Before the weigh-in, bookmakers listed Holly Holm as a 22-1 outsider in her main event bout against the undefeated Rousey. Outside of Holm’s corner, it was almost impossible to find anybody who fancied her chances at doing the unthinkable. The 56, 214 fans (a UFC record) packed into the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, saw witness to what has been described as one of combat sport’s biggest upsets; but perhaps the biggest upset was that it was frighteningly one-sided.
It was clear from the offset that ‘the Preacher’s Daughter’ had been thoroughly prepared for Rousey’s style, and was able to navigate Ronda’s ground-based submission offense following a hip toss. Looking sharper, fitter and more streetwise, Holm was able to land straight after straight onto her target throughout round one; confusing and frustrating the once untouchable California megastar. The Rousey blitz threatened to arrive in fits and sparks, but truth be told, she was outclassed from first to last.
After comfortably taking the first round, Holm was able to set in motion one of the most talked about finishes in UFC history. Holm was first able to evade a wild strike from Rousey with ease, an evasion which elicited gasps from the packed crowd and almost landed Rousey flat on her face. Her reprieve from this fate wouldn’t last long as Holm’s superior striking background proved crucial, landing first a cruel left straight which spun a bloodied Rousey around, before finishing matters with a punishing high kick - knocking Ronda out for the count. A picture perfect performance from the new UFC women’s bantamweight champion, who also earned performance and fight of the night bonuses, who moves on to an equally perfect 10-0 MMA record.
What next for Rousey and Holm?
As soon as Rousey’s head hit the mat, talk of a rematch at the milestone UFC 200 event was in full swing; a rematch, which if it were to happen, guarantees staggering payouts for both fighters.
In the 24 hours following the bout, Rousey has already hinted at retiring from the sport; something that was on the cards even before her defeat. With commitments outside of the ring, such as her role in the third Expendables entry, it’s possible that Ronda will take a break from the octagon before taking attempting to take back the title in what will be one of the most anticipated rematches in memory. If Rousey chooses to not return immediately to the ring, and hold out until UFC 200, Holm will have the option of fighting another opponent before locking horns with her UFC 193 opponent one more time. Whatever happens moving forwards, the results of Saturday night (or very, very early morning for those in Europe) have turned the division on its head, and made for some extremely interesting outcomes.
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