MMA Review: #524: UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm

-One of the big goals for the UFC for years now has been to put on a show in Melbourne as it’s actually the biggest hotbed for MMA in Australia, but the problem was always a ban on cage fighting there. With that ban lifted, this show was booked with an initial main event of Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit for the Welterweight title. When Lawler got hurt though, Zuffa pulled a major trump card in the form of their biggest draw, Ronda Rousey – fresh off pulling over a million buys against Bethe Correia in August. Initial reports had her facing Miesha Tate but in the end – under a bit of controversy actually – undefeated champion boxer Holly Holm was given the shot instead. More on that later. With Zuffa also looking to break the attendance record set by UFC 129 in 2011, they also bolstered the card with another women’s title fight in the form of Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valerie Letourneau as well as the rematch between Mark Hunt and Bigfoot Silva. Overall the hype was INSANE and this looked like an awesome show.

UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm

Melbourne, Victoria

-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.

Heavyweight Fight: Jared Rosholt vs Stefan Struve

Clash of Heavyweights looking to move into the upper echelon of the division here, and as it’s a division in permanent flux simply due to the nature of Heavyweight MMA, every win counts massively. Rosholt had rebounded from his first UFC loss in 2014 by winning two in 2015, while Struve had returned from a knockout loss to Alistair Overeem by outpointing Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the legend’s final fight. Despite Struve having more experience and bigger name wins (Nogueira, Miocic) I was picking Rosholt here as I thought he could use his wrestling to ground Struve and grind a tough win out.

Round One and the size difference here is ridiculous even though Rosholt is a huge guy himself. Struve literally towers over him, wow. Struve stalks forward before Rosholt rushes in with a right hand that misses. He does land a low kick though. Front kick glances for Struve. Another wild right hand misses for Rosholt. Couple of shots glance for Rosholt as Struve gets a bit too close. Jab lands for Struve. Crowd begin to boo as they circle with little action. Right hand connects for Struve. Kick from Struve but Rosholt catches it and tackles him to the ground before moving right to side mount. Struve tries to spin free, but Rosholt stays on him and begins to land some short, hard elbows. He goes for knee-on-belly, but Struve kicks him off and forces him to stand over him. Looks like Rosholt’s trying to avoid the guard. He drops down into half-guard, and looks pretty safe as he lands some short chopping punches. Into side mount for Rosholt and it looks like he wants the mounted crucifix. Struve spins around and almost escapes out the back door, but Rosholt’s base is too good and he keeps him down. Struve kicks him away again though. Crowd are not happy with this. Rosholt drops back down into the guard and grinds away with his forearm until the round ends. 10-9 Rosholt in a bit of a dull round.

Round Two and Struve stalks forward again to begin the round. Right hand glances for him coming forward. Nice counter right connects for Rosholt but he gets pegged back by a jab from Struve. Leg kick from Rosholt. Takedown attempt follows and he drives Struve into the fence. Knees to the legs land for Rosholt but he can’t seem to get Struve off his feet and the Dutchman breaks free. Couple of kicks into an uppercut land for Struve and Rosholt has to run out of range. Big takedown attempt from Rosholt and this time he gets Struve down and lands in side mount. Hip escape from Struve allows him into half-guard where he hits a sweep and stands, but Rosholt gets a rear waistlock and trips him right back down. He gets into side mount again and continues to control him. Jared does pretty much nothing from there though apart from hold Struve down. Struve kicks him off again and we’re back to Rosholt standing over him. Upkick lands for Struve as Rosholt drops into the guard. Big elbow lands for Rosholt with one minute to go. Rosholt moves into half-guard and you can hear Marc Laimon in his corner screaming at him to pass. Struve’s doing a good job defensively though. Seconds to go and Rosholt slips on a big punch attempt and Struve almost takes his back, but he gives up on it to land some elbows as the round ends. 10-9 Rosholt.

