When Liz Carmouche and Ronda Rousey step out from behind the curtain and into the Octagon at UFC 157 to fight for Rousey's bantamweight championship, history will be made. But once the fight starts, that's when the real news begins.
For all the pre-show hype about Rousey and Carmouche being the first women's fight in UFC, and in the main event spot, the only thing that will ultimately matter is what happens after the door is locked and these two fighters lock horns.
Even though all of the predictions have Rousey winning this fight in a romp, we know that things can change in mixed martial arts with one punch. Carmouche has proven herself to be tougher than she gets credit for, though she is obviously not at Rousey's level physically or in skill.
What to watch for from Rousey
Rousey, the first UFC women's bantamweight champion, has a lot riding on this fight.
Not only is she being tasked with marketing the fight to the world, as evidenced by her face all over the poster and the (wonderful) countdown special UFC put together leading up to the event, but she can turn into a superstar or goat, depending on the outcome.
Of course, if the event doesn't draw at least what an average UFC show does, Rousey will likely take some blame from certain circles of the media.
Even with all of that pressure on Rousey, don't expect her to be anything other than what she has been during her time in the Olympics and Strikeforce. She has a very specific style that she uses and until someone proves she can stop it, she is going to keep doing it.
Judo is Rousey's bread and butter. She is so strong and fast that she will take down an opponent seemingly at will. Once you are on the ground, Rousey is going right after the arm. She doesn't just lock in armbars, she destroys ligaments when she puts the hold on.
That is Rousey's M.O. and what will carry her to a victory if she wins this fight.
What to watch for from Carmouche
Since Rousey is the champion and much more established in mixed martial arts than Carmouche, despite having one less year of professional experience, it is on the challenger to adapt her style.
Carmouche's biggest strength will serve her well in this fight. She has good power in her strikes and wants to keep the fight standing. The only way she is going to beat Rousey is by keeping the fight upright and being relentless with strikes.
Rousey can't get comfortable enough to find and opening to take the fight to the ground. That is obviously much easier said than done, but sometimes a fighter brings the perfect game plan and pulls off the upset.
One big advantage that Carmouche has that past Rousey opponents like Miesha Tate and Sarah Kaufman didn't is emotion. Rousey was magnificent at playing those two like a flute through the media, which led them to come out way too aggressive and get caught where Rousey wanted them.
Another piece of the plan that Carmouche could be thinking about is getting out of the first round. As great as Rousey has been, she has never been asked to go past the first five minutes. We don't know how she will react in the middle and later rounds until she gets there.
Carmouche doesn't have a sterling track record in longer fights, but at least she has been part of them.
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