A devastating head kick from Holly Holm became the unlikely culprit in derailing Ronda Rousey’s dream to retire from the UFC undefeated. The loss to Holm will go down in history as one of the biggest upsets in MMA history, one that sent everyone reeling over the weekend, including UFC President, Dana White.
White featured on the Joe Rogan Experience episode #723 and spoke candidly about UFC 193. Despite the loss, White doesn’t believe Rousey’s legacy has been tarnished, noting that to compete for that long with an unblemished record is hard no matter how great of an athlete you are. Couple that with the fame, pressure and workload of being a superstar, nevertheless the UFC champion; he believes Rousey did it better than anyone has before.
“In this sport, and we say this all the time that there’s so many different ways to win and lose – it’s so hard to be perfect in this sport, to go undefeated and go on these long runs for 10 years like Jose Aldo or as long as Anderson Silva did or as long as Ronda Rousey did, it is hard to be perfect every time you go in there. I don’t care how good of an athlete, how long you’ve been competing, not everybody jumps out of bed every day and feels perfect and feels good. … It’s just not possible for that to happen all the time.
“That’s why when people go on these undefeated runs in this sport, they are f***ing great. They are truly great. Then you take all the things about physically not being perfect, then add the pressure and the workload that gets put on you when you become a UFC champion. Ronda Rousey did it better than anybody’s ever done it. The amount of work and the time she put in, how hard she trained, the things that she would do. She didn’t become a huge superstar the way she did for no reason. She worked at it. And you see Conor (McGregor) work at it. These guys that can go on these long runs are very unique individuals.”
White went on to breakdown the fight, giving Holly Holm full props for a well-executed game plan. Up until now the world hasn’t really had the opportunity to see much of what Rousey can do, having decimated all of her previous opponents, but it was clear that the decision to be aggressive, forward pressing and trying to stand with Holm was not the way to go.
“Holly Holm fought the perfect fight. As you sit and just think about it and run it through your head, she fought the perfect fight,” White said. “Ronda was a f***ing tornado, ripping through everyone in seconds, so you don’t get to see her full game or what she’s got, and (UFC 193) was just craziness. It’s tough to sit back and look and game plan. And the other thing is, what are you going to do with Holly? Now you can look back and say, (Rousey) probably should have tried to grapple her, tried to double-leg her, get her in the clinch, take her down, do this, that and everything else. But that’s not Ronda. Ronda is, ‘I’m going to go out and f***ing bang with you. I’m going to try to throw you. If I get the opportunity I’ll throw you.’
She just never got any opportunities. She got into a couple exchanges. She rocked Holly a couple of times. She did. From what I remember seeing in the fight, I remember seeing Holly look like she got hurt a couple times in the fight by Ronda. (Holm) was on the outside and picking her apart with big shots, hit her with a big elbow one time, hitting her with hooks.”
With a rematch already front and centre in most people’s minds, the UFC must be licking in their lips in anticipation. The question is how Rousey will come back from this.
“She’s the mentally strongest f***ing athlete I’ve ever met in my life. When she gets over this loss, she’s going to be a savage.She was a maniac and a hard-worker when she was the best in the world. What’s she going to be like now that she lost?
The thing that makes this fight great again is Holly Holm. Now everybody knows how talented Holly Holm is and that Holly Holm is legit and Holly Holm is a workhorse, too. Both these two are going to take the next few months, go back in, start working on sh*t, and they’re going to clash again. And this second fight will be f***ing awesome.”
Ronda Rousey will just have to get through her medical suspension first.
Aldo vs. Lamas 2 and Ponzinibbio vs. Perry Added to UFC Winnipeg
The UFC has added Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas 2, and Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Mike Perry to their UFC Winnipeg card on December 16th.
The two fights were announced as official today on the UFC’s Twitter account.
THIS. CARD. pic.twitter.com/bc4AyNncqy
— UFC (@ufc) October 13, 2017
Aldo (26-3) last fought at UFC 212 in June, where he lost by third round TKO to Max Holloway. After being promoted to the undisputed 145-pound champion last November, he was looking to make the first defence of the title against Holloway.
Lamas first faced Aldo back in 2014 at UFC 169. Aldo, who was again featherweight champion at the time, defeated Lamas with ease winning by unanimous decision (49-46) on all scorecards. Lamas is on a two-fight winning streak after defeating both Charles Oliveira and Jason Knight with impressive finishes.
Since his last UFC loss to Lorenz Larkin back in 2015, Ponzinnibio (25-3) has won five consecutive fights. His most recent victory was a upset win over Gunnar Nelson in July at UFC Glasgow. There was some controversy after the fight, as replays seemed to show a short grab and several eyes pokes from Ponzinnibio before knocking out Nelson in the first round.
Mike Perry has taken the UFC by storm since making his debut for the promotion last August. Picking up four wins all by knockout, the only loss ‘Platinum’ suffered was too Alan Jouban by decision. Ranked at #9 in the welterweight division, a win over Ponzinnibio could definitely propel Perry into the top ten at 170-pounds.
With the additon of these two fantastic fights, the lineup for UFC Winnipeg is as follows:
- Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos – Welterweight bout
- Glover Teixeira vs. Misha Cirkunov – Light heavyweight bout
- Antônio Rogério Nogueira vs. Jared Cannonier – Light heavyweight bout
- Tim Elliott vs. Justin Scoggins – Flyweight bout
- Chad Laprise vs. Galore Bafondo – Welterweight bout
- Alessio Di Chirico vs. Oluwale Bamgbose – Middleweight bout
- Vitor Miranda vs. Julian Marquez – Middleweight bout
- John Makdessi vs. Abel Trujillo – Lightweight bout
- Nordine Taleb vs. Sultan Aliev – Welterweight bout
Why the UFC Needs to Introduce 165 and 175-pound Weight Divisions
- The debacle that were the UFC 216 weigh-in last Friday further highlighted current weight cutting problems in mixed martial arts.