Round Three and Struve closes Rosholt down again and lands a hard leg kick. Jab glances for the Dutchman but he just isn’t being active enough here. He does land with a couple more jabs though to keep Rosholt at bay. Clinch from Rosholt is shrugged off and Struve comes forward with a right hand. Really nice leg kick lands for Struve. Pair of big punches narrowly miss for Struve. Rosholt goes for the takedown but this time Struve shrugs him off. Nice step-in knee connects for Struve. Rosholt replies with another takedown attempt, driving the Dutchman into the fence. Again though Struve blocks and gets free. Halfway through the round now and Rosholt glances on an overhand right. Big head kick just misses for Struve. Inside leg kick from Rosholt and he clinches, but can’t get Struve down again. He looks tired. Front kick to the body lands for Struve and he follows with a combo that has Rosholt on the run a bit. He responds by clinching to slow Struve down. They break off and a left causes Rosholt to stumble. Big knee lands for Struve as does a right hand but Rosholt shoots and gets him down. One minute to go and he’s in side mount. Laimon screams at Rosholt to “control his fucking wrists!” but he doesn’t and that allows Struve to escape to his feet, where Rosholt shoves him and sends him stumbling in an embarrassing moment. Seconds to go now and Rosholt jogs away before clinching, but Struve hits a hip throw and lands on top. Rosholt holds on tight but takes some elbows on the buzzer. Crowd boo the fight. 10-9 Struve but 29-28 Rosholt overall.

Judges all have it 29-28 for Jared Rosholt. Dull opener though as Struve never really opened up for fear of the takedown and even then Rosholt took him down plenty of times, but he didn’t do much with the takedowns outside of keep Struve under control, and the pace was slow throughout too. It’s just unfortunate that Rosholt doesn’t seem to be developing how you’d expect him to but I guess it’s Heavyweight MMA, he might suddenly develop loads of knockout power yet. Or get knocked out badly himself, we shall see. This was one of the worst PPV openers of 2015, unfortunately.

Middleweight Fight: Robert Whittaker vs Uriah Hall

Originally Aussie favourite Whittaker – who had looked awesome since moving to 185lbs, reeling off two straight vicious KO’s – was booked against Michael Bisping here in what could’ve been a breakout fight for him, but when the Brit got injured, former TUFer Hall – fresh off his insane knockout of Gegard Mousasi – stepped in on relatively short notice. Tough fight to call due to Hall’s unpredictability to be honest, but I was leaning towards Whittaker just because you tend to know what you’re going to get with him.

First round begins and Whittaker comes out swinging, backing Uriah up right away. He throws out some front kicks too and then lands a leg kick. Left hook glances for the Aussie. Rushing right hand from Whittaker wobbles Hall and he has to back up, but he seems to recover quickly. Couple more low kicks land for Whittaker and Hall fires back with a couple of his own. They trade some more kicks and Hall just avoids a couple of big shots from Whittaker. His hands are a bit low though. Spin kick is teased by Hall and Whittaker cracks him with a leg kick and a pair of right hands. Wild tornado kick misses for Hall and Whittaker catches the leg and trips him down. He settles down into the half-guard and lands a couple of solid shots, but Hall looks to tie him up. Whittaker stands in an attempt to pass and then drops a huge left hand and a couple more shots, and as Hall tries to escape Whittaker forces him down into side mount. Beautiful pass to full mount follows but Hall bucks him off. Whittaker stands over him to drop some more punches though and then drops back into side mount. Knee-on-belly for Whittaker and then he gets full mount and takes the back with both hooks as Uriah tries to wriggle free. Seconds to go and Hall defends the possible choke before spinning into Whittaker’s guard. Big elbow from Uriah and the round ends with him on top. 10-9 round for Whittaker however.

