Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes:
It may not be the conventional choice, but I actually find it to be an important landmark that the women’s bantamweight championship bout has been moved to the main event slot after a week of all-out madness. The champion has certainly come into her own recently with five straight victories over top contenders. ‘The Lioness’ is a ferocious early-round fighter and almost comes out of the gate smoking, but “Cupcake” has shown time and again that she has the heart to weather a storm and take advantage of worn-down opponents. It’ll be interesting to see if Tate almost missing weight plays into the result, but ultimately the match-up couldn’t be much better for the new champ. If Nunes gasses, she’ll be wide open to be put away. Tate by third-round TKO.
Tate faces Nunes in the first title defense of her reign as champion, and I don’t see this as a huge challenge for her. Interesting stat time: every women’s bantamweight title defense since 2011 has featured Ronda Rousey and/or Miesha Tate. I don’t see this changing after UFC 200. No doubt Nunes is a force to be reckoned with, but she just lacks what Tate has only recently found, and that’s the x-factor. Tate by decision.
In my opinion, Tate will simply be too well rounded and too experienced for the Brazilian challenger. Nunes may hold the pure striking advantage in this bout, as nine of her 12 professional victories have come by way of knockout, but “Cupcake” has also showed improved boxing techniques. I feel as if the champion’s wrestling and grappling will get the job done however, as I expect her to control Nunes for the majority of the fight. Tate by unanimous decision.
Tate is finally the UFC women’s bantamweight champion after winning the belt in miraculous fashion against Holly Holm at UFC 196 in March. Making your first career title defense against a very game Amanda Nunes, however, is a tall task for anyone in the women’s 135-pound division.
Nunes has looked amazing since her last loss to Cat Zingano back in 2014, most recently dominating Valentina Shevchenko with a unanimous decision victory in their at UFC 196. Though Nunes has looked like the best version of herself at this point of her career, Tate has been around the game for quite awhile, has faced the best the world has ever had to offer in women’s MMA, and that will play tremendously in her favor tonight. Tate via unanimous decision.