Wow! Probably the most uttered word this weekend after Holly Holm’s domination of the polarising, fallen star Ronda Rousey.
Coming into the fight Rousey had obliterated all of her opponents, most in the first round. She had shown excellent grappling when in clinch range and some nice dirty boxing. She had also come under much criticism for her sloppy, porous striking and some questioned her fight IQ – I happened to be one of them -.
Rousey always had a distinct lack of ring raft when trying to work to her favoured range. She bounces, stays upright, shows no head movement and eats punches when trying to close the distance. Just generally making herself a big, easily hittable target. Thus far she had managed to weather a few storms and her sheer will and determination were enough against opponents who stayed static, planted their feet and swung with Rousey as she came in. Holm had no such notions of doing the same.
There were small portion of people on the Addicted to the UFC group on Facebook the saw the flaws in Rousey and felt Holm had the tools and stylistic match up to make this a troublesome fight for Rousey. I can safely say though although a few of us thought this I don’t think any of us were really expecting what happened in the fight. There certainly weren’t many if any shouting Holm by KO, with Tapology being a testament to that.
It was a clinic by Holm. Her superior footwork and ability to circle, use of range with her long striking and her evasiveness and shot selection were just brilliant. Even when Rousey got in to clinch range Holm used her long limbs well to keep enough distance between Rousey’s body and her own making it very difficult for Rousey to get any leverage. Holm would visibly frustrate Rousey doing so and Rousey just kept the same flawed gameplan.
I feel the blame is of equal measures on both Rousey and her coach Edmond Tarverdyan. Rousey’s general lack of fight IQ through both of her most recent fights has been shocking, and Edmond’s insistence on blowing smoke up her arse and telling her she was doing well between rounds one and two was probably some of the worst coaching we’ve seen in recent times. Edmond has been proven to be a poor coach countless times over from his record of fighters such as Ellenberger, Browne, Shafir, Duke and Baszler. All of whom have been on the receiving end of brutal knockouts in their time with Edmond. Rousey has now been added to the list of fighters the narcissist has coached poorly.
This loss for Rousey is no doubt a devastating one but from the sounds of it at the post fight presser Dana thinks the rematch makes sense – at least financially- so she will more than likely get a shot at redemption, undeservedly might I add.
Now onto Holm.
Holm had long been considered a good foe to Rousey in my opinion. She offered serious potential threats and her fight IQ along with a Jackson/Winkeljohn gameplan already stood her leagues above previous opponents.
The real story here was Holm dictating the fight, managing her distance well, circling, engaging only when needed and her shot selection was impeccable. Rousey had no plan B if she couldn’t get the clinch and she was exposed for this by Holm.
I think we may have a scenario here where Holm is to Rousey as Hallman was to Hughes or Horn to Sonnen. Some fighters just have the others number or match up well stylistically. If the rematch is made I feel we may see a similar scenario play out.
If the rematch doesn’t come to fruition then this makes things very interesting. For as good as Holm looked against Rousey she is very beatable to the other females.
Rousey’s over aggression, lack of ring craft and upright stance made her an easy target for Holm. Almost tailor made for a striker who fights long and moves well. Other fighter such as Nunes, Tate, Zingano etc don’t use this same style so I’d actually put a lot more stock in one of those females beating Holm than Rousey. Perspective is key here.
Holm has just had the biggest win on the biggest stage of her career and I for one am elated that she won. Not only as I’m a fan of her style but -and this is a bit shitty of me to be honest- but because she totally cleaned Ronda’s clock.
For those that are aware of my disliking of Rousey -if you are a member of Addicted then I’d imagine you are- I feel we got to a real point of over saturation and the exposure levels have really made Rousey an unlikable figure. Her constant presence in the media have drawn a light to her past. A lot of it negative and some of that making the mainstream media really -for me at least- made having Rousey at the forefront of the UFC and MMA in general a blinkered move. Especially considering her links to domestic violence in a time when MMA is getting a bad wrap for that exact thing. Probably one of the best things that’s going to come out of this situation is that when the aftermath of this fight dies down Ronda won’t be an ever present in the media and thus should have less chance to have a negative impact on the perception of MMA.
My fellow MMA writer Stephen Rivers mentioned in an article he penned before UFC 193 that should Rousey lose then her past may be scrutinised more heavily and would lead to people offering up these things surrounding Rousey as a form of excuse or reasoning . I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. It is true coming into the bout Rousey had an awful lot going on around her. She had been promoting the fight heavily in interviews, on talk shows and more, she had friction between her mother and her long time coach, her coach was having financial woes which she possibly may have the burden of helping him out and there has been a whirlwind of articles surrounding her previous admission about domestic violence in not only the MMA media but the mainstream media too. It’s understandable if these things are offered as a reason for her poor performance as she did seem different in the build up to the fight. There seemed to be a distinct lack of focus. Did that translate to her not having a proper gamelan? My answer would be no, but nevertheless the reasons are understandable.
Rousey did mention prior to UFC 193 that she would be taking a little time out after the bout. At this point it seems to be a well timed thought. Hopefully she recuperates and gets her ego in check as for as much as I dislike her persona she is still a world class athlete.
Respect to Holly Holm, the most decorated female fighter of our generation and respect to Jackson/Winkeljohn and all others who had a part in Holm’s victory.
Photo credit: MMAFighting.com, RollingStone.com, FoxSports.com