Second round and Whittaker comes out swinging again and cracks Hall with an overhand right. Nice movement allows Hall to avoid a wild left hook and they exchange a couple of low kicks. Right hand misses for Uriah and Whittaker grabs a rear waistlock and then lands some foot stomps. Hall manages to separate though and he lands with a stiff jab. Whittaker responds with one of his own. Head kick glances for Hall. Eye poke from Whittaker and the referee has to call time. Doctor checks Uriah over and they judge that he’s fine, so they restart. Replays seem to suggest it wasn’t an eye poke, more like a knuckle to the eye. They exchange some more kicks off the restart and Whittaker lands a couple of hard punches too. More low kicks from Whittaker but Hall’s doing a good job of dodging his haymakers. Short left hook connects for Uriah. Low kick from Whittaker but Hall fires back with a left high kick that lands hard. Hall is walking him down now. Nice counter right hook lands for Whittaker as does another hard leg kick. Hall continues to stalk forward but he isn’t throwing all that much and Whittaker catches him with a decent right hand. Round ends with a missed spin kick from Uriah and a right from Whittaker. Another 10-9 round for Whittaker I’d say.

Third round and the crowd are way into this. Big left hand from Whittaker early and he follows with a right, but Hall fires back with a body kick and a right of his own. Big right from Whittaker has Hall hurt and the Aussie follows up with a flurry from close range! Hall tries to hold on, but Whittaker gets a rear waistlock and stomps the feet again. Knees land to the back of the legs for Whittaker and it looks like Hall might be stalling to recover. Uriah manages to turn into the regular clinch, where they exchange some knees and short punches before Whittaker considers a single leg. He gives it up to separate with a nasty elbow though. Hall begins to push forward again and uncorks a big left head kick, but Whittaker takes it. Flying knee and another left high kick follow and then he shoots, but Whittaker defends and they clinch. Big knees from the clinch land for Hall and suddenly Whittaker looks busted up. More knees land for Hall, this time to the legs. They break off with just under two minutes remaining and Hall lands a front kick to the face and a right head kick this time. Right hand counter glances for Whittaker but Hall comes back with a right and spins around with it, but doesn’t throw a backfist surprisingly enough. Whittaker looks cut under his left eye. He swings some haymakers that don’t land, but does connect with a leg kick. Spin kick misses for Hall but he lands a hard jab. Wild right hand glances for Whittaker but Hall fires back with one of his own. Exchange continues and both guys look tired. Seconds to go and Hall gives his back standing in an odd moment, allowing Whittaker to get a rear waistlock again. Round ends with him dragging Hall down before Uriah pops right back up. Super-close round. 10-9 Hall but 29-28 Whittaker overall.

Official scores are 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Robert Whittaker. This started quite slowly but turned into a really good fight by the end, especially in the third round where both guys really opened up. I don’t think the usual knocks on Hall apply here either – he showed a lot of aggression in the third and pushed forward throughout, but he just had a lot of problems with the style of Whittaker early on and the Aussie basically established a lead in the first two rounds that meant Hall needed a finish that didn’t come. Whittaker’s blend of solid fundamentals and unorthodox striking; speed and punching power make him a really tricky fight for anyone at 185lbs. I don’t think he’s ready for the very top guys yet – Rockhold, Weidman, Jacare, Romero et al, but he could definitely be given a shot at the level just below – Mousasi, Bisping, Dollaway, etc – and I’d give him a fair chance of beating any of them.

Heavyweight Fight: Mark Hunt vs Bigfoot Silva

This was of course the rematch from their earlier encounter in December 2013 – the legendary war that ended up being called a draw by the judges after both guys took some insane punishment and came close to a finish on numerous occasions. Since then both men had seen mixed results – Hunt beating Roy Nelson but losing to Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic; Bigfoot losing to Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir but beating Soa Palelei. Despite Bigfoot coming in off a win and Hunt off a loss, the smart money here was on Hunt – Bigfoot hadn’t looked the same since coming off TRT after their first fight and his chin looked totally shot, which is never good when you’re fighting a guy who hits as hard as Hunt.

Round One and the crowd are insanely hot for Hunt. He takes the center of the cage as Bigfoot circles on the outside early on. Leg kick glances for Hunt. Right hand glances to Bigfoot’s body. Not much action in the opening minute really. Couple of front kicks glance for Bigfoot. Quick rush from Hunt but Bigfoot lands a right hand to back him off. Hard leg kick connects for Hunt. More circling from Bigfoot and he looks a bit gunshy. Hard body kick from Hunt. Body kick answers for Silva. Good knee to the body follows but he misses a right haymaker. Another leg kick lands for Hunt. Big swings miss for Bigfoot. Good leg kick lands for the Brazilian though. Short right glances for Hunt. Hunt continues to walk him down and he tags him with a big right hand. Another right lands to the back of Bigfoot’s head and drops him to all fours, and a couple more shots on the ground seal the deal. Crowd go crazy.

