WHO doesn’t love a good comeback? As feel good stories go, an athlete who comes back against all odds to regain one’s status at the apex of his/her chosen sport has to rank right up there.For former UFC women’s Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, it seemed like UFC 207 provided the perfect climate to stage a rousing comeback.
After losing to Holly Holm back in Nov. 2015 at UFC 193, Ronda took some time off to lick her wounds and exorcise her demons.
During the period of her brief hiatus, Holm had lost the title in her first defense to Meisha Tate at UFC 196 but then the latter got waylaid in her very next fight by Amanda Nunes at UFC 200.
With the belt changing hands frequently it seemed like the division needed a dominant champion like Rousey who was capable of sowing order in a rather discordant environment.
NUNES. A powerful striker whose first discipline was boxing, Nunes also holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
The way she fought and eventually dominated Meisha Tate should have been a cue to how she likes to aggressively mix it up.
Nunes had lost before via TKO to strikes, but herein lies the problem in Rousey’s corner. To me, coming into this fight, it was always a strategy issue.
Against Holm, Rousey had opted to slug it out with the former women’s world boxing champion, mistakenly thinking she had it in her.
Call it hubris, call it whatever you wish, but yes, her trainer Edmond Tarvedyan had previously claimed Rousey was good enough to become a world boxing champion.
In fact, some pundits (shockingly) joined the bandwagon and even the Ring Magazine put out an issue with Rousey on the cover entitled “She conquered MMA, is boxing next?”
We all know what happened. Holm pummeled Rousey senseless in the middle of the cage and handed her the first loss of her spectacular career.
So coming in to the Nunes fight you would think Rousey’s team had learned their lesson. Or maybe because they knew Nunes had lost before due to strikes, they mistakenly thought Rousey was a better striker.
THE FIGHT. It was really painful to watch for a Rousey fan like me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. She’s just not a striker. She has to play to her strengths.
The first hard punch that landed froze her and it went downhill from there. I did not see any head movement nor any appreciable lateral movement.
She fought back but she was too stiff and for her efforts, she opened herself up to more punishment.
She didn’t even know how to clinch properly or tie up her opponent to stifle Nunes’ offense.
I could go on and on, but it’s no use beating a dead horse. Or a hopelessly stubborn coach.
LAST ROUND. It’s on a dear friend, Blanche Regual Braun who recently celebrated her birthday. Cheers!
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 11, 2017.
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