Sunday, February 24, 2013

Experience pays off, while lack thereof costs


It doesn't matter what the profession is, there is no substitute for experience. However, nowhere is that more prevalent than in the submission game of mixed martial arts. UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and her opponent Liz Carmouche proved that on Saturday night.

In the main event of what was the first time women had ever competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the two ladies delivered. Though the fight only lasted 4:49 seconds, they provided non-stop thrills throughout and stirred emotions back and forth in both directions. Ultimately though it was Rousey ending the fight victorious winning by what else; her patented arm bar.

I stated before the fight that Carmouche was not afraid of Rousey and she proved it as she never ran from the champion. What surprised me even before the fight was that Carmouche wasn't afraid of the moment. She came into the cage smiling, relaxed and poised considering this was a spotlight she had never been in before.

Rousey meanwhile came into the cage with her stoic game face on looking much like the scary beast everyone has made her out to be. Another arm bar victory inside of a minute right; I don't think so, not on this night. As can be seen in the photo above, Rousey was in trouble, serious trouble, for a moment and it looked like a major upset was brewing.

Strange thing is, before it got to that point it looked as though it was going to be typical Ronda early as she took down Carmouche and had her in side control while controlling her via bulldog headlock. However, while trying to gain better position Carmouche, who showed tremendous poise, determination and skill while in this position eventually got out.

Quick as a cat, she not only reversed the position but got Rousey's back. She eventually put herself in the position seen above, not quite able to secure a choke hold, so instead applying a neck crank. Now I don't profess to have the Olympic judo experience Ronda Rousey has, but 12 years of martial arts training, including submission grappling, has put me in more than my fair share of neck cranks.

If you've never been in one, it is even scarier than a choke hold for this reason. In a tight choke, the fear comes from losing consciousness; it is not painful, but scary. With a neck crank, not only can it be a bit painful, the fear comes from your opponent snapping your neck! It's that simple, there is no other way to put it.

So with that said, Carmouche was cranking pretty good as can be seen above. However, that Olympic experience I made reference to earlier and 17 years of Judo paid off because obviously Rousey had been in this position before. How can you tell? Besides not panicking, her escape lets you know.

Unlike Ivan Menjivar earlier in the night who lost to Urijah Faber via standing rear naked choke; Rousey went after Carmouche's leg to escape. She figured "if I can get one of her legs unhooked around me, then she'll lose balance and control and I can wriggle out."

Menjivar, who is very experienced in his own right, attempted to do what most do in his position; attack the opponents arms and hands to try and release the hold. Suffice it to say, Rousey got out, while Menjivar tapped out. However, it is two fold in this case.

While Rousey's experience helped her get out of the submission, Carmouche's inexperience cost her to lose the one opportunity she had to pull off the upset. Inevitably Rousey got Carmouche back on the ground in side control and this time, try as she might, Carmouche wasn't getting out.

Rousey peppered Carmouche with punches while in side control and as everyone in the world knew she would, eventually worked her way towards an arm bar submission attempt. Carmouche valiantly and for a few seconds successfully defended; and it even looked like she may make it out of the round. However, there is no substitute for experience or lack thereof, so Rousey's paid off, while Carmouche's cost her.

Looking back on it, major props to the ladies for a delivering a historic first fight for the women. I watched the fight at a local bar establishment and I can attest that the cheers and excitement were heard and seen throughout. These girls showed they can do it just as good as the men do and on this night they did.

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