It was a Rondacular display Saturday night at UFC 157, when Ronda Rousey faced Liz Carmouche from the Ronda Center in Rondaheim, Rondafornia. And I'll tell you what: the Rondafornia faithful? They had a touch of something Saturday night. I believe it was a case of Ronda fever.
This is all a roundabout way of saying that there was a lot of hype around this match. A lot of column inches and Internet electrons were expended. Lots of TV minutes and autographs and handshakes. But it was all for a good cause, though: women's MMA.
It's hard to imagine an MMA spotlight much brighter than the one beating down on Rousey this fight week. All the big channels and countless newspapers and websites clamored for the crumbs of her attention, wringing every last angle from the UFC's first female beltholder.
Rousey handled it all with aplomb. Frankly, I'm not sure how she did it. But at the end of the road, there was a fight, which she won by armbar at 4:49 of the very first round.
The week was a series of warm and fuzzy moments for a sport that isn't used to—but undoubtedly needs—such things. In the run-up, certain hardcore factions of the MMA fanbase resembled disgruntled children forced into the backseat for a trip to the dentist. But perhaps after Rousey's first-round submission win, which offered a thrilling cap to a decidedly lackluster night of action, they're going along more quietly now.
But did the performance fully live up to the hype? Well, it looks like Rousey-by-armbar is still a thing, and it looks she's still never been out of the first round. So there's really no way you can say, "No, this fight did not live up to the hype."
I guess the real question is whether she won over people she hadn't previously won over. And I think that's an open question. But it might be safe to suspect that the fact that she didn't do anything new was not only the greatest strength of her victory, but the greatest weakness.
I think it won't truly be answered until the pay-per-view numbers come out. But as far as what happened in the cage, it wasn't possible to find any speck of failure, no matter where or how you looked.
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