than Zingano, Tate has more than twice the amount of experience with 16 bouts compared to just seven for her opponent. However, Tate also had a huge edge in experience on Rousey too before they met for the Strikeforce title a little more than a year ago. Since women’s MMA is a rapidly growing sport, it’s not unusual for fighters such as Rousey or Zingano to burst onto the scene and get thrust into such an important bout early on in their pro careers because both have been so dominant. UFC president Dana White obviously thinks Zingano has enormous potential, otherwise it would be somebody else in this fight against Tate. Whether or not Zingano has that “it” factor working in her favor like Rousey remains to be seen, but she will definitely get her chance to prove she does when she faces one of the best women’s bantamweight contenders in the world. Tate has been outspoken in her dislike for Rousey, and both she and Zingano believe the champ has flaws that have yet to be revealed. One of them will get the opportunity to see if they can expose the weaknesses of Rousey while also competing against her as a coach on TUF 18. Tate’s personality sets up well for the show opposite Rousey, but she should be careful not to first overlook Zingano, who could be the most complete mixed martial artist she has ever faced.
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