The UFC returns to the Staples Center this Saturday with a card headlined by the baddest women in the world, Ronda Rousey. This will be the first event the UFC has put on in the Staples Center since August of 2012, due to Aldo vs. Mendes 2 being scrapped late last year. Fighting in Los Angeles, with a movie star in the cage, is sure to bring a long list of celebrities into the arena on fight night.
Three things to watch at UFC 184
Outside of the headline, the card can only be described as mediocre at best. The card is loaded with fighters who are trying to get back on the winning track, fighters who are trying to keep their fighting careers alive, and fighters who are starting to make a name for themselves. No doubt the loss of Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort changed this card from a must see, to a “well maybe.” The most important things to watch for this weekend are in the last 3 fights.
3. It’s Now or Never…..Serious
Gone are the days of the UFC when losing 3 fights in a row meant a trip to the unemployment office. That is good news for both Jake Ellenberger and Josh Koscheck, who square off this weekend. Both men are trying to avoid their 4th loss in a row inside the octagon.
Ellenberger has looked flat out atrocious in his last 3 performances, which is frustrating knowing the talent he posses. Jake appears tentative, robotic, and mostly like he is thinking far too much while in the Octagon. If we could see him relax and get out of his own head, we could see the Jake from 2 years ago knocking fools out.
Koscheck on the other hand is a very interesting topic of discussion. He is 37 years old but you don’t get the sense from watching him fight that he is done quite yet. A 3rd consecutive KO loss could change that opinion, but you never know what could happen in this goofy sport. Does Kos have the ‘Mark Hunt’ ability to rejuvenate a career?
Lastly, you shouldn’t even be asking yourself if either man will get cut if they lose. There is no way Uncle Dana lets Kos do anything but retire a life long UFC fighter and if Ellenberger was cut he would be a Bellator star by sun rise.
2. BOXING CHAMPION FIGHTS IN UFC!!!
Who would have thought the first credible professional boxing champion to fight in the UFC would be female? Sure, James Tony fought in the UFC but the hype and skill were no where near the level of one Holly Holm. An impressive victory on Saturday night could have Holm knocking on Holly Holms doorstep.
There is always the fear that the next big thing will lose before they can cash in their hype train ticket. The UFC sure didn’t give Holm an easy out in her UFC debut. She takes on the scrappy and aggressive Raquel Pennington, who is coming off her first UFC victory last December. You better believe she sees beating Holm as a career launching opportunity.
Since originally switching from boxing to MMA in March of 2011 Holm has said and done everything right. She hasn’t tried to rush her career or claim she could destroy any woman. She is even on record in saying she needs 1 or 2 more fights after Pennington, before fighting Rousey. The facts are the UFC won’t let that happen. Any type of finish on Saturday will punch Holms ticket to a title fight.
1. A Fight for the Movies
While Ronda Rousey is the movie star, Cat Zingano has the story that would make any Hollywood director drool. These two women have a ton of respect for one another, which is obvious in the lack of trash talk leading up to Saturday. If it wasn’t for the posters you wouldn’t even know Rousey was fighting Zingano by the way Rousey talks.
Rousey was put in a rather tough position in terms of promoting the fight. Her opponent is coming off a victory after being sidelined with a serious knee injury. Her opponent also had personal tragedy outside the cage, with the loss of her husband. With all of that, what is Rousey suppose to say? If she comes out and talks trash then she is right back where she was after she blew off shaking Meisha Tates hand.
The actual fight itself is a very interesting one. The main question is does Cat Zingano have the ability to make it out of the first round? Cat is a notoriously slow starter, while Rousey has 8 armbar finishes in the first round. Cat will need to do what no woman has been able to and that is push the pace and bully the champ. How will this one end? With a real Cinderella story or with a girl who can play Cinderella with her arm raised once again?
by Tim Thompson