Miesha Tate Triumphs In Return To MMA At UFC On ESPN 26Following a layoff of more than four and a half years, former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha “Cupcake” Tate made a triumphant return to competition tonight at UFC on ESPN 26: “Makhachev vs Moises.” Tate stopped the retiring Marion “The Belizean Bruiser” Reneau in round three.

Tonight’s victory was Tate’s first since she captured the title at UFC 196 in March 2016, while Reneau capped off her 11-year career. Also on the UFC on ESPN 26 card, Amanda “Amandinha” Lemos steamrolled former Invicta FC contender Montserrat “Conejo” Ruiz in a brief strawweight matchup.


Tate (19-7-0), who had retired from MMA competition following her defeat at UFC 205, showed off improvements in almost every area tonight as she kept Reneau (9-8-1) on the defensive with effective jabs and combinations on the feet. As the opening round entered its final minute, Tate took Reneau down and she passed to half-guard before time expired.

Reneau opened the second round with a nice right hook, but she was soon backed up by more jabs from Tate, who overcame a fence grab from Reneau and took her down to the mat. Reneau worked for a kimura from the bottom, but Tate defended well and she landed elbows from the top. Tate stood up twice and re-entered Reneau’s guard, where she continued to strike until the end of the round.

In the final round, Tate blocked a head kick and flurried with punches to Reneau’s body before backing her up with a hard jab. She took Reneau down and Reneau almost scrambled into a rear crucifix. Tate maintained top position and then took Reneau’s back. She flattened Reneau out and landed a series of punches to the sides of her head until the fight was waved off at the 1:53 mark of round three.

Tate clearly showed that she had been working hard on her technique during her preparation for tonight’s return, and the result was her first victory via a form of knockout since October 2009. Tate made her intentions known after the bout that she is firmly targeting a title fight in the future, and tonight’s performance made a strong case for her inclusion in a title eliminator later this year.


Lemos (10-1-1) wasted no time in claiming her latest UFC victory, as she handed Ruiz (10-2-0) the first stoppage loss of her career. She opened the action with a head kick and a right hand as Ruiz moved forward, but that did little to slow Ruiz down. A short right hook and a follow-up left cross did far more damage, however, and Ruiz crashed face-first to the mat. Lemos dove in with a hammerfist strike to Ruiz’s face before the fight could be stopped and a dazed Ruiz got back to her feet. She stumbled backward to the cage and did not appear to be aware of what had happened.

The official time of Lemos’s TKO victory came at the 35-second mark of round one, earning her the fastest finish of the night. Lemos has now won four straight fights, including three first-round finishes, and she appears poised to enter strawweight title contention after tonight’s quick and dominant win.



(Photo Credit: UFC)