Former UFC womens bantamweight champion Miesha Tate returns for the first time since losing her belt to Amanda Nunes at July’s UFC 200. Tate’s UFC 205 opponent will be The Ultimate Fighter alumnus Raquel Pennington who is currently on a three fight winning streak. Coincidentally, Pennington was a member of Miesha’s team in the TUF 18 show.

Odds on Cupcake

Miesha Tate opened as a -275 favorite against Raquel Pennington’s +215. That’s the highest opening odds for Tate since fighting Rin Nakai in 2014. Currently, Tate’s worst-best numbers are -190 to -170 while Pennington’s are +145 and +164, respectively.

Oddsmakers have given this fight a -165 to go the full route and a +165 not to go the distance. That’s despite the fact that Pennington’s last two wins were by decision and four of Tate’s last five victories reached the final horn.

Big Step Up

Having said Tate was Rocky’s coach in the TUF says a lot about the difference in experience between these two female bantamweights. Cupcake Tate is a veteran of 24 fights while Pennington has fought 13 times. But that’s not really the big difference between the two.

It’s the quality of opposition that they’ve faced. Sure, Pennington has faced (and lost to) the likes of Holly Holm and Cat Zingano in the past. But Miesha Tate has almost exclusively fought the upper echelon ladies in the past five years. She’s even captured both the Strikeforce and UFC bantamweight titles along the way.

Having said that, Rocky is a downgrade in opposition for Tate and Tate a big step up for Pennington. This is just an intangible though but one that’s hard to ignore.

Striking Edge

The difference in experience doesn’t mean Pennington cannot win this bout. By all means, Rocky has the edge in the striking department, averaging twice as many strikes per minute as Miesha Tate does at 3.96 versus 1.98.

That difference is huge considering Tate’s 51% striking defense isn’t the best in the business. However, Tate makes up for that with the better grappling game. Cupcake averages 2.15 takedowns per 15 minutes against Pennington’s 1.5. That’s not much but once the fight gets down and ugly, we know that’s where Miesha Tate thrives. At 1.8 submission attempts per 15 minutes, Tate is the more active and aggressive fighter on the ground.  

That said, Pennington has to keep the fight on her feet to maintain her advantage. Not only will she be content with striking from a distance, she’d love to brawl with Tate whom she can easily overpower. That will backfire, though, as Tate is going to put her down as many times as she can and win round after round on top position.

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