The above image is from when Holly Holm face kicked Rona Rousey into a downward spiral back at UFC 193. None of the official promotions leading up to tonight’s fight have shown this. They’re also not really showing much of the defending champ, Amanda Nunes.
Rousey is obviously the draw here, but Nunes is no joke. She is tough and has a lot of different options. She’s a legit black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and holds a brown belt in Judo. I don’t expect that bum rush hip toss Rousey uses to be as effective against her, which will be a problem for Rousey.
Rousey has had a year to work on what was revealed to be a pretty mediocre standup game, but without changing camps, I wouldn’t expect much improvement. She looks like she’s in tremendous shape, though.
I think we’ll see a pretty measured first round with some decent exchanges, maybe a little clinch work, possibly even a takedown by Rousey. I expect Nunes will be able to weather it. Round two will come down to who’s the crisper puncher and has the better gas tank. If I had money on this, I’d say TKO by Nunes deep in the second round. Then early retirement for Rousey.
I’m sure the new owners of the UFC are hoping for a Rousey victory, but Nunes is an historically significant fighter because she’s the first openly gay UFC champ. She might even be the first openly gay champ of any fight sport. I’m sure some gay boxer has held a belt, but I can’t think of anyone else who’s out.
I haven’t looked too closely at the rest of the card, but it looks like there are some decent fights scheduled.