Welcome to the Ronda Rousey show.
The UFC 193 pay-per-view (PPV) event is locked and loaded for this Saturday night (Nov. 14, 2015) inside the massive Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, featuring some compelling mixed martial arts (MMA) match ups across its 13-fight line up.
But make no mistake, this is all about "Rowdy."
The UFC women's bantamweight champion is the biggest star in combat sports. If not, she's certainly being presented that way ahead of her five-round showdown against mild-mannered boxing import Holly Holm, whose transition from the "sweet science" did little to impress the odds makers.
Rousey by armbar!
In the co-main event, UFC women's strawweight champion and bane of play-by-play scribes across the 'net, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, tries to keep
stalling busy while Claudia Gadelha heals up from the injury she no longer has. Playing the role of seat warmer and potential bookie buster is Canadian slugger Valerie Letourneau.
"Trouble" in paradise?
Elsewhere on the card, Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva will start round six after their heavyweight draw in late 2013, while Uriah Hall and Stefan Struve try to make hay while the sun shines "Down Under" in match ups against Robert Whittaker and Jared Rosholt, respectively.
Time to find out who brings home the bacon -- and who gets fried.
135 lbs.: Women's Bantamweight Champion "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey (12-0) vs. Holly "The Preacher's Daughter" Holm (9-0)
Nostradumbass predicts: Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way before we go any further: Holly Holm is not a credible threat to Ronda Rousey and no amount of pre-fight hype will convince me otherwise.
Holm found success as a female boxer and to her credit, retired with multiple world titles to her name. But of her 33 pugilistic wins, only nine were by way of knockout, which means "The Preacher's Daughter" spent 285 rounds inside the squared circle, punching and being punched.
I would be interested to know the date of her last brain scan.
Honestly, none of that even matters for this fight. My real issue is that Holm hasn't beaten anyone in the top 10 of her division, so we don't know if she's championship material. Her two wins under the UFC banner came against a 38-year-old "Bruiser" and a TUF veteran who hasn't won consecutive fights since 2012.
How would Holm deal with a savage like Amanda Nunes? Or a jiu-jitsu ace like Cat Zingano?
Without knowing those answers, I'm not sure what argument can me made for victory. Holm has to survive 25 minutes inside the cage without knockout power and no ground game. I wouldn't be surprised to see Rousey keep it standing, because she's the kind of champion who wants to beat her opponents at their own game.
If she can't, "Rowdy" knows she can take them down and submit them without fail.
That means this fight will end when Rousey wants it to. Holm, now 34, is both athletic and accurate, but that's about it, and will probably get smoked within one round. That's what Aussie fans came to see, and that's what they're going to get.
Final prediction: Rousey def. Holm by submission
115 lbs.: Women's Strawweight Champion Joanna "Champion" Jedrzejczyk (10-0) vs. Valerie "Trouble" Letourneau (8-3)
Nostradumbass predicts: Joanna Jedrzejczyk is not Ronda Rousey. I'm not sure why people were jumping up and down over the strawweight champion's thrashing of Jessica Penne, who is essentially an atomweight who doesn't diet because there is no 105-pound weight class in UFC.
Prior to that, she beat down Carla Esparza, a flat-footed wrestler who broke after her first failed takedown attempt.
This isn't an attempt to discredit Jedrzejczyk or dismiss her skills, because I do think she's a considerable talent. That said, I'll wait for the Claudia Gadelha rematch before I anoint her the second coming of "Rowdy" and to get there, she must first dispose of Valerie Letourneau.
Easier said than done?
The Canadian is ranked No. 8 at 115 pounds, but honestly, this division is so new (and so thin) that many of these spots are interchangeable and heavily influenced with just one win. Case in point: Letourneau was ranked No. 15 in July and cut that in half by outpointing Maryna Moroz.
Her size and build are enough to give anyone problems at this weight, the champion included, but it worries me that she hasn't secured a finish in three trips to the Octagon against lesser competition. She might be able to bully her way to the scorecards in a three round fight, but this is five.
And Letourneau cuts a tremendous amount of weight to get to 115.
That's going to give her "Trouble" as the fight wears on. Jedrzejczyk will stay busy and let the hands go, but will probably run away with this thing at some point in the third round. I expect a Polish punching parade followed by a referee's stoppage.
