Ronda Rousey walked in to UFC 157 on Saturday as the inaugural UFC women’s bantamweight champion. However, by the night’s end, she truly earned that distinction.
On a historic night that saw the first women’s fight in UFC history, Rousey and Liz Carmouche engaged in a battle that lived up to the hype that preceded it. Carmouche was seen by many as a huge underdog while facing the women’s champion, and media darling, Rousey. In reality, the UFC couldn’t have booked a better opponent for Rousey, as was on display on the UFC Primetime series that hyped the bout.
Not many gave the challenger Carmouche much of a chance at UFC 157, and she was quick to blast that assumption out of the water. She threatened early, taking Rousey’s back, and working for a rear naked choke, before quickly switching to a face crank. The move was in so tight, it ripped the champion’s mouth guard over, and left Rousey’s teeth marks in Carmouche’s forearm.
Fortunately for Rousey, she was able to eventually shake the challenger off of her back, literally and figuratively. After putting Carmouche on her back, Rousey was able to use her Olympic medal-winning level Judo to stay on top, working for a scarfhold, before settling for blasting her opponent with punches from the headlock position. Then, with under one minute left in the round, it happened; Ronda Rousey battled for what has become her finishing maneuver, the armbar.
In the six professional fights, and three amateur fights prior to UFC 157, Ronda Rousey was able to lock on devastating armbar submissions in the first round, all leading to victories. UFC 157 was no different, and while Carmouche fought the inevitable as long as possible, before eventually having her grip broken and facing the inevitable.
Many criticized the UFC’s decision to award Rousey the Women’s title, having never fought in the company prior. The former Strikeforce champion certainly proved herself worthy of the position. The media coverage that led up to this event was unlike any in MMA history, with interviews, training specials, and outstanding promotional commercials, and the ladies did not fail to deliver.
The finishing, signature move in MMA is rare, but thrilling. The Rampage Jackson slam, the Mirko CroCop head kick, a Rousimar Palhares leg lock, a Bas Rutten liver kick. Ronda Rousey and her armbar have reached legendary status, and she’s just getting started.
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