by Alyssa Fasolo
We’ve all seen the kick. Holly Holm’s iconic kick to the jaw that knocked out defending champion Ronda Rousey in the UFC Bantamweight Championship has been viewed over and over again since it took place Nov. 14. However, as shocking as it was, many say that Rousey had lost the fight long before the kick even happened.
Going into the fight with odds as high as 22-1 in her favor, Rousey was made out to be on top of her game. Described as the female Mike Tyson of today, Rousey was notorious for her quick and decisive wins and for beating her opponents at their own game. This is exactly what she tried to do with Holm, and it ended up costing her.
Rousey was down right from the start. As soon as the fight began, it was clear that Holm was dominating and that she was in control. Rousey made no attempt to take it down to the mat, where she is known for being strongest. She instead tried to slug it out with Holm on her feet, which clearly was a bad move.
The first round consisted mainly of Rousey chasing Holm as she danced around the outside, and she took several hard hits to the face.
Prior to the fight, Holm told color man Joe Rogan, “Ronda has never been hit hard enough to throw her off her game. That’s exactly what I’m going to do today.”
Holm stayed true to her word. After the first round, it was clear that Rousey was both exhausted and hurting as she headed back to her corner. Rousey came out in the second round looking slow from the start. By this point, the fight was already over. Seconds later Holm delivered that legendary kick to the head, and it was lights out for Rousey.
Dominating the media, this fight has been described as the greatest upset in UFC history. Many wonder how a fight that was predicted to go so strongly one way could possibly end up being total domination in the other direction. For starters, many feel that Rousey’s ego played into the fight in more ways than one.
Rousey didn’t want to be good; she wanted to be great. Being great means being able to win in more ways than one. Rousey seemed to make a point of beating her opponents not by playing to her own strengths, but by playing to their strengths.
Prior to her fight with Holm, Rousey defeated Beth Correia by staying on her feet and brawling it out with her. It was the mistake of trying to use this tactic again against Holm that ended up making Rousey pay.
Holm came into the fight as a champion kickboxer known for her athleticism, quickness and devastating kicks. Trying to beat her at her own game would be a mistake on anyone’s part.
Not only did Rousey suffer physically, but many feel that she lacked the mental component of the fight as well. Just days before, when Holm and Rousey met up at the weigh in, they nearly got into it right then and there. Rousey got in Holm’s face, and then she lost it when Holm came back at her. Rousey stepped away from the encounter clearly rattled, but Holm maintained the same calm demeanor that she possessed the whole way through the fight.
Rousey, on the other hand, never seemed to regain her cool after that encounter. Many feel that this encounter with Holm sparked the first bit of fear for Rousey. For any athlete who is told so many times that he or she is good, the idea of losing to a seemingly unworthy opponent is one of the most terrifying. For Rousey, the championship was most definitely not the only thing on the line the night of the fight.
Rousey came in with a reputation. Not only did she have a history of victory, but she was also favored to beat Holm and beat her badly. Many expected the fight to not last more than a few seconds. However, with the combination of Holm’s intelligence and skill and Rousey’s ego and shaken mindset, the outcome of this fight made anyone thinking it would go the other way look silly.
Many left the fight that night wondering what it would mean for Rousey’s future. Despite the rumors that her career was coming to an end, Rousey has announced that while she will be taking a break, she will be back. The break was anticipated prior to this fight, and while Rousey may be out of the spotlight for a while, her return is sure to be one worth watching. After the loss, it is no secret that when she comes back she will be out to prove something.
Nonetheless, Rousey is a figure who has made her mark on the sports world. She has earned her reputation as the excellent fighter that she is, and while this loss may be an obstacle, many are looking forward to seeing how Rousey will overcome it.
One thing is for sure: when Rousey does return there will be a rematch, and it will definitely be one to watch.
Categories: Volume 97 Issue 5 Sports