Prior to UFC 157, Ronda Rousey has not displayed any striking prowess. At best, she would throw her hands as acceleration to close the distance between her and her opponent to lock in the clinch. She’s even admitted in UFC 157 episode of UFC Countdown that she refuses to get punched in front of her mother. Back to the matter at hand, once you’re in her grasp, she judo throws you to the match, which sets up her bread and butter, the arm bar, which has yet to fail the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion.
Waiting across the octagon from Rousey was her toughest challenge to date. Liz Carmouche is known as “The Girl-Rilla” for a reason. Much like the animal she models herself after, Carmouche pounces on her prey and does not relent until her target is borderline, rendered motionless.
What would happen when an immovable object encounters an irresistible force?
The bout opened with the champion throwing a flurry of punches that might’ve found home twice. The two got into the clinch and although Carmouche’s back was to the cage, she still worked in some hooks and uppercuts. Rousey secured a lock onto Carmouche’s head, hoping to follow-up with a judo throw to the canvas, but the challenger proved to be too strong for the champion’s setup.The two fell to the canvas simultaneously, which led Rousey to go for what she knew. Carmouche was too elusive for the arm bar attempt. Carmouche was able to take Rousey’s back and when Rousey powered up to stand the two on their feet, Carmouche was able to secure a rear naked choke, placing Rousey in the most adverse situation of her career. Although Rousey’s face was getting cranked to the left like never before, she showed Carmouche and MMA constituents that she can escape trouble. With a judo throw to the mat, Rousey was able to free herself of Carmouche’s clutches.
With no time wasted, Rousey went to rain on Carmouche with standing punches, and although she landed a few, the challenger defended herself well on her back with up kicks to the champion. The two got in a leg tangle, which led Rousey to fall back to the ground and take side control of Carmouche. Rousey secured a headlock with her right arm and used her free hand to pop Carmouche with punches. Carmouche swung her legs upward to lock in either leg scissors or a crucifixion hold, but it was to no avail. Rousey continued her assault with the side control punches. Carmouche was able to get creative, scoring points with knees to Rousey’s back. To preserve her energy, Rousey took a break from those grounded punches to secure a headlock for a few seconds, but went right back to the punches once she got her second wind.
Carmouche tried to secure a triangle lock with her legs from the bottom, but it provided an opening for Rousey to get into a mounted position to execute a spider web angle, which ultimately set up the angle she needed to go for her patented arm bar. Carmouche fought with every fiber of her being to avoid the inevitable. The “Girl-Rilla” rolled, she kicked, she even locked her right arm with her left arm. There was nothing she didn’t do to avoid the submission. Rousey endured every counter, and was able to outmuscle Carmouche by prying her arm out of its place of security, for a tap with just 0:11 left in the first round.
Ronda Rousey is everything the hype machine says she is. She truly epitomizes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Together, Rousey and Liz Carmouche simultaneously garnered a new brand of respect for women’s MMA, and stood out as the shining moment of a lackluster UFC 157 main card.
Much appreciation to both of you ladies for showing the world that women’s MMA is nothing to frown upon.
By Antoine Hoffman