Here's what to expect when bantamweight title holder Ronda Rousey and challenger Holly Holm step into the octagon at UFC 193.
Everything you need to know about this weekend's big fight.
The champion is nicknamed “Rowdy.” Her challenger goes by “The Preacher’s Daughter.” Talk about a mismatch.
But the UFC doesn’t care. Ronda Rousey is a star whose supporting cast means little at the box office. And with the behemoth fight promotion hoping to pack a record 70,000 into Etihad Stadium for UFC 193 on Saturday night in Melbourne, Australia (10 p.m. ET, PPV), the presence of Holly Holm in the octagon will be a mere footnote.
That the UFC’s other female champion, strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk, also will be defending her belt that night is an interesting sidelight. But everyone knows who’ll be front and center under the spotlight. This is The Ronda Rousey Show.
For Rousey (12-0), this will be the seventh defense of the UFC bantamweight belt she has worn since the promotion bought out Strikeforce, where she was champion, and created its first women’s division. The 28-year-old Californian has been thoroughly dominant, finishing all but one of her fights in the first round, eight of them in the first minute. Her last three defenses have lasted 34, 16, and 14 seconds. Rousey is No. 2 in the SI.com pound-for-pound fighter rankings.
Holm (9-0) has gone the distance in her two UFC fights, although prior to signing with the game’s top promotion, she knocked out several lesser opponents, often with a kick to the head or body. Her boxing career produced a 32-3-2 record, with nine KO’s and 15 world titles. The 34-year-old also went 2-1 as a kickboxer. She ranks No. 9 in the SI.com women’s bantamweight tally.
In addition to the pay-per-view telecast of Saturday night’s seven-fight main card, four prelims will be shown on Fox Sports 1, starting at 8 p.m. ET, and the event’s first two bouts will be available on the UFC Fight Pass online service at 7.
When Rousey burst on the MMA scene nearly five years ago, her Olympic-sharpened grappling was her calling card. As she stopped opponent after opponent with her signature armbar–her first eight opponents tapped out with little resistance–the thinking was that she was devastating, yes, but also one-dimensional. If only there were a high-level striker out there . . .
Well, there was. Also making her professional MMA debut in March 2011 was Holm, who came from the sweetest science of striking. She was a 15-time world boxing champion. Now, those credentials didn’t carry quite the weight of Rousey’s Olympic bronze in judo–32 of Holm’s 38 boxing matches took place in her hometown, Albuquerque, making her resume seem small-time when compared to Rousey’s.
But as Rousey skyrocketed to stardom and Holm continued to mow down her MMA competition, knocking out six of her first seven foes in regional promotions, it became apparent to the UFC brass that this was a Rousey opponent they could sell. They brought her into the promotion, and she has won her two fights. Neither performance was especially eye-opening–she was tentative her first time out, in control her second, but even then, against an overmatched foe, she didn’t have a finish in her.
Still, Rousey vs. Holm was the fight Dana White & Co. wanted. So even with Holm looking like a fighter in need of some fine tuning, and even with Rousey apparently booked for a third fight with her twice-conquered nemesis, Miesha Tate, the UFC decided it was time. Tate, who’d been promised the title fight by White himself in a TV interview, was cast aside and Holm brought in.
Too soon? Maybe. But it’s also reasonable to believe that Holly Holm will never be ready to handle Ronda Rousey.
Last five fights
|8/1/15 Bethe Correia W KO 1||7/15/15 Marion Reneau W UD 3|
|2/28/15 Cat Zingano W Sub. 1||2/28/15 Raquel Pennington W SD 3|
|7/5/14 Alexis Davis W KO 1||4/4/14 Juliana Werner W TKO 5|
|2/22/14 Sara McMann W TKO 1||12/6/13 Angela Hayves W UD 3|
|12/28/13 Miesha Tate W Sub. 3||10/11/13 Nikki Knudsen W TKO 2|
|Feb. 1, 1987||BIRTH DATE||7/15/15 Marion Reneau W UD 3|
|Riverside, Calif.||BIRTHPLACE||Albuquerque, NM|
|Venice, Calif.||RESIDENCE||Albuquerque, NM|