Miesha Tate looks strong in return, stops Marion Reneau


LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 17: (LR) Miesha Tate hits Marion Reneau in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 17, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC)

After nearly five years of inactivity, UFC Vegas 31 marked the return of former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate to the Octagon. For opponent Marion Reneau, the fight was the swan song of the 44-year-old Belizian Bruiser.

A woman comes back, a woman quits sports completely. Throughout the MMA stories, it was a good story, but only one fighter was going to have a happy ending Saturday in Las Vegas.

Reneau opened with a kick, while Tate, in his first appearance in the Octagon in years, had his jab early. Her right hand set up her entrances, and for the first two minutes, Tate was happy to grab onto the feet, catching up with Reneau at least once. Reneau answered her with a right hand, but had nothing to follow her. Tate eventually shot for an out with just over two minutes to go – but Reneau managed to stay on his feet as the pair battled in the clinch.

After a few trades until the last minute, Tate finally got the out. She would be forced to deal with a triangle and a few upkicks, but Tate managed to pass into half guard. This secured her the most likely turn, but she ran out of time.

The second round saw more stand-ups, with Tate leading the dance, but Reneau responding with a few right hands. Reneau stayed outside, circling, but soon enough Tate picked her up for teardown – resulting in a day-clear fence grab but only got a warning from the arbitrator. Thankfully, Tate got the emphatic takedown moments later, so the foul didn’t affect the fight.

Reneau worked on a bottom kimura as Tate landed elbows against the body. Reneau then received a toe warning in the fence as Tate backed up, then returned to the ground in half guard. Tate then landed sharp hammer fists and an elbow, bloody Reneau’s nose.

If ever there was a promising sign for Miesha Tate, it was that she actually looked more comfortable in the second round, and as a result, she came in in the final five minutes probably 20-18.

In the third, Tate hit Reneau in the first minute, but she quickly leveled up for a takedown, looking to end with a trip. Reneau fought this, but Tate stayed on the attempt to land it, switching to lateral control. From there she hung on and Reneau risked either abandoning her back or doing away with the mace. After Tate turned up the volume, the ref called, giving Tate the end of his first fight in years!

Miesha Tate may not be ready to jump straight into Amanda Nunes’ rematch. Yet after the victory she proclaimed “with all due respect, I’m not here just to fight, I’m here for the belt”. She’ll need a few more tune-up fights first, but Tate looked solid on Saturday – and she can certainly be competitive.

Official result: Miesha Tate won. Marion Reneau by TKO, Round 3, 1:53

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