A couple of days ago UFC officials announced that Dominick Cruz would be making his return to the octagon after an extended layoff to take on Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 178. Earlier today, Yahoo! Sports writer Kevin Iole confirmed that Cat Zingano will also be making her return at the very same event on September 27th in Las Vegas against ‘The Lioness’ herself, Amanda Nunes.
It’ll be 17 months and change since Zingano last made that emotional walk to the cage. Her UFC debut against Miesha Tate back at the TUF 17 finale last April saw her earn a spot as a TUF 18 coach opposite Ronda Rousey and a title shot against the champ upon completion of the season. A knee injury, further knee complications after surgery, and the passing of her husband were more than enough to keep Zingano away from the sport for nearly a year and a half. It was refreshing to see her perform this past weekend at the UFC Fan Expo in Vegas, even if it was only an exhibition bout, the consensus feeling was this was a sign she’d be back soon.
In Amanda Nunes, Zingano has a formidable and dangerous opponent to get herself back on track against. Zingano is already the #1 contender for Rousey’s belt as it stands today, but she needs a victory over Nunes to keep her spot. Nunes is 2-0 in her UFC career thus far. Her wins over Germaine de Randamie and Shiela Gaff were both of the violent and quick variety. A win for Nunes over the undefeated Zingano means she could steal her spot. That is if a certain ‘Cyborg,’ ‘Preacher’s Daughter,’ or the one they call ‘Conviction‘ doesn’t sneak in and take it.
Here’s what UFC 178 looks like so far:
• Light Heavyweight Title Bout: Jon Jones (C) (20-1) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (16-2)
• Middleweight Bout: Tim Kennedy (18-4) vs. Yoel Romero (8-1)
• Bantamweight Bout: Dominick Cruz (19-1) vs. Takeya Mizugaki (20-7-2)
• Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Cat Zingano (8-0) vs. Amanda Nunes (9-3)