Cat Zingano earned the biggest win of her mixed martial arts (MMA) career tonight (April 13, 2013) against Miesha Tate at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 Finale. Moments after the fight, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey and UFC President Dana White were on hand to comment on Zingano's performance.
Zingano made history tonight by becoming the first female fighter to win via knockout inside the Octagon, and in the process, became the No. 1 contender to Ronda Rousey's women's 135-pound division, while also earning a spot opposite "Rowdy" on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 (see the poster here).
"Alpha," 30, put on a spectacular show at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Rousey was sitting cageside to get an up close and personal look at her future opponent. Seemingly impressed by Zingano's victory, Rousey spoke with Jon Anik moments after Zingano's victory to share her thoughts on the fight.
"It was about what I expected from what I saw at the open workouts," Rousey told Anik on TUF 17 Finale broadcast on FX. "Cat looked a lot better, but Miesha is the type who can fight above herself in competition. It seemed really, really close and I thought it would come down to that third round.
"Cat really showed that she is able to perform under pressure and I'm going to be ready for that."
Also thrilled with the Zingano vs. Tate fight, UFC President Dana White raved about the new title challenger's performance.
"She looked amazing tonight," White said. "Those first couple of rounds were rough for her and she started to come on in the second round and then absolutely closed it out in the third. She looked amazing, she looked dominant and she finished the fight."
White also announced TUF 18 will air on FOX Sports 1 on Sept. 4, 2013 (Wednesday night), and fans are already talking about what will be a groundbreaking season with Zingano and Rousey at the helm of a group of up-and-coming male and female 135-pound fighters.