Paging the Preacher's Daughter...

The Fall of an Empire- I don't think I'm EVER going to get tired of seeing that kick
Could you please deliver another round of severe assbeat to Ronda Rousey's table? I don't think she got the hint from the last time:
Shortly following her first public remarks since her stunning upset loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193, Ronda Rousey quickly made headlines again when she defiantly announced that she would remain with her longtime coach despite the KO loss. 
Nearly a month removed from the first loss of his professional career, fan and pundits scrutinized the coach and claimed that Edmond Tarverdyan was partially at fault for Rousey's shortcomings. 
Tarverdyan also came under fire when he claimed that Holm did not outstrike Rousey, despite Ronda's busted lip and nose at the end of the opening round, and the head kick heard around the world moments later in the second round. 
Her mother's earlier comments also fanned the flames. 
However, despite the pressure from fans, media and her own mother to part ways with her coach, Rousey remained intransigent. 
"Of course I'm staying [with coach Tarverdyan]," Rousey told ESPN in an exclusive interview (h/t MMAFighting.com). "That's my mom's opinion, not mine." 
Rousey also confirmed that she will return to the UFC to avenge her loss to Holm. 
"I need to come back," Rousey declared. "I need to beat this chick. Who knows if I'm going to pop my teeth out or break my jaw or rip my lip open. I have to fucking do it.
Yeah, keep it classy, Ronda. (Does the current generation of HTML support sarcasm tags?)

This is a fighter who got absolutely destroyed by someone with better footwork, better preparation, more experience, far superior striking skills, and immeasurably greater humility and decency than herself. She got manhandled in that fight. (Or should that be "womanhandled", given Ms. Rousey's status as a "feminist icon", whatever the hell that means?)

The least she could do is give some credit to the rather charming and gracious woman who left her stunned, beaten, and bleeding in the middle of the Octagon.

But even that is too much for her.

It would appear that Ronda Rousey will, in fact, face Holly Holm for a rematch in July next year. Given what a beating she suffered at Holm's rather talented hands (and foot) at UFC 193, I have a hard time imagining that things will go any differently the next time around.

I do not claim this lightly. I have watched Ms. Holm's epic performance again and again since that fight, and what I've come to realise is that, actually, there was nothing in the least bit surprising about it.

She fought carefully, consistently, and very, very intelligently. I have already commented from a striker's perspective (not a very good one, I will readily admit- I have never claimed to be a martial artist, after all, I just like to spar a lot) on how good her footwork and striking technique were. I won't comment much further on that, except to point out a couple of issues that I saw.

First, she does have one fundamental flaw in her stand-up game- she doesn't pivot on her left foot when she throws her left straight, cross, or hook, which means that she simply "push-punches". This costs her a lot of power; in reality, the power generated from a dominant-hand punch comes from the hip, not the hand or the shoulder. But it got the job done, and in brilliant fashion.

Second, she did get clipped, hard, by a left hook that Ronda Rousey threw about halfway through that first round. Holly Holm's right hand was down even while she was delivering a BEAUTIFUL left straight, which is why she got clocked, and why her mouthpiece fell out in the process.

However, I don't put that down to bad technique- I can't even count the number of times that I've been whacked by a hook that came out of nowhere because I inadvertently dropped my left hand while delivering a low cross or uppercut. Stuff happens. Holly Holm knows this, and she recovered from that impact just fine.

Overall, though, her striking was magnificent. It was a wonderful thing to watch. Beyond a couple of minor quibbles about her pivots and so on, there is not much I can complain about. She is a truly GREAT fighter. I train against women regularly, and I don't think much of female strikers- but Holly Holm is one of the few that really impresses me.

Even more interesting than her stand-up striking, though, was her ground game. Now, Holly Holm is nobody's idea of a great wrestler, judoka, or jiu-jitsu practitioner. But look at what happens when her reactions to being taken down by Ms. Rousey are analysed carefully by fight coaches who know what the hell they're talking about:



Her technique on the ground might not have been flawless. It might not have been up to, say, Chris Weidman or Luke Rockhold standards. But it was plenty good enough. She kept her composure, stayed tight and careful, and made sure to get out of the clinches where it mattered.

What is even more impressive is that she got out of those spots of trouble and was almost completely unruffled by them. Anyone who has ever had to transition from stand-up striking to wrestling on the ground knows that it is exhausting to roll around against someone of similar size and strength. Yet when Ms. Holm got up and continued to fight, she didn't even look the least bit bothered.

Ms. Rousey, by comparison, was worn out both from being hit repeatedly- which in itself is very tiring- and from muffed ground-fighting attempts that severely gassed her.

In a rematch, of course, the unexpected could always happen. Holly Holm could easily be blind-sided or caught out by something Ms. Rousey throws. She could get taken down and lose her arm (almost literally, given Ronda Rousey's reputation for breaking women's arms).

