Cat Zingano Stops Amanda Nunes At UFC 178, Earns Title ShotUndefeated bantamweight star “Alpha” Cat Zingano regained her former top title contender status with a hard-fought TKO victory tonight at UFC 178: “Johnson vs Cariaso” in Las Vegas, Nevada. Zingano weathered an early storm and stopped Brazil’s Amanda “Lioness” Nunes in the third round.

Zingano was in danger early and often in round one as Nunes battered her with vicious ground and pound on the mat. However, just as she has done in past bouts, Nunes slowed way down as the fight progressed and Zingano overwhelmed her with strikes on the ground en route to a thrilling TKO win.


Zingano (9-0-0) was forced to work from her back right away after Nunes (9-4-0) took her down in the opening minute. Zingano attempted an armbar and a heel hook, but Nunes punched her way free on both occasions. Zingano landed a nice upkick after Nunes stood up, but that only seemed to anger the Brazilian, who dove back into Zingano’s guard and rained down heavy punches. Zingano’s head was repeatedly bounced off the mat as Nunes teed off at will with more hard punches and elbows.

After escaping from a second Zingano armbar, Nunes strangely gave up top position in an attempt to finish the fight with a heel hook. The ill-conceived decision allowed Zingano to escape to her feet and she trapped Nunes’s arms in a clinch. Zingano then threw Nunes forward onto her face and closed out the round on top, but the opening five minutes clearly belonged to Nunes.

Round two began with a Zingano takedown and the Colorado native scored with some solid ground and pound of her own. She landed punches and elbows throughout the round until Nunes scrambled and attempted a kneebar. Zingano countered with a toe hold and she landed punches to the body from Nunes’s guard until the end of the round.

Zingano opened round three with a DDT-style slam that stunned Nunes and allowed Zingano to pass directly to mount. She postured up with hard elbow strikes that opened a bad cut on the side of Nunes’s head. An exhausted Nunes struggled to defend from the bottom and Zingano landed a final barrage of punches that forced referee Jason Herzog to stop the fight.

Tonight’s entertaining victory marked Zingano’s first fight back since April 2013 when she stopped Miesha “Cupcake” Tate in what was then scheduled to be a number one contender’s bout for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. Zingano subsequently tore her ACL and suffered a tragic loss when her husband committed suicide, and she sat out of action until tonight.

Zingano has now regained her status as the top contender in the 135-pound women’s division and she is expected to challenge UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey at UFC 182 on January 3rd in Las Vegas. The planned title fight was announced tonight.

Winner: Cat Zingano by TKO (Elbows & Punches) at 1:21 of round three. She improves to 9-0-0.



(Photo Credit: Esther Lin, /

  1. That’s the difference determination makes in a fight.

    Zingano never broke. Amanda Nunes, on the other hand, often breaks when she is fighting off her back.

    Love Zingano. She has gone through so much and she always fights so emotionally. Finishing Nunes the way she did, after what she went through, not only in the first round, but in the past year and a half, shows she got heart and determination.

    I hope she is the one to dethrone Rousey.

  2. I don’t believe she will dethrone Ronda….but she has the heart to come as close as anyone ever will…including cyborg. Ronda’s game is all about pressure at breakneck pace. I don’t think Cat can keep up with Ronda’s pace or technical saavy.

  3. gato puede hacer mucho contra ronda. lo que sucede es que no se ha conseguido con una que la knoquee y desangre. esa puede se
    r cats

  4. IMO, Ronda’s strength will be the decisive factor. She’s that athletic. But upsets can always happen. I am definitely rooting for Cat.

    As to Cyborg, I do think she would defeat Ronda.

    Ronda’s not THAT technical, and uses strength to defend submissions quite often (as we saw against Miesha and against Carmouche). Her athleticism won’t be a factor in a fight with Cyborg. I see Ronda muscling women around, whereas I see Cyborg ragdolling bigger women around. Also, I hear Ronda is not that good fighting off her back, from people who trained with her… Cyborg got the power to put her down and on her back… and that’s where Cyborg is the strongest.

    Then again, I don’t know if we will see the same Cyborg at 135 lbs. Let’s wait and see.

  5. Let me correct myself: Ronda’s judo is top notch. And so are her transitions. But her jiu jitsu and stand-up are quite lacking.
    People say her striking is improving, but I honestly can’t see it… the way she fights makes it very easy to hurt her.

