UFC 184 ended up being the Ronda Rousey show once again. Even though she only took seconds to defend her belt, she is the talk of the town this morning. The #1 contender Cat Zingano was no match for the armbar aficionado. Rousey and Zingano were the main event in place of Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort when the men’s champion backed out due to injury.
Jake Ellenberger vs. Josh Koscheck. This fight featured Koscheck who had a super long layoff from fighting after a couple of tough losses and Ellenberger who looked like he got beat up in the locker room. The first round saw Koscheck get a nice takedown on his opponent, but it would be one of the few high points for the yellow haired brawler. There were lots of side cage scuffling going on in this round. Ellenberger didn’t throw a ton of punches in this round, but the ones that landed did hurt Koscheck and it made a difference the rest of the way.
In round two the fans got tired of the cage grappling and eventually their boos caused the ref to separate the guys so an actual fight could break out. Koscheck just looked awkward this entire round. He kept wiping his eye which became an issue the more he got tagged by Ellenberger. When Koscheck went for another takedown it was not only stuffed, but it turned into a deadly choke hold. Ellenberger locked in the choke as Koscheck flopped to the mat like a fish caught in a net and could not escape. He made a big mistake in relaxing against the cage and it cost Koscheck this fight as he tapped out just before the sandman entered the octagon.
Raquel Pennington versus Holly Holm
Holm made her UFC debut with a 7-0 MMA record, taking on a tough fighter in Pennington at 5-5. Holm started the first round by trying to outpoint her rival. Her footwork and movement were impressive. She kept Pennington off her with ease with her reach advantage. She racked up plenty of points in round one as she tried to score instead of throw haymakers. Her kicks were her power move.
Round two was a little better for Pennington. She landed a solid body kick and used a few leg kicks as well. More leg kicks would have helped her cause. Pennington got stronger as the round went forward. Holm was still landing shots to pile up points, but it was the journey-woman who was getting in heavy strikes.
Holm was busier in round three, but so was Pennington. Holm hit her with a great hook that might have floored a less determined fighter. Holm also landed more kicks in this third round. She then ate a punch that put her on the mat for a half second. She bounced right up to press the action with Pennington though. Pennington absorbed a big kick to her dome, but kept up the pace. She then proceeded to bloody the nose of the former boxing champion Holm as the fight ended.
This fight was a decent showing for both fighters and was never boring. Holm just ended up on top in a split decision as she simply racked up points minute after minute.
With this win, Holm took a step toward a future date with the best in the game, Ronda Rousey. The champion would not have much trouble with the rookie from what I saw in this fight however. Holm just got to the UFC I’m aware, but there aren’t a lot of possible contenders that the womens’ champion has not already eviscerated. Holm is a former world champion in the boxing world so surely she won’t be defeated by the aura of invincibility that surrounds Rousey. She may be beaten by the armbar though, just like so many others.
Ronda Rousey v. Cat Zingano. What can I say about a fight that lasted just 14 seconds? Plenty. Zingano’s plan to go on the offensive as soon as Big John McCarthy gave the signal was not a bad one. It obviously didn’t work out for her and she was visibly embarrassed by her failure to even cause Rousey to break a sweat. Whether she got caught early on with the armbar or late in the fight, the result would have been the same. She chose to take the fight to Rousey instead of going for a feeling out process.
To the credit of the champion, she said she expected a fast start from Zingano. She obviously didn’t know exactly what was coming, but was prepared for the flying knee attempt from Zingano to start the action. Rousey side stepped that move and ended up grappling with her challenger for a moment before the two hit the mat tangled together. Rousey gets a lot of credit for her talent and natural ability, but her flexibility is overlooked. As they hit the mat she managed to roll out from the bottom as her neck was bent awkwardly on the mat. She wound up on the back of Cat Zingano and that was the beginning of the end. She smoothly wrapped up the #1 contender’s arm into her favorite finishing move, the armbar. Zingano wisely tapped asap. Resisting was useless and escaping was impossible. Unless Big John turned heel and dropped an elbow on Rousey, this thing was over….even then I think Big John would have wound up in an armbar himself.
Rousey stays undefeated at 11-0 while the disheartened Zingano dropped to 9-1. The champ will look for someone, anyone, to challenge her later in the year. For Zingano, the road back to a title shot won’t be easy. She will need some big wins in a hurry to get another crack at the belt after losing so quickly. This fight looks bad on her resume, but a different tactic of trying to elude Rousey for a few minutes may have ended similarly.