It took Ronda Rousey 54-seconds to defeat Sarah Kaufman to retain her Strikeforce championship belt. Many expected Rousey to keep her distance and stay away from the striking of Kaufman, but behind a triple jab the champion was to achieve the clinch. From there she got a trip takedown to mount and it was all over as she was able to lock in an armbar.
This result should not come as a shock to anyone, Rousey is just a different kind of fighter, one Women's MMA has yet to see. When speaking of Women's MMA we need to remember that we are dealing with a sport that is pretty low on the totem pole when it comes to attracting athletes, far more so than men's MMA. The money and fame in MMA is far, far less than a female athlete could find in in softball, volleyball, gymnastics, soccer or basketball. And female athletes with an eye towards combat sports are drawn towards the more established sports with long standing traditions and competition circuits like Judo, Taekwondo, Karate, Boxing, Wrestling, and even Fencing. Women's MMA gets a very, very small slice of the female athlete pie, so the good athletes quickly rise to the top and great athletes look unbeatable. Christiane "Cyborg" Santos was one such great athlete, making up in raw power what she lacked in skill, but as we found out later that raw power was chemically enhanced.
Ronda Rousey came from an Olympic Judo background, a martial art with a very deep pool of athletic talent. With literally thousands of competitive Judokas all over the world, the cut to the make the Olympics is extreme and to not just qualify but medal requires a combination of athletic ability and skill level not common to WMMA. She executes techniques perfectly with speed, precision and power, and it doesn't seem an other fight can stop it. There are female grapplers on the planet better than Ronda Rousey but none of them seem interested in MMA at this point. Regardless if you love Ronda or can't stand her you have to respect her fighting abilities because she is a world class grappler and she is acting like one in MMA right now.
At this point I'd say even Cyborg would end up clutching her elbow after a match with Rousey because Cyborg clinches a great deal in her fights and then uses raw strength to bully opponents instead of actual grappling technique, and at the highest levels of grappling that just doesn't cut it.
more after the jump...
- I really wish Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza could be in the UFC. His blend of athletic gifts, amazing grappling and good boxing makes him a nightmare match up for so many fighters. While he has a reputation for being chinny, I think it is over played. He was taken punches from Robbie Lawler without the lights going out so I think Souza would be more than able to withstand the offensive attacks of Yushin Okami or Chael Sonnen. And the idea of matching Souza with Chris Weidman, Rousimar Palhares, or Alan Belcher is just too much fun. Sadly it doesn't look like Souza will be jumping over the UFC anytime soon, but we can always dream.
- Mike Beltran may have a world class mustache, but he is a liability as a referee. In the Jacare/Brunson fight he was so late into the action it was laughable, Jacare was half way across the cage by the time Beltran deemed that the completely unconscious Brunson was done. And in the Ovince St. Preux vs T.J. Cook fight, that fight likely should have been stopped in the first round when Cook suffered a flash knock out and then was able to wake back up and fight OSP off. Yes, Cook wasn't out for long but he was a walking target for the rest of the fight. While Herb Dean had his questionable stoppage, at least he made a decision about a fighter's ability to continue which in the moment didn't seem like the wrong one. Beltran makes no decision and waits till a fighter is out cold to stop a match, and if that is how he approaching fights why is he even needed in the cage?
- The broadcast in general was not very sharp by Showtime. It seemed every time the card had a little energy or momentum it was killed by long waits between fights filled with commercials, awkward interviews, and general talking heads nonsense. It really made me appreciate how well the UFC and Fox have worked things out for their broadcasts, things were shaky at first, but now those two hour Fox shows run like well oiled machines. Between the pacing, bad camera selection and weird production moments like fighters being told to walk out and then having to wait on the run way because the other fighter was still getting in the cage it really seemed like Showtime had never put on an MMA card before.
- The commentary was equally awful as there continues to be zero chemistry and synergy between Frank Shamorck, Pat Miletich and Mauro Ranallo. It seems very obvious that Shamrock has stopped following the sport closely years ago as he continues to misidentify situations, uses outdated terminology, and basically just repeats anything said by Miletich. And their collective total ignorance the fate that the strike to Keith Berry's knee by Adlan Amagov is in fact completely legal in professional MMA in California was as also laughable, as the vast majority of State Athletic Commissions allow the strike.
- Meisha Tate and Julie Kedzie put on a barn burner of a fight on the undercard. Why this fight was not on the main card, but Showtime viewers were gifted with Lumumba Sayers' "how to give up a triangle" seminar is beyond me. Those two women came to fight and it was awesome to behold, if you have not seen it go watch it right now.