Nice knockout for Hunt to really get the Aussie crowd going but to be honest a win over Bigfoot doesn’t mean what it once did due to his deterioration post-TRT. He really ought to be hanging it up at this point as why take so much damage to your brain? That was the fourth clean knockout he’d suffered in six fights which is worrying. As for Hunt, he remains strangely relevant even going into 2016 and whoever he’s matched with next should make for a fun fight because shit, it’s Mark Hunt! Show really needed a finish at this point and of course HUNT DELIVERED.

UFC Women’s World Strawweight Title: Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Valerie Letourneau

Few odd circumstances put this one together. After she beat top ranked Jessica Aguilar at UFC 190 the word was that the next shot at Jedrzejczyk’s title would be going to Claudia Gadelha, but when the main event of this show was changed to Rousey/Holm, the UFC decided they wanted to double up on the women’s title fights to get Jedrzejczyk some more exposure and when Gadelha ruled herself out due to lingering injuries from the Aguilar fight, the shot went to Canada’s Letourneau instead, as she had won two in a row at 115lbs most recently beating the highly rated Maryna Moroz. Not sure why she was chosen over higher ranked contenders like Rose Namajunas and Tecia Torres to be honest but I guess either they turned the fight down or Zuffa want to build them more, who knows? Most were predicting a blowout for Jedrzejczyk, but I actually thought Letourneau could make it more competitive than was expected as she’s got a surprisingly strong record – she went to split decision with Gadelha for instance. But the smart pick, obviously, was still Jedrzejczyk who has looked like a monster in all of her fights thus far.

Mad staredown as holy shit Jedrzejczyk is intense. Like the female Diego Sanchez!

First round and both women come out throwing strikes from distance, but neither really lands much of note in the opening minute. Kick is caught by Letourneau and a couple of right hands put Jedrzejczyk on her back, and Valerie follows down and takes top position with a couple of punches. The champ tries to reverse to her feet, and in the process Letourneau lands an elbow to the back of the head which garners a warning from Herb Dean. She’s doing well to control Joanna here though. Jedrzejczyk uses an underhook to stand back up, but she eats an uppercut and then Letourneau muscles her back into the fence. Letourneau looks to get her down again, but Joanna defends well and remains on her feet. They trade off with knees to the body before breaking with two minutes to go. Body kick glances for Letourneau. Joanna replies with a VICIOUS front kick to the face that snaps Valerie’s head back and has her stunned, and the champ follows that up with a sharp leg kick. Clinch from Letourneau slows the champ down though and allows her to recover. Body kick breaks for Joanna and they trade punches with Letourneau landing a decent right hand. Leg kick into a front kick lands for Jedrzejczyk. Another two low kicks follow. Round ends with a glancing head kick from Letourneau before Joanna ends the round with a flurry. Close round to score but I’d go for Jedrzejczyk for the front kick mainly.

Second round and Jedrzejczyk opens with a quick flurry to counter Letourneau’s low kick and then follows with a low kick of her own. Letourneau comes back with a body kick and a glancing right hand. Good leg kick from the champion. Kick is caught by Joanna and she fires back with one of her own, but Letourneau catches that and lands a right hand. Good combos land for both women as the exchange continues. Low kick from Joanna is caught again and Letourneau muscles her into the fence, but she takes a couple of knees and a hard elbow from close range. Right breaks for Letourneau but she eats a combo on the way out too and her right eye looks badly marked up. Solid counter right lands for the Canadian as she catches the leg again. Oblique kick lands for Joanna and she adds in a front kick to the body. Stiff jab from Letourneau. Combo follows but she takes a pair of hard leg kicks. Overhand right answers for Valerie and a body kick follows that. Really nice combo from Letourneau pegs Joanna back a bit. One minute to go and they continue to fire at each other. Letourneau is doing really well in these exchange too, although she takes a hard right hand from the champ in a trade. Couple of front kicks from the champ and then they exchange again to end the round. Probably 10-9 Letourneau actually.

