UFC 193 was supposed to be another celebration of Ronda Rousey's dominance. Instead, Holly Holm flipped the script and made it a historic night. She won the UFC women's bantamweight title with a second-round knockout win over Rousey in the main event in Melbourne, Australia.
Bloody Elbow tweeted the official result of Saturday's bout:
The first round had all the makings of a legendary upset. Holm's movement and technical boxing stunned Rousey as the challenger not only survived but also thrived. Holm not only caught Rousey with multiple left hands, but she also scored a takedown.
Brett Okamoto of ESPN summed up the first round:
In the second round, Holm came out ready to finish the job. A desperate Rousey tried to get up from a knockdown but was greeted with a head kick that ended her reign as champion and gave Holm the belt.
To make the knockout even more shocking, it was Holm's first finish in the UFC. As noted by ESPN Stats & Info, all of her other knockouts came outside the UFC:
This wasn't the kind of knockout that came with one fluke punch. Holm has to get credit for simply outstriking Rousey for the duration of the fight. ESPN Stats & Info provided the insight:
Holm is now a rarity in combat sports. Marcos Villegas of Fight Hub noted a club that currently has a membership of one in the new champion:
Although a massive amount of credit goes to Holm for employing a perfect game plan, Rousey's performance was a disappointment. B/R's Jonathan Snowden compared it to the first loss boxing great Mike Tyson took:
Snowden wasn't the only one comparing this fight to Buster Douglas' upset of Tyson so many years ago. Women's bantamweight contender Julianna Pena took the opportunity to do some self-promotion after Holm's win:
This fight will go down as one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. According to Odds Shark, Holm opened the fight as a 33-4 underdog. As Holm was facing the biggest star in the sport, who had finished every single opponent, there's a reason why few gave Holm a chance to do what she ended up doing.
Two of the few who did were her trainers, Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn.
"She's been the most dominating. That doesn't mean she's not beatable," Holm said per Lance Pugmire of the Sacramento Bee. "Their confidence in me gives me confidence. They've been around so many big fights. ... They're serious with me, telling me what I did wrong. I don't want them to sugarcoat it. They give me good direction."
That direction was good enough to expose holes in Rousey's game that others have not been able to find. Now, Holm is the undefeated champion.
Being a champion isn't new to Holm. As a professional boxer, she won titles in three different weight classes. Now, she's the champion of the women's bantamweight division, which few saw coming.
Where the division goes from here is an interesting question. In general, champions as dominant as Rousey receive immediate rematches. However, Rousey expressed interest in taking some time off from the sport after this fight, per Mike Bohn of Rolling Stone:
After this fight, I'm definitely going to let some people miss me, for sure. Believe me, there's nothing I would like to do more than disappear for a while.
I would like to wait until UFC 200 to fight again. I'm going to be filming [movies] in the meantime, so I'm still going to be keeping busy. When I'm filming it's kind of weird, I'm on camera the whole time, but nothing really goes out until a year or two later. It is kind of like disappearing in a way.
A loss for the ultracompetitive Rousey could change things. The desire to avenge her loss could force her to get back in the cage earlier than anticipated. Of course, her desire to take some time off might be necessary to get back to being the force she was before her fight with Holm.
In a way, this setback could improve Rousey's marketability as the UFC's biggest star. A rematch with Holm is now one of the biggest fights the UFC could make.
Before UFC 193, everyone tuned in to watch Rousey's dominance. Now, they'll tune in to watch whether she can make a comeback.