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UFC 190 complete fighter breakdown, 'Rowdy' Ronda Rousey edition resident fighter analyst Andrew Richardson breaks down the mixed martial arts (MMA) game of UFC 190 headliner Ronda Rousey, who will look to defend her title once more this Saturday (Aug. 1, 2015) inside HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Photo by Esther Lin for

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's Bantamweight ruler, Ronda Rousey, will look to defend her title once again opposite undefeated striker, Bethe Correia, this Saturday (Aug. 1, 2015) at UFC 190 inside HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

As one of the most dominant fighters in the sport, Rousey has quickly run out of suitable opponents. Corriea is woefully outmatched, and next in line is Miesha Tate, who will make her third attempt at defeating Rousey after a pair of disastrous attempts.

It's no surprise that Rousey already has another movie scheduled.

Regardless of the shallow nature of her division, let's take a closer look at the skills that have made Rousey so dominant.


Rousey has been working with renowned boxing coach Edmond Tarverdyan for several years now and the results have been obvious. Though there's still some issues with her attack, she's far more developed on her feet than the raw Judoka who first won the Strikeforce strap.

Since a major part of Rousey's game involves fighting from inside the clinch, one would assume that much of her striking would serve the purpose of closing the distance. While she has gotten markedly better at that aspect on her feet as well -- for example, she used a right hand lead directly into the tie up in her most recent battle with Tate -- much of her boxing improvement has been at range.

Which means she still runs into punches while closing the distance on occasion, but she hasn't really paid for it just yet.

Moving on, Rousey's combinations at range are much, much smoother and more powerful than they once were. She possesses a quick jab, and her right cross packs a surprising punch. Rousey's straight punches cut through her opponent's looping punches more often than not, such as when Rousey basically knocked out Alexis Davis on her feet before throwing her to the mat.

Perhaps the most improved aspect of Rousey's stand up game is her clinch striking. She's extremely active with small strikes from close range, which often open up more clinch throws. More recently, she's been rather effective with elbows and knees. Of course, the best example came against Sarah McMann, when Rousey capitalized on the wrestler's bent posture with a crushing knee to the liver.

Rousey is still a defensive work in progress. She's more than willing to stand and trade with her opponent, which is a questionable strategic decision, considering the fact that Rousey can throw anyone she wants to without much issue. Plus, she still looks for the clinch with her head straight up, running herself into counters.


Rousey, an Olympic bronze medalist in Judo, takes down her opponents from within the clinch almost at will. Rousey is incredibly aggressive with her hip toss -- or Harai Goshi, for those who prefer Judo's nomenclature -- but will also chain together multiple throws and trips when necessary.

For the most part, Rousey throws her opponent through the air within a few seconds of securing the clinch. However, it's actually not uncommon for Rousey to miss her first takedown attempt when facing a prepared opponent, only to transition into another move and finish the next maneuver.

However, it's also pretty common for Rousey's opponent to make it very easy for her. Either by rushing forward in an attempt to land a big punch -- despite not being knockout artists in any way -- or hastily retreating away from the clinch, her opponent gets herself completely off-balance before Rousey is even in touching her. From there, Rousey just has to pick a throw that requires either a push or pull, depending on which direction her opponent is moving.

For example, Tate was fairly effective at defending takedowns or at least making Rousey work when the pace slowed down in the clinch. However, whenever she committed to charging in, she was thrown through the air with ease.

Momentum is extremely important, and Rousey is an expert at capitalizing on her opponent's movements.

If her opponent remains composed, meaning she doesn't panic and let up an easy takedown, then Rousey's job has become much more difficult. In that situation, Rousey has to rely on her transitional ability, which luckily, is pretty excellent as well. Chaining together inside and outside trips, Russian arm drags, and other throws, Rousey rarely fails to drag her opponent to the mat.

In her second bout with Miesha Tate, Rousey showed much improved ground strikes. Much like her clinch work, Rousey mixed quick, constant punches with harder elbow strikes. By constantly working her opponent, Rousey created openings to pass guard and look for her armbar.

Rousey rarely has to prove her takedown defense -- her opponent is usually fleeing from any grappling exchanges -- but she showed against Miesha Tate that it's pretty sound. Outside of a single takedown early on, each of Tate's double leg attempts landed her in a hip toss.

In fact, Rousey's use of Judo to counter takedowns, along with Tate's insistence on shooting in, were a big part of her success in the second bout with "Cupcake."


It simply wouldn't be a Rousey breakdown without a section on armbars. Outside of her famous finisher, Rousey has developed the rest of her submission game alongside the highly talented Cesar Gracie team.

