Ronda Rousey is set to defend her UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship for the fourth time since joining UFC. The opponent is Alexis Davis, who's won five straight fights but hasn't received much attention leading up to the marquee bout.
The general consensus is that Davis doesn't serve as much of a threat to the undefeated reigning champion. The oddsmakers agree, as they have installed the challenger as a major underdog (+800 via Odds Shark) ahead of UFC 175.
If nothing else, the lack of respect can serve as added motivation for Davis heading into the biggest fight of her career so far. With that in mind, let's check out the biggest key for each fighter as Rousey looks to establish her dominance once again.
Rousey: Don't Change Approach
Rousey has won all nine of her career fights. Eight of them have ended in the first round. Five of them resulted in armbar submissions inside the first minute. It doesn't get much more impressive than that when it comes to the world of MMA.
Interestingly, the fact that she steamrolled opponents with such ease has led to questions about her staying power. The theory is that since nobody is capable of challenging her, the novelty will eventually wear off and lessen her presence as a mainstream draw.
Michael Huang of ESPNW passed along comments from Rousey, who doesn't see it as a serious concern:
Not according to the numbers. As long as I keep selling [tickets and pay-per-views], I really don't care. I try my best to be entertaining when I fight. Even though a lot of my fights are dominant performances, they're still the type of fights where no one ever sits down.
One thing Rousey can't do is allow that type of talk to change the way she approaches the fight. She shouldn't attempt to make the bout more exciting or try something new just for the sake of keeping the critics happy.
The Olympic medalist been a force because of how quickly she can take control of a fight. If that means the fight is over in 50 seconds, so be it. Winning is more important than anything else, especially as she leads the charge for women's MMA.
Rousey is the far superior fighter and should score another easy win as long as she sticks with the game plan that's gotten her this far.
Davis: Go Big Early
The biggest mistake most opponents make against Rousey is being too defensive early. A lot of that is due to fear of the armbar. In reality, the only way to prevent a quick defeat is going on the attack to force the champion into a brawl.
Miesha Tate is the only person to take Rousey beyond one round, and it came in her second try. After tapping out in the first round in her initial attempt, she was more aggressive in the second meeting and actually turned it into an entertaining encounter before losing in the third.
Davis would be wise to attempt a similar strategy. She excels on the ground, so if she can get a couple strikes in early and then take control on the mat, what's believed to be a lopsided fight could suddenly turn into a competitive battle.
Jessica Eye, who lost to Davis back in February, believes the underdog isn't getting enough credit heading into the title fight. Marc Raimondi of Fox Sports passed along her thoughts:
I think people are kind of underestimating Alexis. I did. I didn't realize that once we got down on the ground that she was as strong as she was and was able to neutralize me.
Davis has nothing to lose. If she gets forced to tap out in the first round, she'll join a long list of fellow competitors who did the same. Her best bet is taking some risks right away and hoping they pay off, even if the chances are slim.