Wednesday, February 20, 2013
UFC 157: Five factors people are neglecting to see
This Saturday February 23rd when Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche step into the octagon, it will be history in the making. It will be the first time, other than referee Kim Winslow, that female feet have actually touched the mat. Even those of octagon girls such as Arianny Celeste and Brittany Palmer have always walked on the outside of the cage.
Rousey (6-0, 6 subs) the newly appointed first UFC Women's World Bantamweight champion will defend her title against Carmouche (8-2, 5 KO's 2 subs) in the main event of UFC 157. Yes, it has been over 19 years and 156 Pay per Views, but the women have finally arrived in the UFC. Yet, according to all the so-called experts, the outcome is a forgone conclusion.
That is because Rousey has taken the MMA world by storm and she's done it all in a relatively very short period of time. Her first pro fight was in late March 2011, less than two years ago, and since then she's finished off all six of her opponents in a total time of 7:39; that's an average of 1:16 per fight. On top of that she carries with her Olympic pedigree from two Olympic Games, 2004 & 2008, where she medaled in Judo winning the bronze in '08. Those athletic achievements, plus gorgeous California girl looks that earned her the cover of the ESPN Magazine Body Issue make her the face of women's MMA.
That said, so much for Carmouche winning this weekend right? Wrong! While I too believe Rousey will end up victorious, (I'll state my reasoning at the end), there are factors people are neglecting to see. Five reasons why I believe Carmouche will give Rousey all she can handle before eventually losing in the long run.
Here they are:
1.) Cage experience - Rousey's lack of time spent in her fights may end up proving to be a detriment if Carmouche is able to get out of the first round; something none of Rousey's opponents have managed to do. If so, Carmouche has proven more than once she can go the distance if need be and she has actually gone into a fourth round once, already having been in a title fight. The book is still out on Rousey if she has to go into deep waters.
2.) Lack of challenge - Rousey has never been tested in her fights. If Carmouche is able to push her into the second round and more importantly land some strikes on her while doing it, it can be a whole new experience for Rousey. Granted she's tough and also a former Judo champion, however she was never punched in the face while taking someone down in Judo. If Carmouche is able to do that more than once, it'll be interesting to see how Rousey reacts.
3.) Size difference - Carmouche's stature may actually present a problem for Rousey. Unlike her toughest challengers to date Meisha Tate and Sarah Kaufman, who were tall and slender with long limbs, Carmouche is short and stocky with short limbs. Thus, it won't be so easy to grab Carmouche to throw her and it won't be as easy to catch and extend one of her arms in her patented arm bar submission.
4.) Battle tested - Carmouche is a former Marine who did three different tours of duty in Iraq. Granted this is sport not war; but when you've been battle tested in that fashion, competing in a sport pales in comparison. Not to mention that sort of discipline has to play a positive role in your preparation for a fight.
5.) No Fear - When it comes to fighting Rousey, Carmouche has no fear. Besides the obvious of being a combat veteran, when the champ was signed by the UFC, Carmouche was the only one that openly campaigned to fight her. On top of that, to exhibit the courage it takes to openly admit you're gay as a professional athlete while in your fighting prime, just shows you're not afraid of anything. Thus, when you have no fear of losing, anything is possible.
All that said I am still picking Rousey to win because of one reason; competition experience. Though she's actually been fighting professionally one year less than Carmouche, Rousey has been competing since she was a little girl. First, as a swimmer while a child and then as a Judoka since here early teens. Competing at the highest level of Judo, the Olympics, at only 17 shows that the bright lights and the screaming crowd should not have an adverse effect on her come Saturday.
Rousey seems to have handled the so called pressures of being a media darling with ease. It's as though she has known all along this is what she wanted and has prepared herself not only physically but mentally and emotionally for it. Whatever the outcome, I anticipate the excitement for these two ladies to be at a fever pitch equivalent to any two men who have ever fought in the octagon before. Thus, as only a true gentleman would say, "Ladies first."
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