Many of us are still reeling from UFC 193 and the loss suffered by the sport’s marquee superstar, former Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, in the Main Event just days ago. On top of being face-planted with a beautiful left head kick and eventually finished in the 2nd round, she was thoroughly dominated. Rousey looked frustrated and outmatched very early in what was a shockingly fast defeat. However, the real story is what comes next for the promotion’s first Women’s Champion after she returns from the little break she’s taking. In my opinion there are two paths before her, and either one will shape what comes for her career and ultimately her destiny. I know, the headiness of it all occurred to me when I thought of it too. There will be no middle ground for Ronda, I really feel she’s an all-or-nothing kind of gal. Will she become refocused and rededicated like GSP, who was similarly upset by Matt Serra all those years ago and STILL hasn’t lost? Or will she go in the same, downward direction Anderson Silva has continuously traveled since being upset by Chris Weidman? I’d guess that Rousey will be back, and with all of her competitive fires stoked. However, I would like to see her mother and her head coach work things out. There has to be something to her losing the first fight her mother isn’t cage-side.
As for the new Women’s Bantamweight Champion, congratulations to Holly Holm, she and her team played their game and it worked to perfection. She wasn’t scared or intimidated one iota, and the championship experience carried over from her boxing career (18 Title fights) shone through. To her credit, the surprise only lasted about as long as it took her to nail the former Champ with a stiff, crisp combo and disappear before any return could connect. It was evident very quickly that she is every bit the athletic talent that Rousey is. Holly’s boxing and kickboxing were ethereal, and she completely outmatched her rival on the feet. In addition to her rather apparent advantage standing, she was strong in the clinch and when the fight briefly went to the ground, pretty much shrugging even committed attempts off. It really does seem like the sky is the limit for the newly crowned Holm, and shocking the world may only be the beginning.
Women’s Strawweight Queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk retained her belt after a twenty-five minute war with a very game Valerie Letourneau. Despite the valiant effort by Letourneau, Joanna Champion controlled the vast majority of the fight even with a broken right hand suffered early in the contest. She even endured and overcame what was likely awful pain enough to set a UFC championship fight record for total significant strikes. That now makes it back-to-back fights that she injured her hand, but she’s set for surgery soon and I’m certain she will come back better than ever.
It’s been a long time since we saw him last, but the 8th Bantamweight fighter is back in the mix. Michael McDonald will be making his (hopefully) triumphant return at UFC 195, one day after the New Year. He will be facing the well-rounded Masanori Kanehara, and both men will enter the cage off a loss. In McDonald’s last appearance, he got shellacked by former WEC Featherweight King Urijah Faber, eventually succumbing to one of Urijah’s vise-like guillotines in the 2nd round. Although 24-year-old McDonald dropped two of his last three (Faber and Renan Barao) in the Octagon, he is still a talented young fighter, sporting a nose for the finish AND a 6-2 record under the Zuffa banner.
Despite being suspended for and an admission to using H.G.H. to aid recovery to a shoulder injury, I would still like to say a farewell to Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, who retired last week. He brought us many great highlights we will see forever, whether he was doing the kicking or getting violently kicked himself. Cro Cop fought in multiple promotions and all over the world, but he is best known for his work in the UFC, Pride and K-1. A man of many layers, the big Croatian earned his nickname as a member of an elite anti-terrorist police unit and he even spent time in an elected position in the Parliament. Although his best days had come and gone in his short-lived third stint with the UFC, one way or another he was exciting in the cage to the end, fittingly losing to Gabriel Gonzaga by TKO when they fought last Spring.
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