Third round and Letourneau’s right eye is beginning to look really nasty. She opens though with a counter right as Jedrzejczyk opens with a low kick. Clinch from the challenger but Joanna lands some elbows from there and switches position, forcing her into the fence. They break off and Joanna lands a nice leg kick. Flurry from Letourneau is avoided. Another low kick buckles Valerie’s leg and she also eats a right hand to follow. Good combo lands for the Canadian. Sick front kick lands right to the jaw again for Jedrzejczyk and Letourneau is hurt. Stiff jab follows and another front kick comes up the middle too. Letourneau comes back with a body kick. Inside leg kick into a combo ending in an outside leg kick from Joanna. Another front kick is caught but Letourneau can’t really capitalise, only landing a pair of glancing shots. Jedrzejczyk is beating the challenger to the strike in this round. Big exchange sees Valerie land a decent right hand though. One minute to go and Jedrzejczyk lands a hard body kick set up by a combo. Couple more leg kicks land for the champ. She’s making mincemeat of Letourneau’s left leg in this round. Valerie comes back with a body kick, but Jedrzejczyk cracks her with another leg kick and they end the round with a wild exchange. 10-9 Jedrzejczyk, probably her best round yet.

Fourth round and the crowd give them a big hand as they come out. Stiff jab opens the round for Joanna and she follows with a hard right hand. Letourneau catches a leg and goes for the takedown, but Joanna shrugs her off. Big leg kick connects for Jedrzejczyk. Big right hand snaps Letourneau’s head back but she’s as tough as nails and keeps on coming forward. Good combo for Valerie ends in a body kick. She comes out swinging but eats a hard counter left. Another big combo for Joanna has Valerie limping badly and a jab snaps her head back too. To be fair though she’s doing far better than Esparza or Penne did against Joanna and she does land another couple of body kicks. Another body kick lands for her but she takes a leg kick and a combo on her way out. Another leg kick from Jedrzejczyk and Letourneau is noticeably limping now. She’s taking some brutal leg kicks here. One minute to go and they continue to exchange; Letourneau landing the left body kick but taking more nasty shots from Joanna on the way. Seconds to go and Jedrzejczyk lands a beautiful combo set up by the leg kick. Letourneau manages to survive though and the round ends just after. 10-9 Jedrzejczyk but Letourneau is hanging tough.

Fifth round and the crowd are LOUD. Both girls open with a flurry and Jedrzejczyk connects with the leg kick again. Letourneau comes back with a right and the body kick, and to be fair to her she’s really pushing forward. Joanna connects with another leg kick and an elbow to break a brief clinch. Jab to the body from the champ. Trade off sees both women landing. Couple more leg kicks have Valerie on the verge of buckling though. Jedrzejczyk continues to beat her to the punch. More clean shots land for the champion but Letourneau’s still pushing forward though. She’s taking a ridiculous amount of leg kicks though. Two minutes to go and Jedrzejczyk connects with a pair of lead left hooks. Letourneau’s right eye is almost swollen shut. Stiff one-two connects for the champion. Pair of uppercuts land for Jedrzejczyk. Seconds to go and Letourneau comes forward swinging again but she can’t catch Joanna cleanly and she’s eating multiple shots every time set up off the leg kick. Hard left hook connects for Joanna. Round ends shortly after. I’d call it 49-46 for Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Judges have it 49-46, 49-46 and 50-45 for Joanna Jedrzejczyk to retain her title. First off, this was a pretty entertaining fight even if it wasn’t blowaway amazing or anything. Interestingly enough they put Jedrzejczyk onto the card to try to make her star rise as eyes would be on her due to the Rousey effect, but it actually ended up being her least impressive title fight so far as Letourneau hung tough and just kept pushing forward and despite taking punishment she was never in real trouble at any point. Still though, it never got boring and the crowd seemed to love it, and if anything it made a bit of a semi-star of Letourneau as the Aussies seemed massively impressed with her toughness. It would’ve been nice to have seen another vicious showing from the champion (well, it wouldn’t have been for Letourneau but you know) but this was fine too. Next up for Joanna should be Claudia Gadelha and if she can get past that challenge then she’s well onto her way to being considered one of the best fighters in any division in the world I think.

