Breaking down the Takedown: Rousey vs. Holm

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UFC 193 is set to take place from Melbourne, Australia this Saturday and is headlined by the one of the most dominant champions of the modern era, as Ronda Rousey is set to defend her 135lb belt against Holly Holm.

Whereas most fights in which ‘Rowdy’ partakes in, she is easily a huge betting favorite and this fight proves to be no different. However, I take it upon myself to examine both fighter in detailed fashion and break it down in to what I believe are their biggest strengths, weaknesses and edges they possess as they look to do battle inside the famed Octagon.

“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey
• 28 years old, 12-0 MMA record
• 4th Degree Black Belt in Judo
• Current UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion

Strengths
-Judo
It goes without saying that Ronda Rousey has picture perfect technique when it comes to her famed judo throws known in the Judo world as the Harai Goshi. With her endless knowledge of body weight and positioning, it’s no surprise that Rousey is able to take the fight to the mat either in a defensive manned (in regards to defending a takedown) as well as offensively. As shown in her second fight with longtime rival Meisha Tate, she can and always will work for the throws when engaged.

-The Armbar
During her Strikeforce days, Ronda Rousey’s main selling angle was that there was never an opponent she could not win via armbar within the first round. In fact, while all 12 of her wins are stoppages 9 of them are via armbar submission. This technique, usually seen as the biggest casually known submission, is down to a science in ‘Rowdy’s arsenal. Her encounter with Cat Zingano saw the fight end in a mere 14 seconds, making a record for the shortest UFC championship fight in history. If Holm dares think about engaging the takedown or the floor mat at all in her game plan it should be plain and simple that she prepare for this famous Rousey staple.

-Aggression
Looking back on Ronda’s fights, seemed like I was running in circles until I arrived at her rematch vs rival Tate. The biggest difference was that this fight actually saw the second round and remains Rousey’s longest fight to date. She pushes forward aggressive and violent, wanting the fight to be another mark in her win column and to show the world that there is no one else out there that’s on the level to be called the champion. With Holly Holm seeing 2 decision wins in the UFC so far most people assume that she does not possess the ability to finish the champion, and if she is not prepared to face the unending pressure that is Rousey, Holm will end up being just another person who lost to the greatest women’s champion the MMA world has seen.

Weaknesses
-Emotions
As seen in her last fight against Bethe Correia, Ronda Rousey is seen to harbor emotions when heading into a fight. She is one to act upon them and fight accordingly. After yesterday’s weigh in, Ronda seemed over flooded with emotions after their brief physical encounter. If the champion brings in any of these emotions into the Octagon, it could potentially throw her off of her own game and end her highly praised championship run.

-Best of the Best
While this may seem as a bit of a stretch, I honestly believe that Ronda being the best of the best for so long may in fact be a weakness heading into this fight. She has faced many opponents with all of them being sound in most areas of MMA, yet it seems that none of the fighters have been particularly the best in areas. Even with the UFC touting about Correia being ‘an elite striker’, I am more than sure half of the extensive MMA watchers were able to see right through their selling ploy. With Holly Holm being a former boxing champion, it should be a change of pace seeing Ronda fight someone with high credentials such as Holm.

Edge
– Destroying Opponents Will
Even before stepping into the Octagon, if a fighter’s will is not in the right place, there is not even a point in them competing. Ronda, along with a few other fighters in the history of the UFC have this ability to make opponents not only doubt themselves but destroy their will entirely. In the mere presence of Rousey, a fighter seems to be completely changed for the worse. Only Tate, the one person to have a rematch with Rousey, has seemed mentally sound in their second outing. With this special trait, Ronda may already have the championship match up won.

Holly Holm
Holly “The Preachers Daughter” Holm
• 34 years old, 9-0 MMA record
• Former Professional Boxer
• 3 division Boxing Champion with 16 defenses

Strengths
-Diverse Striking
In her two decision wins in the UFC, Holm has showed a diverse array of striking attacks with the use of the oblique kick and side kick to the body. Training with both Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn, it should be of no surprise that she would use some of the techniques that both Carlos Condit and former champ Jon Jones use. Setting up the head kicks is also another crucial part in Holm’s gameplan as she is consistent in transitioning from punches to kicks and even switch kicks to both the head and body. With Holm’s extensive striking arsenal, this will definitely be the best striker Rousey has ever defended against.

-Takedown Defense
In a fight where armbars and judo throws are such a prevalent threat, it should not come as a surprise that one would work takedown defense heading into the fight. Holly Holm has yet to be taken down in her UFC run and this could be the biggest asset she possess, yet in contrast, she has yet to face such a master of taking the fight to the mat in the form of Ronda Rousey. When the two finally meet, it will be a test to see what Holm and her defense can do to stop the champion in her tracks.

Weaknesses
-Competition against High Caliber Opponents
When Holm was declared to the next challenger to Ronda’s reign, many people criticized the UFC’s decision to pass over other contenders with more experience under their tenure. Holly Holm has only had two fights with the UFC and both came by way of decision, which can be a huge problem as she steps up to the best of the best in the division. Only Holm can know if she is ready for this step up and the world will soon know when the door closes in the Octagon.

-Inconsistent Pacing
It was always hard to get a grasp on where Holm’s pace was set when watching over her fights. She would one second be letting her opponent take over and look for a few counter strikes, then would completely shift to wanting complete control. It was when she had control that there would be inconsistency in how the fight was played out. It would go from trading strikes left and right, to slow and felt out. While this may not be a huge flaw by any means, against Rousey this can be definitely seen as a weakness the way she pushes forward to end a fight.

Edge
– Championship Mentality
With her accomplished boxing career, Holm has been at the top (in three different weight classes mind you) and knows what needs to be done to be called a champion. This may be the difference in her meeting with Ronda from other opponents (minus Tate) and could be the mental edge she could needs. When the two meet it definitely seems it will be a test of who understands that they are the true champion and what it means to either of them.

Final Thoughts
Two champions and one huge title fight set to take place on the grandest stage of them all. The two women are both mentally strong, physically at their peak and understand what is expected of them when it comes to their fighting caliber. When the two meet and cage door closes, we will see which of the two have the more disciplined approach in the means of capturing gold. Ronda, with the enormous pressure from the media in being the greatest of all time, and Holm being set up as the biggest threat to Rousey’s championship run. The two both have high standards and both have all the means to meet them. The pair are set to clash from the land down under as UFC 193: Rousey vs Holm takes place November 14th 2015 from Melbourne Australia.

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