Liz Carmouche was defeated by Alexis Davis on Wednesday night in a unanimous decision, and the loss can easily be attributed to her lack of polish as a professional fighter.
The entirety of Carmouche's loss can be attributed to the fact that she didn't pay attention to Davis' strikes. Carmouche let several kicks go without challenge as they struck the lower half of her body, and that ultimately led to her downfall.
The first round can be summarized by Carmouche's carelessness in defending Davis' leg kicks. Carmouche tended to go outside with leg kicks of her own, but Davis countered with inside leg kicks that landed on more than one occasion. Davis had landed so many by the middle of the round that Carmouche couldn't help but hobble here and there.
The second round saw a little more strategy on the part of Carmouche. Having learned from her previous errors, she began to block the inside leg kicks and counter. Davis was just a bit smarter, though, as she transitioned to outside leg kicks that went without challenge.
In the third round, Carmouche realized she needed to do something immediately to swing the fight in her favor. Instead of checking the leg kicks of Davis, Carmouche went for the all-out brawler's approach. She threw huge punch after huge punch, ultimately connecting with very few. Given all the hits Davis had totaled during the fight's three rounds, the decision was easy for the judges.
Carmouche is a very talented fighter. She is powerful and a strong grappler, and she always fights hard to the end. That being said, there is a ton of room for improvement in the defensive aspect of her game. Improvements in this area will propel her to the top of the charts in women's UFC.
It's much easier said than done, but the areas she needs to improve upon are pretty self-explanatory.
Take how often she let Davis' leg kicks go unchallenged, for example. Had she challenged, say, 50 percent more of the kicks, Davis would not have managed nearly as many clean hits and Carmouche likely wouldn't have tired out as easily.
Going for the knockout punch on every hit isn't how a fighter technically wins fights. Carmouche must learn that she needs to fight strategically while also taking advantage of the openings that will inevitably be given to her because of her quickness and power.
In future bouts, all Carmouche needs to do is focus on the defensive aspect of her fighting style. She needs to recognize more quickly and make adjustments mid-fight—something she didn't do well against Davis.
There's a lot to take from this fight, but if nothing else, Carmouche should know that allowing opponents to rack up hit after hit is not the best way to win. With a little polish, she can be an exceptionally successful fighter in her sport.