UFC Women’s World Bantamweight Title: Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm

As I alluded to in the introduction this fight was initially set for UFC 195 in January, but when Robbie Lawler was sidelined from his title defense on this show, UFC jumped at the chance to use their biggest drawing card to attempt (and succeed) to break their all-time attendance record and moved Rousey onto this card. After she’d beaten Jessica Eye in July it was expected that Miesha Tate would be getting the title shot – her third attempt at beating Rousey – but probably due in part to the backlash online to a third fight between the two, champion boxer Holm, fresh off somewhat underwhelming wins over Raquel Pennington and Marion Reneau, was given the shot instead. And of course the usual Zuffa haters who had been up in arms over Tate’s third shot at Rousey were suddenly furious that Holm had the shot and were championing Miesha’s cause. Go figure. In terms of this fight I couldn’t see how Holm could win to be honest – while she’d looked like a great technical striker as you’d expect, she hadn’t really shown much in the way of knockout power – a bit like an early Lyoto Machida – and as I thought she would need to keep Ronda at distance and pick her off over five rounds, a bit tricky when Ronda always seems to find a way to get a clinch and a takedown, I couldn’t see a path to victory for the challenger besides a counter if Ronda got too wild. My pick was Rousey via second round submission.

For the record, also, while I think Zuffa’s done a great job in building Rousey into a star who pretty much transcends the sport at this point, one of the pre-fight video packages here *really* has me frustrated and it’s the one with a bunch of celebrities explaining how much they love her and think she’s awesome. I mean I’m sure they *do* think she’s awesome but I just don’t want to see the likes of Demi Lovato and Stephanie McMahon who clearly don’t know shit about MMA trying to make out that they know everything about Ronda, you know? It’s not an observation on Rousey or the UFC I’m making, more that I don’t like the vacuous celebrity culture that means we have to hear from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Could they not have gotten celebrities who are at least known to train MMA or come to the shows like Shaquille O’Neal or Mickey Rourke or something?

Crowd as you can imagine are deafening for Rousey’s entrance. Disregarding celebrities and stuff it is pretty amazing how big Ronda’s gotten this year. Just shows how sometimes you get the perfect mix of everything to make a star and it just works. And then sometimes you’ll have someone who seems to have everything to be a proper star (Anthony Pettis for instance) and then they just don’t quite take off. Who knows?

Round One begins and it must be noted that Ronda’s not in her best shape here, looking slightly bloated in the face and around the midsection. She also refuses to touch gloves. They get underway and Holm immediately begins to circle around the outside as Rousey charges forward at her swinging wild combinations. Nice combination from Holm though and she calmly gets out of range. Rousey keeps pushing forward and she glances with a right hand. Leg kick from Holm and she connects on a one-two. Rousey is really chasing her down but she hasn’t landed yet. Big right hand does land for the champion but Holm catches her with a counter combo again. Ronda gets the clinch though and forces her back into the fence. Short punches inside land for Holm and she breaks, but Ronda catches her with a right hand. Quick combo answers for Holm though and she lands a head kick as Ronda steps forward and misses her. Looping left hand glances for Ronda but she comes charging into a right hand again. Beautiful step-in left lands for Holm as Ronda charges in, but the champion gets the clinch and uses a headlock trip to put the challenger down. Right away she swings into an armbar attempt, but Holm stays calm….and defends beautifully and reverses to her feet, landing a right hand on the exit. Big crowd pop for that. Oblique kick lands for Holly and she continues to stay just out of range and catch Ronda as she comes in. Some deep breaths from the champion now too. Right hook lands for the challenger but Ronda clinches briefly and lands some dirty boxing. Holm escapes though and catches her coming forward with a straight left. Rousey has a bloody nose. Combination connects hard for Holm. One minute to go and she tags the champion with a left hand. Rousey looks like she’s struggling. Nice leg kick from Holm and then she clinches and takes Ronda down! She stands up right away though. Wild swings miss for Ronda as she chases forward again. It’s almost a Diego Sanchez-style gameplan from Ronda. She gets to the clinch again but Holm breaks with a knee. Round ends there and it’s a shocking round and a clear one for Holly Holm.

