Two top undefeated female mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters step into the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon tonight (Sat., Nov. 14, 2015) for what is expected to be a record-breaking UFC 193 pay-per-view (PPV) event inside Etihad Stadium.
Ronda Rousey (12-0) defends her women's Bantamweight strap for the seventh time against top-ranked contender and former boxing champion Holly Holm (9-0) in the featured bout of the evening.
"Rowdy" has blazed quite the trail inside and outside of the Octagon, turning back Bethe Correia in Brazil (full fight here) at UFC 190 just a few months ago. "Preacher's Daughter" has won two-straight in UFC, most recently ousting Marion Reneau (full fight here) back in July at UFC Fight Night 71.
One fighter will taste to defeat tonight, while the other will lay claim to the title of best in the world at 135 pounds. Will it be the unstoppable force Rousey or the calm, cool and collected Holm?
Below are the keys to victory for both women when they collide later tonight:
1. Dump Holm on her back ...
C'mon, this is a no-brainer. The Glendale Fight Club-trained product is undeniably one of the best at taking opposing fighters out of their element and quickly depositing them on the mat, where she can more often than not achieve a quick, fight-ending submission.
Even when Rousey is more or less stationary -- like when Cat Zingano threw an ill-advised flying knee attempt at the champion last February (full fight here) -- she is just as dangerous as if she was her typical freight-train self barreling toward you.
Although her tussles typically don't last long, Rousey has consistently showcased a new nuance in her ever-evolving MMA repertoire in each passing outing. From precise knee strikes to crisp boxing, she is in a class of her own.
She should be out to make Holm's life a living hell for a short period tonight.
2. No kicks ...
This nugget comes from her New York Times best-seller "My Fight/Your Fight," where Rousey admits to only throwing kicks when she's angry. The last thing she wants is to be baited into a kickboxing match against Holm, which has as much chance of occurring as a lightning strike turning you into roadside barbecue.
But in the event that Rousey -- for whatever reason -- doesn't initially succeed in getting this fight down to the canvas, she should remember, no kicks! More than likely, though, Rousey will find a way to put her stamp on this fight early, whether it's in the clinch or with a slick throw.
3. Remember she's a southpaw ...
We all remember what happened to the last southpaw who faced Rousey, but that's besides the point. Holm is probably not going to step out of bounds for a chance to test the chin of the California-based fighter.
However, being that she exchanges from the unorthodox stance, Holm leaves herself open to the straight right, a punch that previously crippled "Pitbull" in Rio de Janeiro. Remember, too, that it was a series of uppercuts that had Correia spiraling backward.
If Holm is allowed to get off early, I'd expect Rousey to counter with a stiff right hand.
1. Start off with some push/side kicks ...
Let's see if Holm has really learned anything valuable from 'ole Jonny Bones.
Holm had a penchant for highlight-reel knockouts on the regional circuit, where she racked up five total victories through paralyzing kicks.
She has achieved success with her kicks in UFC, but obviously not at the rate some keyboard warriors would have hoped. Most of it has to do with her ability to mask her kicks behind punches, and well, you can see the results for yourself below (knockout occurs at the 9:29 mark).
Unfortunately, time will be of the essence, as it usually is in fights containing the spark plug Rousey. Holm will have to put her foot on the gas pedal fast because there's a huge difference in poking and plodding against Raquel Pennington and Marion Reneau, and trying to defeat the greatest female MMA fighter who has walked this Earth.
2. Secure double underhooks in the clinch ...
One way or another, Rousey and Holm will likely find themselves in the clinch and it will be imperative for the latter to secure at least one underhook so she can try to keep herself upright.
The problem is, is that Rousey is able to bull-rush opponents -- think J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans barreling through your favorite NFL team's offensive line -- like no other. Former Olympic wrestler Sara McMann was unable to secure underhooks and neither was Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Alexis Davis.
There hasn't been a whole lot of opportunities to see Holm establish a clinch, partly because she effortlessly keeps fighters at bay with her kicks, but during her stint on the regional circuit, she has demonstrated the ability to defend a throw and get back to her feet rather quickly.
3. Sneak in an uppercut ...
Holm's striking style is predicated off of quick, snapping punches. There isn't a whole lot of power behind them because output and accuracy are the two most important attributes the former 18-time world champion boxer packs.
Behind all the jabs and crosses lies some flexibility for Holm to work in a lead uppercut, or perhaps she could find a home for it following a hook. Whether she likes it or not, the Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA representative will need to dig deep and step out of her comfort zone at some point tonight.
Much has been said about the decision to place Holm at the front of the line at 135 pounds. And while those points are valid and I very much agree, the fact remains that this was the sole reason she was brought into UFC.
However, anyone that would place a bet on her is bat-shit crazy, unless they know something a majority of pundits don't. There just doesn't appear to be any which way Holm earns the nod over Rousey because she's not a fast starter.
Sure, there's a T.J. Dillashaw every now and then, but this is not the time. Rousey in a landslide.
For the complete UFC 193: "Rousey vs. Holm" fight card and live results, including play-by-play updates, click here and here.