UFC 175: Weidman vs. Machida - Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis Preview and Prognostication

Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey looks to defend her title for the 4th consecutive time against Alexis Davis for UFC 175. Is Davis the proverbial lamb headed toward the slaughter, or something more?

Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis Women's Bantamweight

Wait...I thought Ronda Rousey was fighting Floyd Mayweather?

That seems to be the angle the UFC would love to go in.

Well I'm sure a black man fighting a white woman would do big business for the Earth, and potentially beyond, I'm not sure this is the Billie Jean King moment the UFC thinks it is. In fact, I'm pretty sure the entire discussion is worthless, and it's actually really unfortunate that this is the angle the sport chooses to sell its champions.

Yea but what's your prediction?

Rickson by armbar.

But Rousey is a star. The biggest star ever in the UFC!

So big she's headlining this weekend's ca-...oh wait...

You sound despirited.

Sort of. When you look at the numbers Rousey has done, it's reasonable in the context of the UFC's overall decline. The problem is that the UFC is all too willing to let her tendencies promote her bouts, and her tendencies are gonna get her smashed.

By who?

Her.

Oh.

Are we here to watch Ronda Rousey dominate in graceful and impressive ways in mixed martial arts, or are we here to see if she can armbar the large hadron collider? This stuff is pointless, but it fascinates Zuffa enough to pursue these distractions with their own brand of discourse.

So about her opponent, Alexis Davis who is not shockingly a +800?

Well those numbers sound about right.

I'm in the boat of the realists who suspect a total trouncing.

Before we get to the part where we state the obvious, let it be said that Davis is fairly deserving. She's 3-0 in the UFC, and is currently on a 5 fight winning streak that includes wins over Rosi Sexton, Shayne Baszler, Liz Carmouche, and Jessica Eye. When you look at her career, she is just shy of elite, but always in the mix, and capable of a few surprises. She avenged her previous loss to Shayan in pretty emphatic fashion, for example. It's taken awhile for the Canadian born fan of Jackie Chan to get here, but she's earned it.

With that said, it's a testament to the division's nascence that Davis is getting a title shot. Nobody is picking her, and nobody should. But that's not to ignore the famous epigram articulating Murphy's Law. Davis is a capable grappler with sturdy takedown defense, and an iron will. She has 21 fights to her name against a steady diet of quality fighters and has never been submitted. Even if these are shallow characteristics to support Davis' chances, it's an accomplishment all the same.

The problem for Davis and every other fighter in the division is that Rousey is quickly developing a formidable striking game. I was one of the lone wolf idiots truly believing that Sara McMann and all her 500lb deadlifting girl next door charm could pull off the unthinkable with a superior striking game and an ability to keep it standing. McMann ended up getting TKO'ed in only a few seconds over a minute.

Instead of illustrating why you shouldn't be reading my predictions, there is nonetheless something to be said for Rousey's development. While she still comes in with her head up and arms outstretched, she's no longer content to throw strikes as setups. Now she's actively punishing people with her strikes. Her brutal knee to the body of McMann was no accident. Unfortunately for Davis, the clinch is where she likes to spend a good portion of her time.

Davis is not especially fast, so if Rousey wants the clinch, she'll get it. She'd be wise to stay at range where she has a very good overhand right, but I don't see her accomplishing this. Since this fight will end up on the ground, I actually like the idea of Davis initiating a takedown. Rousey is a wizard at getting back to her feet, and even our resident computer nerd, Paul Gift, has quantified just how much. But I also think that Rousey has show some minor flaws defensively on the ground. Carmouche, and Tate have even scored moments of back control. Davis is no less capable.

None of this is anything anyone should be banking on, but like all Rousey fights lately, there's always some two second window where Rousey seems vulnerable. However, just like everyone else, that window stays shut only for her to counter in limb breaking fashion.

Ronda Rousey by armbar, round 1.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

...My American gift to you.

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