Final prediction: Jedrzejczyk def. Letourneau via technical knockout
265 lbs.: Mark "Super Samoan" Hunt (10-10-1) vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (19-7-1)
Nostradumbass predicts: Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva put on one of the craziest heavyweight fights in MMA history back in 2013, in what can only be described as a five-round bloodbath. Unfortunately, the Brazilian failed his post-fight drug test, which tarnished an otherwise exemplary performance.
Now it's time to start round six.
The good news is, both Hunt and Silva can still hit like Mack trucks. The bad news is, they both looked like shit since that wild night in Brisbane. After clowning Roy Nelson in Japan, the "Super Samoan" was stopped by Fabricio Werdum, then dismantled by Stipe Miocic.
"Bigfoot" was knocked out in consecutive losses to Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir, before retiring Soa Palelei.
Now it's time to decide who is worse for the wear. Hunt no longer has the legendary beard he once had, but Silva has always been chinny. That said, even at age 41, it's hard to pick against the New Zealander in a straight-up hoss fight, and I expect him to drop Silva during an early exchange.
Fuck technique, this is all about heavy leather.
Final prediction: Hunt def. Silva via knockout
185 lbs.: Uriah "Prime Time" Hall (12-5) vs. Robert "The Reaper" Whittaker (14-4)
Nostradumbass predicts: We're kind of in a weird place with Uriah Hall. There's no question he's a talented striker, but is he top-10 material? Tough to say. He earned his No. 10 spot with a highlight-reel finish over the notoriously durable Gegard Mousasi, but outside of sleeping the "Dreamcatcher," his record is nothing to get overly excited about.
Knocking out guys like Oluwale Bamgbose and Ron Stallings is not doing it for me.
Hall can do most things good, and some things great. But in order for "Prime Time" to land the money shot, he needs his opponent to stick to the script. Namely, engage in a turn-based strategy game of trading shots. I'm not sure that's going to work on Robert Whittaker.
Like Hall, "The Reaper" still has some work to do before we can start talking about any kind of "run," but what we saw since his jump up to middleweight -- and successive wins over Clint Hester and Brad Tavares -- looks promising. He's a high-volume puncher with good takedown defense and let's not discount the hometown advantage.
I think Hall needs to land the kill shot to win.
Either way, I'm expecting a fairly close fight, one that could be in the running for some sort of performance bonus. Both middleweights are evenly matched but I think Whittaker is too aggressive for Hall and doesn't afford him the room to do anything crazy.
Final prediction: Whittaker def. Hall via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve (26-7) vs. Jared "Big Show" Rosholt (13-2)
Nostradumbass predicts: Jared Rosholt is exactly the kind of opponent Stefan Struve used to steamroll, as the towering Dutchman had a torrid run through the heavyweight division from 2011-12 and polished off the likes of Stipe Miocic and Dave Herman, among others.
Then Mark Hunt ate his soul.
That knockout -- followed by one from Alistair Overeem -- sent him tumbling down the 265-pound rankings, and I'm not sure his (cough) "win" over a geriatric Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is enough to say HE'S BACK! Not when you take into account his heart defect or anxiety issues.
I just don't have any confidence in a "Skyscraper" pick.
That's unfortunate, because he's a talented striker and a very underrated grappler. Rosholt will no doubt put that to the test, having cut his teeth as a decorated collegiate wrestler out of Oklahoma State. That would require "Big Show" to get past his opponent's reach, something that historically, has not been that difficult to pull off.
Most of Struve's knockout losses have come from his inability to stand his ground.
Even though it's a three-round fight, time will not be on Rosholt's side. His gas tank is going to betray him about midway through the fight, and I'm sure he knows it, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him work the wall-and-stall until he can land a haymaker or show-stopping uppercut.
Struve is clearly the more skilled fighter, but that doesn't doesn't always guarantee victory when the fists start flying.
Final prediction: Rosholt def. Struve via knockout
There you have it.
Be sure to check out a comprehensive breakdown of all the preliminary fights here and here. UFC 193 odds and betting lines can be found here.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 193 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.
You've heard from me, now let's hear from you. Who gets it done on Saturday night?