Former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate made her flyweight debut at UFC Long Island on Saturday taking on No. 3 ranked Lauren Murphy. The bout kicked off the event’s main card action at UBS Arena.
Murphy connected with a right hand early. She landed her jab and pressed forward. Tate looked to get the fight to the ground, but Murphy successfully sprawled. Tate’s jab began finding a home, but Murphy changed levels and briefly took Tate down. Tate quickly got back to her feet but Murphy keep the pressure on inside the clinch. Tate turned Murphy and secured a takedown, but as soon as Murphy hit the canvas she bounced back to her feet. They exchanged knees to the body before separating. In the closing seconds of the round, Murphy landed her jab.
Tate came out aggressive in the second frame, but was met with jabs from Murphy. Tate responded with a right hand as blood started to trickle from Tate’s nose. Murphy changed levels and put Tate on her back. Tate rolled and tried to stand but absorbed several right hands. Inside the clinch, Murphy landed a clean elbow on the break. Tate pressed forward but Murphy continued to land her jab. Murphy landed another elbow and Tate responded with a counter right hand. Tate closed the distance and the two battled inside the clinch. Tate connected with a big elbow. Murphy responded with knees to the body.
Tate’s right eye was badly swollen heading into the final round. She changed levels and worked to get the fight to the ground. Murphy stuffed the attempt and went back to connecting with her jab. Tate closed the distance but Murphy landed a big right hand. Tate continued to press forward and the two exchanged punches. Inside the clinch, Murphy appeared to be the stronger athlete. In the closing seconds, Murphy landed a combination.
After 15 minutes of fighting, the judges scored the fight for Murphy by unanimous decision. The scorecards read 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.
“I’ve dreamed about moments like this my whole career, and when I’m healthy and I’m focused, I’m a force to be reckoned with in this division,” Murphy said following the win.
With Murphy solidifying her ranking in the division. she wants to face the winner of No. 4 ranked Jessica Andrade and No. 6 ranked Manon Fiorot. The two are scheduled to meet at UFC Fight Night 209 in Paris, France on Sept. 3.
“I’m going to be in France on September 3rd. I’m going to be sitting there cage side and I’m going to be watching the fight between Jessica Andrade and Monon Fiorot. I want to fight the winner of that fight. That fight is probably for No. 1 contender. I want to come in and I want to beat the No. 1 contender,” Murphy said.
“I’m not done until I say I’m done, and I’m not done. I’m not going to stop until I’m the champion.