Miesha Tate is back and better than ever.
After calling it a career nearly five years ago, the former bantamweight champion returned with a punishing performance to stop Marion Reneau at 1:53 in the third round of the UFC Vegas 31 main co-event. Tate didn’t look like she had skipped a beat during her absence as she showed off a powerful strike and dominant ground play en route to the TKO stoppage.
Now that she’s back with a win, Tate is already considering the title race.
“I’m back,” Tate said afterward. ” I am so happy. It has been a lot of hard work. I am here and I am back. With all due respect, I’m not here just for a fight, I’m here for a belt.
There didn’t appear to be any ring rust for Tate as the former champion had confidence in her hands while engaging in trade with Reneau at the feet. While both fighters were able to connect with solid shots, Tate eventually turned to her grappling hook as she looked for a takedown, then began to smash Reneau in the melee against the cage.
Tate closed the first round with a well-timed takedown as she began to pressure Reneau from above while looking to set up her pitch and pound as well as her overall grappling game.
While Reneau was able to connect with some solid punches once she got back on her feet in the second round, Tate matched her strike for a strike before then moving on to another out.
Tate was choking on his ground control, pounding with punches and elbows, including a blow that saw blood begin to flow from Reneau’s nose.
With five minutes remaining, Tate hit Reneau with a stiff left hand in the middle at the start of round three, which led to another strikeout against the cage. From there, Tate looked like she was about to take the back for a submission, but instead she just started raining punches from the top.
Trapped in the cage, Reneau had nowhere to go as she just covered up and the ref had no choice but to stop the fight with Tate securing her first victory since her UFC title in 2016. .
While Tate will now move forward in her career, Reneau had previously announced that Saturday night would serve as her retirement fight and she came out gracefully regardless of the loss.
“I’m glad I did the way I did,” said Reneau. “To be able to fight it, I gave everything I had. That’s it. This is what I have left. I say goodbye.