The featured preliminary card bout at UFC Austin at the Moody Center on Saturday saw the return of ex-champ Miesha Tate to the bantamweight division. There, she was greeted by another fighter making a different sort of return: Julia Avila.
Taking time off to give birth to her daughter, and thanks to injury, Avila was returning to action for the first time in nearly two years. “Cupcake” Tate, meanwhile, was looking to get back in the win column after an unsuccessful move down to flyweight.
Tate came right out and punched her take into a takedown attempt, putting Julia Avila’s back to the fence. Avila seemingly thought of defending with a guillotine, but didn’t have it and Tate completed the attempt moments later. “Cupcake” soon moved to side control, then spun around, moved to north-south, then side control on the opposite side. After a bit of knee-on-belly, Tate again landed in north-south, and in the next transition took the back, getting one hook in.
Unable to get her second hook in, Tate settled for applying a neck crank. Avila didn’t seem to have much answer, and simply tried to survive. Which she did, in a sense— but Tate wound up in full mount with Avila on her back, trying to buck the ex-champ off. Tate mixed in a wee bit of ground n’ pound before taking the back, and though she was a bit high up, Tate recovered, got a body lock in place, and began dropping elbows. As Avila tried to cover up, Tate dropped more punches and elbows, alternating those with choke attempts. After five minutes, Tate had an argument for a 10-8 round, and Avila had to go back to the drawing board.
Julia Avila tried to come out firing in the second. Miesha Tate, however, quickly changed levels, got her hands on Avila, hoisted her up, and slammed her down. Avila looked for a choke off her back, but Tate freed herself, and went to work in guard. Not for long, as the transition to north-south followed, though Tate was warned for holding the fence. Tate began dropping hammerfists, hit the body, then went to the head some more, with a “Miesha” chant breaking out in the arena. Tate was just about in side control, and Avila, again, appeared to have no answer for Miesha Tate’s top game. From a knee-on-belly position, more ground n’ pound flowed for Tate, who transitioned to the back with about 30 seconds left in the round.
Another dominant round from the former champ, leaving Avila no choice but to find a finish in round three. Instead, she was taken down early once again. Avila was back up to her feet quickly this time— only to be planted on her back once more.
This time, Avila got to her knees. The problem being, Miesha Tate was on her back. Tate got under the neck, and this time, there was no mistake— Avila tapped to the rear-naked choke, and Miesha Tate had her most dominant win in years!