Saturday evening's UFC 157 will truly be a landmark spectacle in mixed martial arts when Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche headline the card in the first-ever fight featuring women.
UFC president Dana White is used to taking risks and making bold moves, but his business savvy has been undeniable in growing the brand and popularity of the largest MMA promotion company in the world.
This is yet another stroke of genius by White, as pay-per-view sales should explode and the bantamweights should put on an entertaining display to cap off the night. The introduction of females into the octagon on this type of stage alone creates a sensational amount of buzz.
As for the fight itself, Rousey—who has the looks, charisma, substance and star power to generate the interest required for White to market this event—is the clear-cut favorite to retain the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship.
In her previous six matchups, the 26-year-old has been minimally tested and has forced opponents into submission by way of armbars within minutes of the fight's beginning. Meanwhile, Carmouche has a solid record of 8-2 but started 6-0.
Public opinion is clearly on Rousey's side, as essentially no one is expecting Carmouche to emerge victorious. But it is worth breaking down how the underdog could make things interesting.
Although she is not as versatile or as good of a wrestler as Rousey, there is no doubting Carmouche's toughness and ability to play defense. She will likely be on her heels often against the prowess of Rousey, so it will be optimally important to weather the early fury.
If Carmouche is able to get past the opening round and stay relatively conservative so as to not leave herself susceptible to an early tap-out, it will put Rousey in unfamiliar territory. That is pretty much the only chance she has.
The former Marine is called "Girlrilla" for a reason. Carmouche is tough as nails and can destroy opponents if she gets in a position of leverage on the ground and pound.
Even a momentary slip-up by Rousey could result in a shocking upset, but based on how solid and imposing she has been on her previous opponents, it wouldn't be surprising to see yet another armbar.
Regardless of the outcome, this is going to be a big win for mixed martial arts and an inspiration to women everywhere who are interested in breaking into the sport.
Both have the confidence and swagger necessary to heighten the anticipation, too.
Rousey said that she would take out every single girl in her path that even mentions her as competition, while Carmouche believes—at least publicly—that Rousey doesn't have what it takes to beat her (h/t Las Vegas Sun).
Grit and toughness will only take Carmouche so far, though, and it's difficult to pick against "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey. Look for Rousey to pull of another armbar and justify her label as the favorite in this epic clash.
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