More specifically in this case it was in the UFC’s lightweight division. A fight between Nik Lentz and Will Brooks was pulled due to Lentz having ‘medical issues’ according to a UFC statement, hours before he was due to weigh-in.
Title challenger Kevin Lee then took to the scale seconds before the deadline and was over the limit by a pound. Fortunately he made weight after being given an extra hour. But these are not isolated cases, especially at 155-pounds.
There isn’t necessarily a solution to this problem but there may be a short term fix in the form of new weight classes approved by the ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports) in July 2017. These include 165 and 175-pound divisions.
While not specific to the lightweight division, the problems with weight commonly occur there. In March this year, Khabib Nurmagomedov was rushed to hospital during fight week when cutting down for his title contest with Tony Ferguson. Subsequently the UFC 209 main event was cancelled. Khabib has been regularly discussed as a title challenger but he’s often struggled to make weight and failed on numerous occasions.
With drastic dehydration it is still unknown what health implications may effect him and other mixed martial artists in the future.
Some top ranked fighters such as Donald Cerrone, Jorge Masvidal and Rafael Dos Anjos have moved up to the welterweight division to preserve their health from these strenuous cuts, and have all been relatively successful.
However, many fighters are still reluctant and insist on dropping 10-20% of their bodyweight in the hours and days leading up to a bout. For example, Kevin Lee was rumoured to be 19 pounds over the day before he stepped on the scales.
At 170 pounds, welterweight is fifteen pounds more than lightweight which is a noticeable difference between relatively low weight classes. Especially when you consider that the divisions increase ten pounds from as low as 115 up to 155. There are many fighters who find themselves too big to be a lightweight, yet too small to compete at welterweight.
The incidents last Friday should hopefully be a wakeup call to the UFC, who can also set an example for other organisations such as Bellator, One FC, and Cage Warriors.
So far in 2017 the UFC has lost 14 fights in 48 hours or less before they were due to take place. That is one fight every two cards. While weight cutting is not always to blame, more often than not it plays a big role. These situations leave the UFC at a loss, fighters without opponents and a pay check, and fans disgruntled. Not to mention the health implications for the athlete involved.
The UFC must recognise these common patterns, remove the 170 pound welterweight division and create 165 and 175 pound rosters instead. Some may see an additional weight class as devaluing UFC titles even further but this would not be the case.
Recently the women’s featherweight title was created without having a roster of women to fill it. However, the difference with lightweight and welterweight is that they are comfortably the two deepest, most talent stacked divisions in the organisation.
Admittedly, there is a lot of history attached to the welterweight title since Pat Miletich first won it back in 1998. The likes of Matt Hughes and Georges St Pierre have also added prestige to the belt over the years.
Even so, the sport has changed since then and it’s in a transitional phase. We are in the era of USADA, the era of banned IV drips and certain commissions tightening their regulations on how much they allow fighters to safely cut. Everyone is accountable and aware of the dangers, yet steps still need to be taken.
The athletic commissions and the UFC in particular must act by introducing super lightweight (165lbs) and super welterweight (175lbs) divisions. Perhaps from a fighter’s perspective it seems like a no-brainer that their health should be the main priority.
From a fans point of view there is plenty of talent that could be used in those two divisions. The novelty of fighters blending into these classes would also have the feeling of a superfight. The likes of Nurmagomedov, Lee, Masvidal, Cerrone and Dos Anjos would certainly fit well into a 165 pound division.
Similarly, at 175 pounds, Tyron Woodley could transition from welterweight champion to super welterweight champion. Top talents such as Robert Whittaker, Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia and Robbie Lawler would be perfect matches for this weight.
If this was a success then super middleweight (195lbs) and cruiserweight (225lbs) divisions could be an option in future too.
As previously mentioned this won’t necessarily fix the issues of weight cutting but it gives martial artists another option and is a positive step towards fighter’s safety. Currently there has been no mention by the UFC about introducing these new divisions.
However, with fighter safety being of upmost importance these new divisions must be given serious consideration.
James Gallagher out of Bellator 187 in Dublin due to injury
Irish fans will have to wait a little longer to see James Gallagher fighting on home soil after Gallagher suffered a knee injury in preparation for his main event fight with Jeremiah Labiano in Dublin next month. This bad news was first reported by MMAFighting.com.
The 20-year-old from Strabane co. Tyrone who trains in the famous SBG gym with Conor McGregor and Gunnar Nelson among others has set the featherweight division alight since joining Bellator in 2016. James “The Strabanimal” Gallagher has gone 3-0 with all three of his wins coming by rear naked choke.
After submitting Chinzo Machida, the brother of former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida in Madison Square Garden Gallagher has become a budding star for Bellator.
Due to the youngster’s attitude and potential, many comparisons between Gallagher and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor have been made by the fans and media which has made Gallagher one of Bellator’s most recognizable names. This notoriety has ultimately led to the young Irishman getting a chance to headline in Dublin this November but this injury has delayed his rise for the time being.
Gallagher on social media Thursday stated that he has suffered an injury to his PCL and LCL in his knee and would be out for the remainder of the year. He has assured fans we would return next year and carry on where he started with “The Jimmy show.”
His longtime rival AJ McKee, who has engaged in a Twitter war with Gallagher after his last fight, will now headline Bellator 187 in the 3 Arena in Dublin on November 10th against Gallagher’s SBG teammate Brian Moore. Moore will be making his third appearance for Bellator in this featherweight clash.
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