UFC 205 Breakdown: Miesha Tate vs Raquel Pennington

Miesha TatePrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the opening bout of the UFC 205 PPV as Miesha Tate fights for the first time since losing her women’s bantamweight title as she faces veteran bantamweight Raquel Pennington.   Raquel Pennington (Record: 8-5, +150 Underdog, Fighter Grade: C+) An Ultimate Fighter Season 18 semifinalist, Raquel Pennington was one of the first female fighters signed to the UFC. In the three years she’s been in the organization, she’s fought seven times in the UFC amassing a 5-2 record. She’s been in the best form of her career winning her last three fights submitting Jessica Andrade and decision wins over Bethe Correia and Elizabeth Phillips. A high school sports standout, Pennington was a well-rounded athlete before getting her start training in MMA at 19 years of age. Pennington has a balanced skill set. She averages 3.96 significant strikes per minute in the cage and successfully scoring on 51% of those strikes. She does well to combine punches and kicks for a varied striking attack. Her wrestling ability is underrated having scored takedowns in five of her seven UFC bouts. While Pennington is no stranger to a good stand up exchange, perhaps where she is most dangerous is in transitions in and out of the clinch. She does extremely well to find the neck and work in submission attempts. She’s gotten both Jessica Andrade and Ashlee Evans-Smith in that fashion. Pennington, at times, can be a bit stagnant at times in the standing exchanges allowing her opponent back into rounds. Otherwise, she’s a very capable of fighter and a bit underrated against comparable competition.   Miesha Tate (Record: 18-6, -170 Favorite, Fighter Grade: B+) The high level bantamweight enters UFC 205 coming off her title loss to Amanda Nunes. The longtime title contender has faced a who’s who of women’s bantamweights including Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey. When looking at Miesha Tate, she doesn’t have a physical appearance that threatens people. It’s her determination that is her biggest asset. She has a never say die attitude and is as resilient as they come inside the octagon. Her biggest detriment in the cage is that she’s hittable and will take damage, but she works to push the pace of her fights and has readily been able to find ways to get her fights to the mat. On the ground, she is excellent at maintaining positions and wearing out her opponents. Whether it’s by ground and pound or submission attempts, she really makes her opponents work. Tate’s conditioning is excellent and tends to get better as her fights progress. If an opponent is able to beat Tate is typically early in her fights. As the rounds pass, Tate’s confidence and ability to control opponents improves making her a difficult opponent to beat.   Match-up Perhaps the toughest test to date for the surging Raquel Pennington as she faces former UFC champion Miesha Tate at UFC 205. In terms of overall ability, Pennington is one of the better fighters in the division with her varied striking attack and her underrated grappling skill set. She has faltered at points due to inactivity in the cage and not pouncing on situations to close out fights. That will likely come back to haunt her in this fight with Miesha Tate. The Washington state native is as resilient as they come inside the Octagon. She’s improved her striking quite a bit in her time in the UFC, but will be at a disadvantage in that regard to the harder hitting and more technical striker in Pennington. Tate knows she needs to bring this fight to the mat. She averages over two takedowns per 15 minutes in the cage and with Pennington’s takedown defense at under 70% there’s a high likelihood that Tate will succeed in bringing the fight to the ground. Look for Pennington to have some mild success in the standup, but for Tate to dominate the grappling exchanges and either win by submission or clear decision. This is a different level of competition for Pennington and I don’t see her passing this test.

Written by Jay Primetown

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