With the first ever women's fight in UFC history just under two weeks away, the promotion has now booked its second bout as former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate will finally make her Octagon debut.
UFC officials announced on Monday that Tate will face Invicta veteran and undefeated prospect Cat Zingano at The Ultimate Fighter finale on April 13 from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
UFC Brasil @ufc_brasil
2ª luta feminina confirmada no #UFC / @CatZingano vs. @MieshaTate no #TUF 17 Finale 13/4 #UFCnoCombate2/11/2013, 7:29:31 PM
(Translation: second confirmed female fight in UFC: Cat Zingano vs. Miesha Tate TUF 17 finale on 4/13)
Tate also announced on Monday via press release that she has signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC overall.
“It is every mixed martial artist's dream to compete in the UFC. It's exciting knowing that the deal is officially in place, and I can begin working to book my first UFC opponent. I want to thank the UFC and Malki Kawa for helping to make this dream a reality,” Tate said.
“The ultimate goal for me is to win the UFC women's bantamweight title. My training has never been stronger, and I feel I am putting myself in a position to become the best in the world. This contract only serves as validation that my hard work is paying off, but also as motivation to continue to push myself to new levels.”
Tate and Zingano will follow the lead of UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey as she debuts women's fighting in the Octagon when she meets Liz Carmouche at next weekend's UFC 157 card in California. Not only will Rousey and Carmouche face off on the card as the first ever women's MMA bout in the UFC, but it will also headline the show and officially inaugurate the 135-pound women's title.
Miesha Tate makes her UFC debut after a very successful career in Strikeforce where she served as champion after defeating Marloes Coenen in 2011. Less than a year later, Tate was caught up in one of the biggest rivalries in women's MMA history during a feud with new UFC champion Ronda Rousey.
The two fighters verbally sparred for months leading up to the fight, but once they met Rousey was able to catch Tate in her signature armbar, ending the match at 4:27 in the first round.
Tate bounced back following the loss and defeated Julie Kedzie at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman later in the year in what was judged as one of the best fights for all of 2012.
Cat Zingano comes to the UFC with an undefeated record as a pro fighter, but has no easy task in front of her facing Tate at the TUF 17 finale show.
At 7-0, Zingano is a tough challenger who has picked up wins over veterans such as Carina Damm, Takayo Hashi and Raquel Pennington. Now the Colorado native has the chance to make a huge impact in her UFC debut when she faces former Strikeforce champ Miesha Tate at The Ultimate Fighter finale in April.
Damon Martin is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report.