Tate (17-5) earned a hard-fought unanimous decision against Jessica Eye on Saturday, extending her win streak to four. The bantamweight bout co-headlined UFC on Fox inside United Center.
The former Strikeforce title-holder ate a fair share of punches in the three-round fight but still emerged with a decisive victory. All three judges scored the fight 30-27 for Tate.
The win could set up a third fight between Tate and UFC champion Ronda Rousey (11-0). Rousey won the first two via armbar, but Tate managed to take her into the third round in the second meeting. Rousey is scheduled to defend her title against Bethe Correia at UFC 190 next weekend in Rio de Janeiro.
Eye (11-3) got off to a hot start, as she had an easy time hitting Tate with the counter jab. She capitalized off the jab at times, snapping Tate's head back with the right hand. Tate was a little wild in some of her entries, throwing herself into wide right hands, for which Eye made her pay.
Eventually, one of the wide right hands landed, however, as Tate dropped Eye with an overhand right late in the round. Eye recovered quickly and managed to sit up and get a hold of Tate to avoid further punishment, but Tate finished the round in top control to take an early lead on the scorecards.
Another overhand right hurt Eye in the following round. The 28-year-old bantamweight fell backward onto the canvas, where Tate followed with hammerfists. In the closing seconds of the frame, Tate rolled for a guillotine attempt.
Eye responded well in the final round, but it wasn't enough to change the result. She hit Tate with a few inside leg kicks that had her visibly wobbling. Eye struggled to defend the takedown, though, and spent a portion of the round on her back. She forced referee Yves Lavigne into standing up the fight with 30 seconds left and scored one big knee up the middle as Tate drove into her.
Afterward, UFC president Dana White confirmed a third bout between bantamweight champion Rousey and Tate.
"Miesha is such a durable human being; she will stand in front of you and take what you've got," Dana White said. "She was getting picked apart in that first round and she keeps coming forward. She lands where she has to land, she does what she has to do to get the win and she's worked her way back to Ronda Rousey."
A confident Tate explained why she'll do better the third time around versus Rousey.
:I feel like I made some really necessary changes in this camp [for Eye] and one of them was I'm a better athlete now," Tate said. "I felt so much stronger and more powerful. I feel like the power I deliver behind my hands is absolutely necessary -- not only for Ronda, for everybody, but especially for Ronda because she doesn't like to be hit. I need that finishing power on the feet."
Tate has suffered just three losses in her past 13 fights. She is 2-0 in 2015, with a majority decision win against former title contender Sara McMann in January.
Barboza navigates past Felder
The lightweight bout was highly entertaining and extremely technical, featuring two of the best strikers in the division. Barboza (16-3) landed with slightly more regularity, particularly in the deciding third round.
All three judges scored it in Barboza's favor 29-28. ESPN.com saw it the same.
It was a bounce-back win for the 29-year-old Brazilian, who suffered a decision loss to Michael Johnson in February. Barboza is now 3-1 in his past four.
"It's a great victory; everybody can see he's a very tough guy," Barboza said. "I hope the UFC gives me someone ranked in front of me. I'm ready for this. I've never felt like this before. I'm ready for big, big wars in the cage."
According to Fightmetric, Barboza outlanded Felder (11-1) in total strikes 64 to 50. His most effective technique was kicks to the body, which left harsh, red welts all over Felder's rib cage.
In the first round, Barboza's right eye started to swell from the first left hook Felder landed. The swelling didn't seem to bother Barboza much, but it turned into a cut in the second round that slowly leaked blood into his eye. After Barboza landed a grazing spinning back fist (Felder's signature punch), the two touched gloves. Moments later, Barboza dropped Felder to his knees with an accidental spinning back kick to the groin.
Felder started to seize momentum in the middle round, as he continued to throw one spinning back fist after another. Barboza shot for his one and only takedown in the final minute, which Felder defended.
It was almost all Barboza in the third frame, however. He mixed things up well, landing a handful of outside leg kicks, body kicks and one hard left hook to the body. Felder, in a sign of frustration, slapped his own side after one body kick landed. At the end of the round, he moved in for a bodylock but couldn't convert a takedown.
Felder drops to 2-1 in the UFC. Barboza is now 10-3, including five finishes.
Lauzon stops Gomi, refrains from delivering further punishment
Lauzon (25-10) finished Gomi with strikes to the head, after taking his back in a scramble. The official time of the stoppage was 2:37 of the round.
What made the end of the fight unique is Lauzon essentially stopped the fight himself. After landing three hard left hands to Gomi's unprotected face, Lauzon stood up and walked away, even though referee Herb Dean hadn't waved the contest off. After an awkward moment, Dean finally called off the fight as Gomi (35-11) was clearly dazed and could barely stand.
"He was completely unconscious," Lauzon said. "He was down. I should have kept punching, that's the smart thing to do. I got off him and was like, 'This fight is over.' I walked off, and Dean is looking at me confused. I was getting ready to run over there and jump on him again."
It was a beautiful performance by Lauzon start to finish. He fought a very calm fight, standing just outside Gomi's boxing range on the feet. After eating one right hand to the body, Lauzon hit Gomi with a left and changed levels for an effective single leg. In the ensuing scramble, he took Gomi's back.
Known mostly for his dangerous submissions, Lauzon didn't look for a choke once he got Gomi's back -- preferring to land punches instead. It is the sixth knockout of his career and only the second time Gomi has been finished via strikes. Lauzon improves to 3-1 in his past four fights.