How do you expect the Ronda Rousey-Holly Holm matchup to play out compared to Rousey’s title defenses to date? Does Holm have a chance for the upset? Does she get beat just as quickly? Does she last longer?
MICHAEL BANE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
The only real question in Ronda Rousey’s title defense against Holly Holm is whether or not the fight lasts more or less than 60 seconds. It seems unfair to expect that Rousey is going to keep topping herself, but finishing a fight in under a minute is more the norm for the Rowdy one than not. Four of her last five, five of her last seven, and nine of her total twelve fights have failed to reach the one minute mark.
While Holm is a world class boxer, this is not a boxing match. Building this fight up as some sort of test for Rousey because Holm can win the battle on the feet is a nice selling narrative, but it’s not realistic. Holm does not have knockout power in her fists, and the length she could utilize against Rousey isn’t nearly as effective when the champ can just charge in, grab her, and nullify any reach advantage. I’d wager to say that Rousey’s MMA striking is better than Holm’s is, and she’s got a ton more power. Holm has good size, and is quite athletic, but Rousey is at the same world class level of athlete that superstars such as Lebron James and Adrian Peterson are.
I do see a couple of paths to victory for the challenger. If Holm can catch Rousey with a high kick to the head, it’s pretty much her best chance of putting the champion’s lights out. Rousey has shown a willingness to eat shots, and because of a lack of knockout power at 135 lbs (both men’s and women’s), this hasn’t gotten her in trouble so far. A flash kick to the dome is an outside chance for Holm to do something before Rousey gets a hold of her, pummels her into submission, or rips her arm off.
A more realistic path to victory involves Holm playing Tonya Harding to Rousey’s Nancy Kerrigan. Or perhaps she could petition the Australian MMA Athletic Commission to allow her to bring the lead pipe directly into the Octagon. Outside of those two things, I do not see any real chance of an upset for Holly Holm.
The truth is, Holm is getting this matchup because Rousey’s mostly cleaned out the division, and it’s more interesting to see a new face get slaughtered than Meisha Tate getting beat for the third time. In a division bereft of real or new challengers, risking a Holm loss against another top contender just eliminates another potential opponent for Rousey. Might as well let her get beat now, before she gets beat by someone else and ends up bringing absolutely zero intrigue to a championship fight. Rousey wins by something slightly less than murder, whenever she wants, however she wants. This one goes just under two minutes. Rousey plays Jon Jones and takes the challenger out where she’s best, letting the fisticuffs fly at close range. Rousey could easily just rip Holm’s arm off, but she wants to continue to prove she’s the Baddest Woman on the Planet. She is. Sorry Holly.
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Compared to her other title defenses, Um… Identically?
Chance for an upset? Um… Slight? I suppose the ref could DQ Rousey for having too much Vaseline on her person. Oh wait, Ronda don’t do lube, so… No, not a slight chance. No chance.
And even though Ronda doesn’t do lube, no one is going to last more than a couple minutes with her.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Holm has a chance because of her striking, but I think Rousey finishes her in about a minute or so. That means that she lasts longer than Rousey’s last few opponents combined. I’m not going to believe that Rousey can be beaten until I see it happen with my own eyes. She’s at a level that’s so far above everyone else that it seems ludicrous to even suggest that Rousey loses. That’s not supposed to happen, fighters are supposed to lose occasionally. Nothing against Holm, but I think she falls before Rousey just as everyone else has. It should be an extremely exciting fight, but it will also be a short one.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Ronda Rousey is so far ahead of every other female fighter in the world that this fight will end like all of her other fights. Holm may be a multiple time world champion in boxing, but she has zero ground skills and no woman fighter in the world can stop Rousey’s take downs. I think this fight will end early and by armbar.
DAYNE FOX, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
[Photo (c) Jayne Kamin-Oncea via USA Today Sports]