Ronda Rousey is amazing. I am particularly enamored with her mental game: her confidence to dominate, humility to learn, toughness, work ethic, high fight IQ, game-planning, and ability to intimidate. But I am also interested in Rousey’s striking, which is a fascinating work in progress.
Rousey’s victory over Bethe Correia was her first real display of striking. Sure, she KO’d Sara McMann, but that was a knee from the clinch against a wrestler. Against Correia, Rousey used punches on the feet to KO a striker.
So what did we learn from Rousey’s brief but decisive striking display?
If we take social media seriously, Rousey’s is either an elite striker on-par with Mike Tyson, or an amateur hack made to look good by third-rate opponents. The truth is somewhere in the middle. So I watched the 34-second fight slowed down by 800% to provide the overly detailed analysis you’ve been waiting for.
THE FIRST THREE EXCHANGES
– What Happened –
The first three exchanges of the fight happened fast and were virtually identical. For all three, Rousey initiated the action with a weak jab followed by a hard overhand right that missed badly. Correia easily slid to the left to avoid the overhand right in the first two exchanges, and in the third Correia slid backward to avoid the right.
Also of note, after the first exchange the fighters nearly clinched, and as they separated Rousey landed a straight right that snapped Correia’s head back.
– What We Learned –
Rousey was open to the counter-attack after the first two overhands swung and missed; in both cases Correia achieved a dominant angle by sliding to the left as Ronda’s momentum carried her forward. Although Correia did not take advantage, Rousey’s looping overhand right would make her vulnerable to counters from a better striker (ahem, Holly Holm?). These first exchanges also provided the first evidence of Rousey’s power; her right cross was thrown while she was off balance, yet jolted Correia’s head back.
THE FOURTH EXCHANGE (4:50 Remaining in Round 1)
– What Happened –
Rousey changed it up. Perhaps suspecting that Correia sensed a pattern, Rousey led with the same weak jab, but instead of the overhand right she followed with a second jab, thrown stiffly and with power, that found its mark and knocked Correia back.
– What We Learned –
Rousey has tremendous fight intelligence. She senses quickly what her opponents are seeing and doing. She knew Correia had seen the same 1-2 combination three times, began the combination the same way, but then changed it up to catch Correia off guard. I love Ronda’s brain.
THE FIFTH EXCHANGE (4:48 Remaining in Round)
– What Happened –
Correia backed away and to her left after eating the aforementioned jab, Rousey squared up and launched another looping overhand right, and Correia threw her own hard right. Rousey’s missed again, and Correia’s was negated because Rousey stepped forward inside its power looking for the clinch or throw.
The fighters clinched, Rousey walked Correia backward and landed an uppercut or two and then a left knee to the midsection. Correia did land a left hook while back pedaling but Rousey didn’t seem to notice. Rousey then went for a throw but Correia kept her hips back and defended. Still in the clinch, Rousey landed a good uppercut to Correia’s head, and Correia answered with a stiff straight left that found its mark. During the clinch exchange both fighters also threw several punches (uppercuts from Ronda, hooks or crosses from Correia) that missed. Because our focus is Ronda’s striking, there is no GIF of the clinchwork.
– What We Learned –
Rousey seemed a bit lucky to avoid Correia’s right hook. The hook actually did land, but Rousey had started to step forward to clinch and in doing so not only stepped inside the hook’s power, but caused Correia, who was worried about the clinch, to pull the punch. Rousey’s head was unprotected, a sign of her immature striking defense. However, once inside the clinch it became Rousey’s world. Despite eating a punch or two, Rousey seized the initiative and roughed up Correia.
THE SIXTH EXCHANGE (4:36 Remaining in Round 1)
– What Happened –
At the end of the previous exchange, Rousey tripped Correia, who stumbled to the ground and somersaulted backward. Rousey absolutely pounced. By the time Correia was on her feet she had her back to the cage and Rousey was on the attack. Rousey threw two off-balance punches with poor form that missed, and then a straight right that landed flush in Correia’s face.
Rousey threw five more punches that missed or glanced, and then a left hook to the jaw that rocked Correia.
After two more missed Rousey punches a desperate Correia, rocked and still backed against the cage, ate a hard left knee from Rousey. Correia tried to slide to her right away from trouble, Rousey followed with two lefts that missed their mark, then coiled, and fired a beautiful right to end the fight.
– What We Learned –
Rousey is still green as a striker, so in the heat of the moment her form breaks, and many or even most of her punches lack technique and balance. But she maintains an unrelenting pace, and *some* of her punches are on balance, on target, and very powerful.
SO… HOW GOOD IS ROUSEY’S STRIKING?
Rousey’s striking is a mix of strengths and weaknesses.
Her weaknesses include: 1) a looping overhand right that is easily avoided and that leaves her open to counter-attacks, 2) a lack of kicks, 3) poor punching accuracy, 4) poor head movement, and 5) inconsistent form and technique.
Her strengths include: 1) power, 2) overwhelming pace and aggression, 3) high fight IQ that translates to her striking game, and 4) smooth transitions from striking to the clinch where she is dominant.
Rousey’s striking is raw. However, she is a world-class athlete with a world-class work ethic who is rapidly improving. Her coaches will critique her striking, and while some call her arrogant, Rousey will be the first to listen and learn. Rousey is a model student, and it will be fascinating to see how her striking has improved the next time she fights.
Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”
Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:
Just make sure you don’t put cooking oil all over your body like Anderson did so it’ll be easy to grab ahold of you @lyotomachidafw 👌
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) October 17, 2017
Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”
Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.
“Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”
Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.
Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217
UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.
The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:
— Ovince Saint Preux (@003_OSP) October 19, 2017
It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.
Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.
Fight News update!!
— UFC (@ufc) October 19, 2017
This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.
With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th? Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.
*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results
Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.
Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.
Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)
Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)
Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)
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