RONDA ROUSEY RETURN
After more than a year away from fighting, Ronda Rousey looks to be close to returning by year’s end.
According to a Tweet sent Tuesday night by MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, the previously rumored fight between Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes and Rousey is close to being signed for UFC 207 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas. Helwani’s Tweet stated that the fight may be finalized this week or sooner.
While Rousey has been very quiet regarding any potential return, her coach Edmond Tarverdyan just last week seemed to be shutting down talk of an imminent return, telling the Los Angeles Times to ask again in two months.
Nunes, on the other hand, has been vocal about the prospect of a fight against Rousey. “If they ask me who I want to fight, I’m going to say I want to fight Ronda,” she told Combate.
The late December/early January show is often set up to be one of the biggest UFC shows of the year and, with UFC 205 so loaded up, a Rousey return on Dec. 30 may be the only card they have to play.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: As evidenced by the Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit main event on Jan. 2 this year, the UFC doesn’t always go big for the New Year show, but with this year’s show falling on a Friday, UFC has extra motivation to make sure people go out of their way to order the show. When Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem headlined a Friday show in 2011, it did a lot fewer buys than would have been expected. If there’s a perfect fighter to draw buys on a Friday night, it might be Rousey. Rousey has a lot of fans who tend to only buy her fights, so they will be less attached to the traditional Saturday night time slot than the typical month to month UFC fan. Rousey also gets a lot of mainstream media that can be used to hammer home the Friday night timeslot.
As for the fight itself, it’s a big risk for Rousey. There are a lot of questions to be answered regarding her motivation to fight and her standup skills after being outclassed by Holly Holm last year. Even though it’s only been a year since she last fought, it feels like the division has evolved by a full generation or two since she left. It feels much like Royce Gracie coming back – a decade after beating up the big lugs who didn’t understand grappling – to fight Matt Hughes. Nunes is much more well-rounded than many of the women Rousey was fighting during her reign, but she’s not invincible. Nunes still hasn’t proven that she can be effective in the later rounds of a fight, but then again, neither has Rousey. If the fight happens, and one doesn’t score a quick finish, it will be very interesting to see who can come through in the later rounds.
WEDNESDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
–Saturday’s UFC 204 prelims did 678,000 viewers, the lowest PPV prelim number of the year.
-Fox Sports’ NFL analyst Jay Glazer, who often works UFC on Fox shows, has come out very vocally in opposition of former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy’s attempt to begin an MMA career. “I would be incredibly disappointed in any of my fellow MMA coaches and any promoters if they took Greg Hardy in and taught him a shred of our incredible sport,” he said on Twitter. “Many of us train women in self defense specifically to help protect versus domestic violence. Me and all my coaches at Unbreakable do and take great pride in that. Competing in any sport is a privilege, Greg Hardy should not be granted the privilege. There are many beautiful arts taught in our sport, none of which should be afforded to him.” Hardy was arrested on domestic violence charges in 2014 and was convicted, but the charges were eventually dropped upon appeal.
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUND-UP
-Sam Alvey vs. Alex Nicholson has been moved from this Saturday’s cancelled Manila card to the Nov. 5 show in Mexico City.
-Jenel lausa vs. Yao Zhikui has been moved to UFC Fight Night: Melbourne on Nov. 26.
-Dan Hooker vs. Jason Knight also on the Melbourne card.
-Aljamain Sterling vs. Raphael Assuncao at UFC Fight Night: Albany on Dec. 9.
-Brandon Girtz vs. Adam Piccolotti and Francis Carmont vs. Linton Vassell at Bellator 165 on Nov. 19 in San Jose.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: TUESDAYS NEWS DIGEST 10/11: Cruz makes his case for being on a short list of future McGregor opponents (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)