Esther Lin for MMA Fighting
Ronda Rousey did what was expected at UFC 157: she submitted Liz Carmouche by arm bar in the first round, but the journey to get there was much more difficult than anyone expected and not without controversy.
UFC women's Bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey was heavily favored to beat Liz Carmouche last night at UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche. And when memories of the dramatic fight fade, fans will likely only remember it was another in a series of Rousey first-round arm bar submission wins.
But it was much closer than the final result indicated and it required Ronda digging deep to survive a tight face crank applied by Carmouche early in the fight. Carmouche came away from that attempt with a perfect mold of Rousey's teeth in her forearm.
No one is accusing Rousey of deliberately biting Carmouche. Apparently the tight hold forced Rousey's mouth guard out, her jaw open and the harder Carmouche cranked, the deeper Rousey's teeth buried themselves in her flesh.
Rousey apologized to Carmouche at the post-fight press conference. Here's what she told Ariel Helwani on Fuel TV:
"That was the most vulnerable a position I've been in so far in my career. That was pretty tight, that neck crank, and I was very happy to get out of it. She had the choke across my mouth and ... her forearm was pushing against my teeth. That can't have been any more fun for her than it was for me. Crazy sport we're in, huh?"
UFC press official Ant Evans tweeted the pic below of Carmouche's arm:
Rousey is likely to next face the winner of Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano who meet at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale on April 13 in Las Vegas. Rousey has already beaten Tate once in a Strikeforce title fight last year.
The really big possibilities for Rousey involve a possible return to MMA by retired 30-year-old superstar Gina Carano or the return to the UFC of Cris "Cyborg" Santos. Carano always struggled to make 140lbs in her career so it will be a huge struggle for her to make 135lbs and challenge Rousey for the title. A one-off non-title catchweight bout with Carano would probably be big enough business that it would be worth doing for the UFC.
The same can't be said of a Cyborg-Rousey bout apparently because the weight class thing was the sticking point that caused Cyborg's manager Tito Ortiz to ask for, and receive, Cyborg's release from her UFC contract. She will be fighting in the smaller Invicta promotion instead. Most observers expect she will return to the UFC after picking up a few wins but the issue of whether or not she can make the 135lb limit to challenge for Rousey's Bantamweight title will remain.