MMA Media Points to Holes in Ronda Rousey's Game

It's amazing that most MMA journalists seem to have botched the true lessons learned from Rousey vs Carmouche.

I read several articles which had titles claiming that Carmouche has given everybody a "blueprint" for beating Rousey. I also read an ESPN article (by Franklin McNeil) titled "Carmouche exposes weakness in Rousey".

Franklin McNeil said of Rousey: "Her takedown attempts didn't come easily"

The article is suggesting that Carmouche's gameplan had partially shutdown or neutralized the Judoka's vaunted clinch game and takedowns, implying that this was the key which allowed her to last longer than any of Rousey's previous opponents.

Unfortunately that's more than just a bit misleading since Carmouche's gameplan had totally failed to neutralize any part of Rousey's clinch game, takedowns or submissions. Carmouche did last longer than any previous opponent but most MMA journalists are not being honest about what factors allowed her to do that.

Let's explore what Rousey and Carmouche did right and wrong in this fight, using the fight clock as a reference point.

Clock at 4:51 -- Both fighters clinch for the first time after some dirty boxing. Rousey does NOT attempt a takedown during this first clinch but just bides her time pinning Liz against the cage, playing a push/pull game.

Clock at 4:41
-- Liz manages to partially run away from Rousey's first clinch but Rousey uses dirty boxing to get a 2nd clinch just one second later (it's already clear that Carmouche's gameplan for Rousey's clinch game is to run away from it).

Clock at 4:38 -- Rousey attempts her first takedown by pulling Liz's head forward and forcing her to put her weight backward, which Rousey then reverses into a takedown.

Clock at 4:33 -- Rousey completes the takedown and has Liz in a scarf hold (it took Rousey only 5 seconds to complete the takedown after she first tried for it). Not exactly a struggle.

Franklin McNeil said: "Carmouche proved that Rousey is very much beatable"

Liz was gritty and survived longer than Ronda's previous opponents but lets not get carried away and suggest that Liz had any gameplan or answer for Ronda's superior clinch game, takedowns or armbars. Likewise, Liz provided no "blueprint" for anybody else to have success against Ronda.

The ONLY offense offered by Liz (when she took Ronda's back) was NOT the result of neutralizing any part of Rousey's game, but by responding creatively to a 'serendipitous' situation that was BEYOND Liz's control (and which can't be duplicated by any future opponents).

If you watch the fight again in slow motion you can see the following elements that led to Ronda's back being taken (none of which can be duplicated by future opponents).

Clock at 4:31 -- Ronda has Liz in a scarf hold on the ground but because they are pressed up against the cage Liz's body cannot be flattened out on the canvas at all (cage is in the way).

There are 3 important points to notice here:

1) The cage is forcing Liz's body to remain 'sideways' and totally parrallel to Ronda's back (i.e. the cage is literally wrapping Liz's body around Ronda's back because of the awkward angle she's laying in). This is very serendipitous for Liz since it prevents her from being pinned to the mat and totally controlled by Rousey, but more importantly this position against the cage is already giving Liz half of Ronda's back without much effort.

2) Ronda's bodyweight cannot be properly positioned to totally secure the scarf hold position because the cage is in the way. This is very serendipitous for Liz but it's not a "blueprint" or "gameplan" that other fighters can use in future fights with Rousey.

3) Because Liz's body is turned sideways against the cage she's able to walk her legs up the cage wall and "push off" towards Ronda's back with maximum leverage. This is only possible because of the unique angle at which Liz is being pressed against the cage, thus future fighters can't rely on this same situation happening when they fight Rousey.

Clock at 4:27 -- Liz still cannot escape the scarf hold even though she's repeatedly trying to use her legs to "push off" the cage onto Ronda's back. Ronda is preventing Liz from moving her body by keeping her right leg positioned outward (away from her body) for support.

Clock at 4:26 -- Ronda does the DUMBEST thing possible in this situation.......she decides to move her right leg inward (from it's support position) to attack Liz's left arm. The moment she moved her right leg inward Ronda's body was no longer balanced and could be moved.

Clock at 4:23 -- Now that Ronda's body is off balance......Liz walks her leg up the cage wall and "pushes off" as hard as she can with maximum leverage (which allows her to push Ronda's body outward and get more firmly onto Ronda's back). This is the event that led to Ronda's back being taken.

This whole episode was "serendipitous" for Liz but it certainly was not part of a "blueprint" or "gameplan" that can be used to defeat Rousey in the future. It was the cage wall that prevented Ronda from securing her normally tight scarf hold position. Likewise, it was Ronda's dumb decision to move her right leg and attack Liz's arm which allowed Liz to complete her reversal.

I suspect that Ronda and her team will watch tape of this fight to ensure that such a situation never happens again.

Many people are claiming that Ronda's scarf hold is not effective in MMA (with no gi) and that it's a hole in her game that must be eliminated. But that's nonsense.

Case in point: Later in the fight Ronda secured a 2nd scarf hold and this time she flattened Liz out on her back and totally controlled her for SEVERAL MINUTES (showing that the scarf hold itself was not the problem).

Liz's attempts to escape the 2nd scarf hold were futile and regardless of Joe Rogan's comments Liz had no chance to escape that 2nd scarf hold because Ronda used her legs and body weight to control Carmouche (Liz's attempts at throwing her legs up were easily defended).

Franklin McNeil said: "She must know that every woman who competes in the UFC gained a bit more confidence after seeing her barely escape a very vulnerable situation"

I'm sure he's right since most of Ronda's opponents are looking to find any reason to give themselves "hope". Naturally they're going to talk about how vulnerable she looked and how easy it will be to capitalize on the holes in her game. What else do you expect them to say? LOL.

As for the RNC and neck crank by Carmouche, the RNC was never even close to being executed on Rousey. She defended that easily but I do understand that it makes for better headlines to pretend that she was close to being choked out. Her legs were wobbling because she was walking forward with a 140 pound female balanced on her back, not because she was close to being choked out. LOL.

The "neck crank" was tight and no doubt uncomfortable on Rousey's jaw, but to be honest that was never a viable way to get a submission from Rousey and the fight was never close to being over.

People are making too much out of her 'contorted' face during the episode. LOL.

Her face looked 'contorted' for a split second but that's the same type of contortion that happens when pressing your face against a glass window (it looked odd but wasn't threatening). It looked like Carmouche just had her forearm jammed into Rousey's cheekbone/jawbone and was causing some pain that way.

Carmouche later admitted that after she saw the neck crank wasn't working.......she then attempted to knock Rousey's teeth out by jamming her arm bone against her teeth with all her strength (which is how she got teeth marks on her arm).

Quote from Liz Carmouche:

"I beared down to where I got teeth marks actually from getting down to her mouth and thinking, 'Maybe I can get her to tap by knocking some teeth out.' It just didn't quite work out."

Ironically though, the fact that Carmouche had such a serendipitous situation which allowed her to give the appearance of a submission (i.e. the appearance of a competitive fight) probably allowed Rousey's stock to soar higher than any other scenario. If Rousey had not given up her back and had just steamrolled Liz then the post-fight media reaction wouldn't have been nearly as grand.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.