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Why Rhonda Rousey will Probably Win vs. Holly Holm at UFC 193, and Why You Should Watch the Fight Anyway

If Holly Holm was fighting anyone less than Rhonda Rousey on UFC 193 this Saturday, then the UFC hype-train would have some top-grade coal to burn. I’m not saying that Holm can’t win; her MMA record stands at 9-0, and that’s nothing to scoff at. Some argue that Holm has been fed nothing but tomato cans, but her recent victories over Raquel Pennington and Marion Reneau show otherwise (and on that topic, I don’t think anyone with the guts to step into the cage should be called a can). But it wouldn’t matter if Holm’s record was 500-0. Rousey imposes her game and exploits weaknesses in ways that Holm’s opponents have barely, weakly tried to. So while I believe Rousey will win, I’m specifically interested in the methods she’ll use to do so. And if Holm KO’s her, then I look forward to completely re-thinking some of the things that I think about MMA.

Holm is 33-2-3 in pro boxing, and some regard her as one of the best female welterweight boxers ever. In her recent fights, she’s shown a reliance on leg kicks, jabs, and teeps from a solid distance, out-scoring and wearing down her opponents over time. Rousey, however, is a steamroller with the brain of a chessmaster. Upsets can happen, but they happen for specific reasons, and Rousey is masterful at quickly shutting down those reasons and cutting down on variables.

If Holm doesn’t catch Rousey sleeping, then she’ll have to win by drawing the fight out on her terms. Rousey has never let anyone school her like this, because she either brawls her way out of problems or takes things to the ground. Fun fact: Holm has a 100% takedown-defense rate. Fun counter-fact: the takedown attempts from Holm’s opponents have been noncommittal and lackluster. If you know anything about Rousey, then you know that’s NOT how her Judo and wrestling work. Also, we’ve yet to see Holm’s ground-game manifest in MMA.

So yes, Holm can win. But in order to do so, I think that one of three things will have to happen:

  1. Holm will have to capitalize on Rousey’s tendency to leave her chin up when she brawls. Given Holm’s boxing credentials, she certainly can do this if Rousey gets overconfident.
  2. Holm will have to draw the fight out and land more points-shots on Rousey than Rousey lands on her.
  3. Holm will have to have an amazing ground-game or counter-ground-game that we’ve yet to see.

I only see Rousey losing due to the first reason. It’s the reason why Anderson Silva got out-struck by Chris Weidman in their first match, and no successful fighter is impervious to such overconfidence. I don’t see Holm winning by method #2; that’s the WORST strategy to employ against an experienced, natural talent like Rousey. And lastly, I don’t see #3 happening at all. I don’t think there’s a reason to. Sure, I’d be pleasantly surprised if Holm had secret and amazing submission skills, but I know enough about Rousey to not bank on that.

So yes, Rousey vs. Holm will be absolutely worth watching. But I think it’ll be worth watching from a technical standpoint. Rousey should win this fight, but the fight’s excitement should stem from how she does so. Time will tell whether she exploits Holm’s untested groundwork, or stands with her to prove a point.

JJ Mike


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