There's no accident that Rousey finds herself in position to attack with the armbar so often, as she's always baiting the submission. Her beloved hip toss gives up the far side underhook, which is usually a very bad thing. Against fighters who are not named Rousey, that usually allows the bottom person to scramble into a better position if not reverse entirely.

Simply watch Rousey's fellow "Horsewoman," Jessamyn Duke, give up top position after landing a nice hip toss repeatedly as a good example.

Instead, Rousey waits for her opponent's attempt to scramble and capitalizes viciously. Once her opponent begins to rely on the underhook, Rousey will clamp down with an overhook and throw her legs over for the arm. Most of the time, this favors the person with the underhook, but there are very few armbar specialists of Rousey's caliber.

Basically, the lesson here is that underhooks in scrambles are actually a very bad thing when facing "Rowdy."

Should Rousey not directly fall into the armbar set up, she'll immediately begin working her way into mount. Rousey cuts her knee through any type of guard her opponent and then will look to slide into the mount. While doing this, Rousey keeps heavy pressure on her opponents upper body throughout. While it's not the sharpest aspect of her game, Rousey's aggression often allows her to work through her opponent's guard.

While transitioning through dominant positions, it's fairly common for her opponent to give up her back in an attempt to stand or escape the constant ground strikes. Once more, Rousey's raw aggression shines through, as she immediately jumps on her opponent's arm.

Again, most fighters -- male or female -- simply lose top position when trying techniques like this, but Rousey is a master of her craft.


Like all parts of her armbar game, Rousey's approach to breaking the grip is technical and quick. Instead of pulling through the elbow, which is fairly easy to defend even with a strength disadvantage, she wraps her arms around the wrist. The wrist is much weaker than the elbow joint, meaning it's easier to break the grip from there. Plus, the wrist can get twisted on its own and cause pain, which is further incentive to release the grip.

Rather than pulling straight back, she leans to her side, which really allows her to extend her hips and create even more leverage. The most important part is her grip. Rousey threads her outside arm around her opponent's trapped arm and locks it in a rear-naked choke grip, before yanking to the side, which really cranks the wrist and utterly destroys the grip when finished properly.

To use this grip, it's important that the attacking fighter controls her opponent long enough to set it up. Rousey controls her opponent by squeezing her thighs together, gripping her opponent's arm by the tricep/shoulder joint. To increase the pressure, she crosses her ankles, which ensures Rousey has a tight squeeze with her thighs but makes it easier for her opponent to roll up.

Rousey is more than prepared for that situation.

First, Rousey will attempt to simply rip through her opponent's grip with pure force. If that fails, she'll reach under her opponent's opposite leg and spin outside their legs. From there, her opponents cannot stack her up, and she likes to grab their leg and sweep them back to the top position armbar before attempting to break the grip once more. Since she's so excellent with her squeeze, Rousey is unconcerned that her opponent may momentarily roll into top position. She's able to get back to top position easily, and she's willing to go through this cycle until her opponent's grip breaks.

In her most recent battle with Tate, Rousey brought out some non-armbar related jiu-jitsu. After Tate's sole takedown, Rousey pushed Tate's arm through her legs and managed to lock up a triangle. Though Tate's hand position prevented a finish, it didn't stop Rousey from battering Tate within the hold.

Defensively, Rousey appears to be in complete control on the mat. However, as mentioned, she commonly uses Judo throws that give up an underhook when she lands. Usually, that leads to an armbar for "Rowdy," but it can also allow her opponent to escape out the back door. Both Tate and Liz Carmouche managed to secure Rousey's back briefly. Rousey defended without much issue, but it's a risky part of her game, and one that's unlikely to change due to its integral nature.

Best Chance For Success

I won't repeat my less than polite words that I wrote in Bethe Correia's breakdown, but there's no part of her game that can threaten Rousey.

There's a reason that the champion is the biggest favorite in UFC history.

Considering that Rousey can toss and armbar Correia whenever she wants, I think she has two real options. The more likely one is that Rousey can try to top her record-setting, 14-second win. It would be pretty cool if Rousey could record a single digit victory in a title fight.

Alternatively, Rousey could live up to her pre-fight promises and simply abuse her opponent for an extended period of time. Frankly, unless Rousey slips and knocks herself clean out while attempting a "Showtime" kick or some other similarly absurd scenario, she's not going to lose to Bethe Correia.

Will Ronda Rousey defend her UFC title once again or will "Pitbull" defy the odds and my analysis?

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