  6. Good points Rafael, but I disagree. Cyborg probably would have beaten Rousey at 145 if they had fought in 2012…but not now…not ever at 135…and quite certainly not ever again at 145. Ronda’s improvement is obvious. She packs a wallop in both hands, both knees, and both elbows. Edmund has been bringing her along very slow and certain when it comes to striking. Her only flaw is boxing defence…slipping punches. McMann hit her with some very powerful shots so we know she hasn’t got a weak chin. You are correct in your accessment that her physical strength is a major component to her winning equation. I must take exception to your statement regarding her ju-jitzu skills. Both Ryron and Rener Gracie have conceded her skills as superior to all women in MMA and some men, for that matter. I cannot help but respect their opinion
    I hope more people like you and Andy chime in on this incredible sport of women’s martial arts. I played football in college and can honestly say I have never been as passionate about an athletic endeavor as I am now with mixed martial arts. One cannot help but stand in awe of these female competitors. They bring it 100% of the time!!!
    I actually got choked up watching Alpha Cat perform!!! Incredible heart! Uncompromising will#!

  7. Just food for thought: more than a couple of people who trained with both (some world champions, such as Rafael Mendes) said that Cyborg’s jiu jitsu is actually sharper and better than Rousey’s. Then, you have Cyborg vs Tito footage, and Rousey vs Mousasi footage for comparison. Cyborg came out looking better, IMO, even though Tito is naturally bigger than Mousasi. Still, Cyborg never showcases her jiu jitsu in MMA fights, so it’s hard to tell…

    I think that Cyborg at 135 lbs is up in the air, but, at 145 lbs., I favour her massively over Rousey. I don’t think Rousey’s “tough” chin is a given… Miesha Tate rocked her both times they fought, and so did McMann. Cyborg hits harder than both.
    Keep in mind that, except for Coenen (who was suplexed), after her fight with Carano, Cyborg dropped all her opponents in the initial seconds with strikes.

  8. Cyborg isnt a puncher she beats people off strength she hit finney & the lil chinese girl with everything and couldnt put them away. She may knock out ronda but its highly unlikely people tend to overrate her like she is the female mike tyson. She will not over power ronda at 145 unless she can stop ronda from throwing on her head which i dont see. Ronda would just run in and go for the clinch & work her inside game & the judo trips.This fight will be fought mostly on the ground. Rondas technique on the ground is better than cyborg but cyborg is very strong and submission savy. To say ronda would have no chance against cyborg is your opinion but i strongly disagree.

  9. Im totally in love with cat like ronda she will always be involved in great fights. Her vs ronda will certainly be a war maybe fight of the century. I actually give cat a better chance than most for the simple fact that cat is submission savy enough to at least get out of those armbars. I dont see ronda knocking her out this will go at least 4 rounds. Rondas clinch game & athleticism will probably be the deciding factor. I cant wait tell this fight goes down.

  10. It is all about Ronda’s pace. Too much…too fast…too soon. Cat Zingano has proven her heart and her comeback ability but she doesn’t make it out of the first round with Ronda Rousey. Rousey knows she has the punching power to break her own small hands and will not take the chance on Zingano’s head. She will submit Zingano in the 1st round. Guaranteed!

  11. Ronda will never ever have any challengers that’s just sad a broad got to move down for ronda to maybe get challenged. Atleast jones, gsp, silva, Cain even Johnson has or had challengers that individually were viable. Every opponent she has & will come across except for maybe cyborg is gonna get subbed in the first round. I just don’t think it’s healthy for that weight class . Bethe, andrade, cat, holms, eye, mcmann, carano & depending on how cyborg looks at 135 all get submitted in the 1st rd. That pretty much the thought process of every pundit, fan & mma writer. I just have more respect for cat than to just dismiss her ground game & say huh lol she gonna get armbared in the 1st rd easy. She has pace too too much too fast too soon what does that even mean. Why should we even waste or time if it’s just gonna be that easy!?!?

  12. All you have to do is watch her previous fights, Jimmy. It is what it is…thats what it means! Her fight pace is too fast…too overwhelming for Cat Zingano if…Cat’s last two fights are any indication of her future performance. Like Meisha said in her interview…if Cat comes out like she did against Tate and Nunes, she is toast in the first round. Too fast a pace…too soon for any opponent to make adjustments, and way way too much overwhelming pressure for any opponent to handle. Like Nate the great Dias would say…It is what it is!!