Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche will make history Saturday night when they meet in the main event of UFC 157. The event not only marks the first time two women have entered the octagon in order to engage in combat, but it also serves as the first time two women have headlined a bill for the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion.
There’s a lot riding on this fight, as Rousey is being hyped as a major promotional star (thanks to stunning looks and a bone breaking armbar) and her success inside the cage could dictate the future of women’s MMA inside the UFC’s famed octagon.
If Carmouche shows up and spoils the party, defeating Rousey, it will not only be one of the greatest upsets we’ve seen in years, but it will simultaneously be a business deal imploding. Let’s not be naive, Carmouche has been brought in to lose this fight and increase Rousey's stock.
Whether Rousey can keep this train on the tracks—and the hopes of countless other female fighters alive—remains to be seen. She’s got a durable challenge in front of her, but that challenge is certainly one not immune to defeat.
If WMMA is going to stick around and pull in the viewers Dana White wants, Rousey has to exit the cage with that belt still around her waist on Saturday. It may not be easy, but it’s very possible.
Carmouche’s best chance at winning this fight is avoiding the ground, forcing Rousey into fire fights and ensuring this one drags on beyond the five minute mark.
Carmouche is most dangerous once she’s settled into her aggressive ways and Rousey would have to be a fool to allow that to happen.
As much as the champion has been working on her striking, her best bet is to avoid exchanging toe-to-toe with "Girl-Rilla" and shooting that take-down as early and often as possible.
There’s no need to take unnecessary risks here.
Carmouche has battled in deep waters on numerous occasions. Her gas tank is solid, and while we’ve never seen Rousey forced beyond the first frame, we know for a fact that Carmouche can fight hard for a solid 15 minutes.
Rousey needs to eliminate any chance of cardiovascular issues surfacing. She’s got to push forward early and often and ensure that Carmouche has no chance of wearing her down.
Strikeforce was a large, widely viewed respectable promotion, but it’s not the UFC. It’s not even close.
Seasoned veterans feel the effects of first-fight jitters when they enter the octagon in their promotional debuts. There’s no reason to disregard that as a possibility for Rousey.
The woman has a lot of pressure on her right now, as she is essentially the face of women’s MMA, and the sole reason Dana White has dared to dip his feet in the still murky waters of WMMA.
If Rousey fails this weekend, it could signal a very premature conclusion to an interesting chapter in this sport. The last thing she needs is to see nerves help lead to her unraveling.
Carmouche is well-rounded there is no denying that. She’s fully capable of submitting foes, and she’s proven in the past that she’s game to pummel opponents into submission. She’s also got a slight experience edge over the champion.
These are strengths to keep in mind if you’re Rousey, but they shouldn’t serve as deterrents in any way. Rousey must implement the game she’s become known for, but not fear the reactions of Carmouche.
If Rousey stays comfortable and confident, she should be able to secure a takedown fairly early. From there, she’s got to hunt for the arm. It’s her bread and butter and no one has managed to avoid it at this point.
I’ll be doing some armchair reffing while Rousey does a little arm hunting.
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