Between rounds Edmond Tarverdyan somehow tells Ronda it was a “beautiful round” and seems to be telling her that she did great, which is INSANELY bad advice.

Round Two and Holm comes right out and tags Ronda with a left. The champion continues to charge in but she eats another crisp combination. Superkick (!) lands for Holm and she sticks Ronda with the left again as she moves forward. Wild charge from Ronda is avoided and she stumbles to the ground and looks in total disbelief as she stands back up. Ronda comes forward again, right into a straight left. Another one follows….and Ronda misses a left of her own and stumbles to the ground! She gets back up but Holm KILLS HER DEAD WITH A BEAUTIFUL LEFT HEAD KICK!~! Cue MADNESS from the crowd and pretty much everyone watching. Holy shit.

Post-fight everyone is in disbelief, naturally. This was the biggest upset in the UFC since Matt Serra beat GSP in 2007 I’d say. The wild thing was though that while that Serra win felt like a bit of a fluke this one came off more like TJ Dillashaw’s upset of Renan Barao where the challenger just completely outclassed and embarrassed the feared champion and made it look easy. In hindsight we probably should’ve seen it coming somewhat – Ronda has never been a clean technical striker and has always had that Diego-type style of biting down on her mouthpiece, charging in and swinging wildly, but before this the girls she’d beaten standing couldn’t handle that aggression (Correia, McMann, Davis) even if they did manage to tag her in exchanges, and the one opponent that probably could’ve used a gameplan like this (Cat Zingano) just happens to be the one who runs on emotion more than anything else and so she fucked up and got armbarred in her first move. And additionally, recent evidence seems to suggest that Edmond Tarverdyan isn’t the great boxing coach he makes himself out to be – his other two top UFC guys (Travis Browne and Jake Ellenberger) have looked awful recently and for him to praise Ronda after that first round was ludicrous. But yeah at the end of the day you’ve got to give the credit to Holm who managed to not let the occasion get to her, didn’t get sucked in by Ronda’s intensity and just did what she does best – technical striking. And she’s now the UFC champion.

Current reports have the inevitable rematch happening at UFC 200 although it wouldn’t surprise me if Holm defends against Miesha Tate in the interim. As for who would win a rematch? If Ronda can change her camp, get into better shape and find a way to close the distance without getting tagged then she could win for sure. If she can’t do that though – and I suspect she stays with Edmond – then I think she’ll lose again and probably retire afterwards, which is sad in a lot of ways. Regardless, this was one of the best knockouts of the year and (along with the chaos that went down at UFC 194!) probably the most memorable moment of 2015 point blank. As Joe Rogan would say, un-be-lievable.

-Show ends with Goldie and Rogan still in disbelief over Ronda’s loss as we see people pouring out of the stadium like ants, after witnessing HISTORY. Awesome.

Final Thoughts….

Well, this one would be must-see regardless simply due to the main event being one of the most memorable moments in UFC history, but top-to-bottom it was one of the year’s best PPVs anyway, with only Rosholt/Struve being a bit of a letdown. Hunt/Bigfoot delivered the big knockout everyone hoped it would, Hall/Whittaker and Jedrzejczyk/Letourneau were both excellent and then obviously Holly Holm’s wild knockout just put a stamp on things. Not as good as 187 or 189, but UFC 193 is a must-see show for anyone who’s a fan of MMA. Two thumbs up.

Best Fight: Hall vs. Whittaker
Worst Fight: Struve vs. Rosholt

Overall Rating: ****

Until next time,

Scott Newman: