This Saturday’s UFC 193 event sees the ladies take the stage as both the Woman’s Bantamweight and Strawweight titles are on the line.
The UFC wisely hedges their bets by slating a Heavyweight tilt featuring a hometown golden boy in a rematch of a Fight-of-the-Ever candidate. This inevitable slugfest was scheduled no doubt to bolster ticket and PPV buys.
Another hometown boy in a Middleweight showdown and an entertaining Heavyweight battle to open the main card and we’ve got what’s sure to be a fun-filled Saturday.
Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm
135lb wrecking ball Ronda Rousey (12-0;6-0) needs no fanfare. Her history, both recent and otherwise, can be seen from Google Earth as her legend continues to grow. Holly Holm (9-0;3-0), on the other hand, is the dark horse coming into this one.
Holm is undefeated in her career, including two wins in the UFC. While her boxing credentials are undeniable, and her stand-up skills are formidable, “The Preacher’s Daughter” has yet to show, in the UFC, the fearsome striking she displayed early in her professional MMA career.
While many have been anxious to see this matchup as a showcase of Rousey’s ever-improving stand-up skills, that particular avenue is the one which will put the UFC’s typical marketing to the test in terms of Rousey’s “toughest test to-date.”
Whether the champ decides to stand and trade, or go back to basics in wrapping up and grounding her opponent, the onus will be on Holm to try to rekindle her kick-heavy, dominant striking game that we saw from her in her fights on the regional scene, in order to keep “Rowdy” at bay, lest she become the latest name on the list of Rousey victims.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Valerie Letourneau
Speaking of wrecking balls, the one they call “Joanna Champion” (10-0;4-0) has been doing just as much talking with her hands as she has been with a microphone in her face. Coming off her absolute destruction of Jessica Penne, JJ looks like the proverbial immovable object atop the Strawweight mountain. The intelligence in her fists is one of the most valuable tools at her disposal, showing not only power and ferocity, but the ability to flurry and fluster opponents and pick her shots to either end fights or completely dominate.
JJ will now legitimately be faced with her most dangerous, and durable, threat. “Trouble” (8-3;3-0) is riding a three-fight winning streak and, while those wins have all been decisions, she has shown poise, heart and a chin of stone, not to mention a dangerous muay Thai game. In her UFC debut, she showed incredible resiliency after damaging her orbital and cheekbones before turning it up through the rest of the fight and ultimately coming out victorious.
Jedrzejczyk is a brutal obstacle for anyone looking for the belt, but Letourneau is definitely not going to be an easy out.
Mark Hunt vs Antonio Silva
In 2013, Mark Hunt (10-10-1;5-4-1) and Antonio Silva (19-7-1;3-4-1) combined for one of the best Heavyweight battles in UFC history in their first fight and are running it back on Saturday.
Both sluggers are just 1-3-1 in their last five fights. Hunt has lost his past two by TKO, but with the power possessed by the “Super Samoan” it only takes a windup and swing to change his recent fortunes. Hunt will be looking to end that swing on the chin of “Bigfoot.”
Silva is coming off a TKO of Soa Palelei, but that was the only win in the Brazilian’s last half-dozen fights. Much like Hunt, the Brazilian has the power to end fights and start winning streaks attached to the end of his arms, so his recent tribulations have the possibility of changing direction in a hurry.
Regardless of their recent records, these two bruisers will try to recapture the magic they created in their first bout, which was arguably the most justified case for a draw in UFC history.
Uriah Hall vs Robert Whittaker
In a battle of surging, and perhaps perpetually underrated, Middleweights, Uriah Hall (12-5;5-1) will square off against hometown boy and TUF: Smashes winner, Robert Whittaker (14-4;5-2).
Prolific, if inconsistent, striker, Hall was most recently seen in a highlight reel knockout of fellow contender, Gegard Mousasi. “Primetime” has shown unbelievable flashes of brilliance in wracking up five wins in his last six fights, but, while his flashy style has turned heads on more than one occasion, he has yet to find the consistency he has needed to not be taken for granted at 185.
Whittaker, on the other hand, has looked outstanding, emerging victorious in his last three fights, including stoppages of Clint Hester and Brad Tavares, the latter coming in just 44 seconds.
Either of these TUF alumni can find themselves with the traction they need with a win on Saturday, and will no doubt look forward to another ranked opponent in their next step up the ladder at Middleweight.
Jared Rosholt vs Stefan Struve
Opening the main card is a Heavyweight bout that features a polarized clash of opposites.
6’2″ wrestler, Jared Rosholt (13-2;5-1) will take on 6’11” striker Stefan Struve in what has the potential to be an entertaining Heavyweight fight.
Rosholt is riding a very respectable record, as of late, winning nine of his last ten fights. His wrestling-heavy style doesn’t always play well to an action-thirsty crowd, but a record like the one possessed by the “Big Show” can’t be denied for long.
“Skyscraper” is fresh off of back-to-back losses to Hunt and Alistair Overeem, but with a four-fight win streak prior to those defeats, along with his already-established fanbase, unique stature and exciting, striking and submission-based fighting style, it won’t take much to put the Dutchman back in the mix at Heavyweight.
It will be interesting, to say the least, to see what this clash of styles yields. Let’s just hope for a combustible reaction, rather than an extinguishing one.
Preliminary Card: Fox Sports 1
Akbarh Arreola (23-9-1) vs Jake Matthews (9-1)
Kyle Noke (20-7-1) vs Peter Sobotta (15-4-1)
Anthony Perosh (15-9) vs Gian Villante (13-5)
Danny Martinez (17-7) vs Richie Vaculik (10-4)
Preliminary Card: Fightpass
Daniel Kelly (9-1) vs Steve Montgomery (8-3)
Steven Kennedy (22-7) vs Richard Walsh (8-4)
James Moontasri (8-3) vs Anton Zafir (7-1)
Ryan Benoit (8-3) vs Ben Nguyen (14-5)
Photo’s courtesy of Getty Images and MMA Fight Night Live