However, if you go back and watch the fight again- like I did, for the umpteenth time- you'll see that Ronda Rousey never once attempted a double-leg takedown. Apparently she can't do this very well because she has wonky knees- who knows, maybe she does. More importantly, though, she never once attempted a single kick against a highly skilled, well-trained, and very talented kickboxer.

Think about what that means for a moment. Ronda Rousey never once used weapons at long range.

No complete fighter would ever deny himself (or herself) the use of highly effective long-range weapons. And kicks, if you know how to time them and how to throw them, are hugely effective weapons- as Ms. Holm demonstrated with that EPIC knockout kick.

That tells you how tactically limited Ronda Rousey is as a fighter. She doesn't have muay thai or kickboxing skills- whereas Holly Holm started out as a kickboxer, and Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino (who looks and sounds like a man) has excellent striking skills. On the ground, Ronda Rousey is unquestionably better than anyone else in that division. But on the feet, she has nothing compared to true strikers.

These things, along with the very clear holes that Ronda Rousey showed in her overall game during that fight, tell me that if Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey fight ten times in a row, Holly Holm probably wins like eight, maybe even nine, of those fights.

Don't just take my word for it. Check out what Brendan Schaub- who has the somewhat dubious distinction of being one of several men to date (read: bang) Ronda Rousey- has to say about his ex-girlfriend's chances against the woman who showed her to be an overhyped, overrated, exceptionally classless person:


But enough crapping on Ronda Rousey. I don't like her at all, it's true. However, let's give her the respect that she is due. The fact is that MMA would not be what it is today without Ms. Rousey- for all of her trash talk, her hype, her double standards when it comes to claiming that she can fight and win against men.

That, though, is about as much as I want to praise Ronda Rousey. The person that I really respect is Holly Holm.

The more I see of her- and I have been seeing quite a lot of her interviews of late- the more I like what I see. She is quiet, soft-spoken, confident without ever being rude, extremely respectful toward allies and opponents alike, humble, and- most impressively- she is utterly feminine. She might not look all that great in the Octagon with her hair up and no makeup, but in everyday life, she is a real, wonderful, thoroughly likable woman.



She has amazing hair, all the way down to her back. She is always smiling. She is emotional, to be sure- but then, what feminine woman isn't? That picture from up above is what she looked like when she saw 20,000 people cheering her name upon arriving home in Albuquerque; if she wasn't moved to tears, I'd be surprised.

She clearly adores her husband, her family, and the people that have coached her for the last twenty years. People who know her or have met her don't merely like her- they go on and on and on about what a wonderful human being she is.

I cannot think of a more refreshing contrast between the previous and current champions. She really is the Chris Weidman of the women's bantamweight division- and Mr. Weidman is another champion for whom I have the utmost respect, because he is a profoundly decent human being who also happens to be a badass. (I REALLY hope he wins tonight.)

Again, don't take my word for it- listen to how her teammates at the Jackson Wink Academy, some of whom are great former champions, talk about the way they celebrated Holly Holm's victory:



So here's to the Preacher's Daughter. May her reign be long and proud- and may she kick the ever-lovin' CRAP out of Ronda Rousey the next time they meet.

Comments

  1. Rhonda being well Rhonda shouldn't surprise anyone. From personal knowledge here she is very typical of working class White girls from Riverside California. A lot of trash talk and not nearly as much to back it up as most of them think.

    That said she isn't all that bad, she did accompany that Marine to the Marine Ball as promised and she cleans up all right. I like her.

    Also nothing other well Rhonda stops Rhonda from improving her striking game. It will be a long road, that head kick from Holly Holm would have laid out anyone Holm was amazing but Rowdy honestly I've rarely seen less skilled failing masquerading as striking in the ring than Rhousey had vs Holm.

    She was maybe one step of that of Fallon Fox who gets by on well having been a male and having male upper body strength

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    1. That said she isn't all that bad, she did accompany that Marine to the Marine Ball as promised and she cleans up all right. I like her.

      I'll concede that. I simply find her personality to be utterly obnoxious and lacking in grace. Let her prove that she actually has some humility and respect for her peers, her profession, and the ass-kicking she was just handed, and then I'll change my opinion.

      Also nothing other well Rhonda stops Rhonda from improving her striking game. It will be a long road, that head kick from Holly Holm would have laid out anyone Holm was amazing but Rowdy honestly I've rarely seen less skilled failing masquerading as striking in the ring than Rhousey had vs Holm.

      Judging by the utter lack of skill shown by Rousey, the total absence of respect for the hits that she was taking, I doubt any amount of coaching can compensate for her flaws as a striker. She is a lifelong martial artist- and yet she was making the exact same mistakes in boxing that I was when I first started sparring in earnest nearly 2 years ago.

      Holly Holm, meanwhile, has been a kickboxer, boxer, and MMA fighter for something like 20 years. That is quite a head-start.

      Everything is missing in Rousey's stand-up game except for knockout power, which she clearly has. She doesn't have precision or timing to deliver it, though. And her footwork was... well, comical, to say the least.

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