As if UFC Vegas 43 wasn’t enough of a drag already with 10 of 11 fights going to decision (and only one of those decisions — Yanez vs. Grant — being a spirited battle), it also featured the Miesha Tate comeback train going off the rails.
Tate returned to UFC after a five-year break in July 2021 to defeat Mario Reneau via technical knockout in the third round of their fight (watch that finish here). But, Reneau came into that bout on a four-fight losing streak with retirement on her mind. Tate’s UFC Vegas 43 opponent, Ketlen Vieira, was ranked No. 7 at women’s Bantamweight and carried in with her a 5-2 record. It was a stiff test for Tate, whose stated goal for her current run is an eventual title shot.
Unfortunately, the fight did not go her way (watch the highlights here).
Vieira used her reach advantage to pepper Tate with jabs. Stuck on the outside, Miesha pushed forward grimly, but ate a bunch of combinations from “Fenomeno” that busted up her face. Two rounds in and the story of the fight was told. Tate was unable to adjust, and dropped the bout 48–47, 48–47, and 49–46 on the judges’ scorecards.
Tate was taken to the hospital to get checked out and stitched up, but did drop a quick message on Instagram to her fans.
“Hey we had fun tonight!!” she wrote. “I still feel like I evolved and in truth I was never tied to an outcome. Just happy to enjoy these moments. Thank you as always for the support and congratulations Ketlen Vieira.”
Immediately after the fight Tate discussed the decision with Daniel Cormier and whether she thought she’d won.
“I thought it was close and I knew that there was a possibility she won,” Tate said. “I did my best tonight and came up short. She’s the better woman, hat’s off to her. She’s great.”
Tate didn’t sound too dejected after the defeat, looking at it more as a learning experience.
“The real thing is about enjoying the journey,” she said. “This is just a moment in time, you guys. This is an opportunity for me to grow. I had a great time tonight and it was an awesome opponent. I get to go home and kiss my two kids. Life is good, life is great. Thank you so much for supporting me.”
The loss underscores what a challenge it will be for Tate to hang at the top of UFC’s women’s Bantamweight division where there’s been a lot of advancements over the past five years. Maybe in 2016 there weren’t a lot of boxers like Vieira who could punish Tate the moment forward pressure wasn’t engaged.
But, now there are.
While we don’t expect “Cupcake” to fundamentally change who she is as a fighter, there’s definitely going to have to be some evolution (and ability to adjust in the cage when a strategy doesn’t work) if she’s even going to sniff championship gold again.
Here’s to seeing a Miesha Tate 3.0 in 2022!
For complete UFC Vegas 43 results and coverage click here.