Posts Tagged ‘Ronda Rousey’

UFC 170 Live Blog: Rousey wins in first round again

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Ronda Rousey wins in UFC 170

Ronda Rousey made quick work of Sara McMann with this knee at UFC 170 in Las Vegas. (AP)

Daniel Cormier had an easy first-round victory over Cummins. (AP)

Daniel Cormier had an easy first-round victory over Patrick Cummins. (AP)

UFC Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey didn’t need her savvy judo game in her ninth career bout, as she utilized brutal knees to the body to stop Olympic wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann one minute and six seconds into the first round of Saturday’s UFC 170 main event in Las Vegas.  Rousey said she’d sparred her entire preparation camp. This is the first of Rousey’s bouts that she hasn’t ended via armbar. Check out SI.com‘s round-by-round recap of the entire main card below.

Main Card Results

Ronda Rousey def. Sara McMann – TKO (knee) 1:06 R1

Daniel Cormier def. Patrick Cummins  - TKO (strikes) 1:19 R1

Rory MacDonald def. Demian Maia – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)

Mike Pyle def. T.J. Waldburger  - TKO (strikes) 4:03 R1

Stephen Thompson def. Robert Whittaker – TKO (strikes) 3:43 R1

———

Women’s Bantamweight Championship: Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann

Sara McMann is the only challenger with similar Olympic credentials to Rousey. She’s a 2004 Olympic silver medalist (7-0) with obvious physical strength, something that might make a difference against Rousey, who’s been able to bully her previous opponents. McCann’s preference is top control and some good ‘ole ground-and-pound. The problem is Rousey (8-0) can maneuver her armbar assault from just about any position. The X-factor is the stand-up (neither woman is an ace there yet) and Rousey’s movie star distractions. No matter what she says, she hasn’t had the dedicated time to work her weak spots. Will McMann be able to capitalize?

11:47 p.m. – Main event time. Sara McMann enters first with a T-shirt that reads “ETG.” Embrace The Grind. Rousey follows, mean-mugging an invisible opponent in front of her.

11:55 p.m. – The women take center for instructions.  They touch gloves. Our referee is Herb Dean.

R1 – It’s a brawl from the get go, both women throwing for the fences. McMann gets in the best strike and Rousey pushes it to the fence. McMann is defending well; Rousey is attacking with knees. Rousey throws a vicious body knee and McMann crumbles, her arms grasping her mid-section (liver shot). It’s all over.

 Official Result - Ronda Rousey def. Sara McMann – TKO (knee) 1:06 R1

Light Heavyweight: Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins

Though Cormier and Cummins have gone above and beyond to promote this bout, it’s hard to get excited for a last-minute replacement fight between a 4-0 newcomer and a 13-0 contender on the outskirts of the contender’s circle.

Regardless, the two have had “beef” this week: the short of it is Cummins, a two-time All-American, made Cormier cry during an especially grueling wrestling session when Cormier was training for his Olympic bid. Apparently, UFC President Dana White booked the fight on this story. I’d gripe about this move, but why bother? Cormier has a good shot of knocking Cummins out.

11:29 p.m.  - Goldie and Rogan going into overdrive to hype this next one. “Make no mistake. Pat Cummins deserves to be in the UFC,” says Rogan. At this point, everybody is making it into the UFC.

11:34 p.m.  - Cormier jogs quickly to the Octagon. He looks determined. Cormier makes his Octagon lap. He looks all business; borderline peeved. Our referee is Mario Yamasaki.

R1 – Cormier shrugs off Cummins half-shot. Cormier with an uppercut that hurts Cummins off the bat. Cormier taking his time. Cormier lands a left-right and Cummins goes down. Cummins turtled and Cormier lays on the hurt. This is over in no time.

Official Result: Daniel Cormier def. Patrick Cummins  - TKO (strikes) 1:19 R1

Welterweight: Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia

This is the first bout on the card tonight that has actual ramifications for its division. Let’s start with Rory MacDonald (15-2), touted as the second coming of Georges St. Pierre, his mentor. MacDonald lived up to the hype with decision wins over Jake Ellenberger and B.J. Penn, but hit a brick wall with Robbie Lawler last November – a split-decision loss that cost him a title shot now that GSP has stepped down as champ. MacDonald had his hands full with Lawler; he needs a decisive showing tonight to get back in the title hunt.

BJJ master Maia (18-5) was on a roll in his drop to 170 with back-to-back wins over Dong Hyun Kim, Rick Story, and Jon Fitch (February 2013). His split-decision loss to Jake Shields last October slowed down that train. Taking MacDonald out will get things back on track, though the young Canadian is quick on his feet.

R1 – Maia shoots immediately and Mac sprawls. Maia shoots again and gets the TD this time into Mac’s guard. Maia is aggressive tonight. Mac has butterfly guard, trying to fend off the BJJ ace. Maia with an elbow and passes to side and then mount. Maia with punches. Mac trying to buck him off. Mac is trapped. Maia landing more punches. Mac tries to backdoor out and Maia maintains half guard. 1:30 to go. Mac fights to butterfly guard. Tactical battle here, folks. Maia is smothering Mac. Mac finally to his feet with :45 to go. Maia with inside left kick. Maia is with strong combo. He’s looking good. Mac bleeding on bridge of his nose. Maia 10-9

R2 – Mac comes in strong with a combo. Maia with nice left hook to a shot; Mac sprawls. Maia with jab; then a big left.  Maia shoots; Mac sprawls again. Mac with body kick and Maia shoots again. No go. Maia slowing down fast. Mac is picking up momentum. Mac with a combo. Maia looks hurt, groggy on his feet.  Maia shoots again. Not even close. Mac starting to stalk. 1:45 to go. Mac with an inside leg kick; follow-up right. Mac with body kick and Maia stumbles a bit. He’s not landing his strikes anymore. Mac with another body kick. :30 to go. Mac misses a superman punch.  Big reversal of fortune here. Mac 10-9

R3 – Mac takes center. Maia with another lame shot.  Mac with another body kick – these are killing Maia. Mac with straight right. Maia shoots again and pays for it with a punch retreating out. Maia throwing flailing overhand lefts. Maia grabs a single, musters the strength to lift Mac and body slam him. Not sure where he got the energy for that, but he’s got 2:30 to cinch this fight up. Maia trying to pass guard; his face is bloody. Mac bucks Maia over his head and is back to his feet. This is going down to the wire. Maia with another half shot and another. Mac sprawling away. Mac with front kick. Maia with another sprawl and Mac tags him with an uppercut on the way out. Maia is just swinging wildly at this point. He’s spent. Mac tags Maia with a right. Another right and a combo to finish. Mac 10-9

11:25 p.m.  - “The animal is back.” — MacDonald

 Official Result: Rory MacDonald def. Demian Maia – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)

Mike Pyle vs. T.J. Waldburger 

The 38-year-old Pyle (25-9) is entering the final phase of his career on a respectable note. He’s won four of his last five UFC bouts (eight of his 12 UFC appearances); Matt Brown took him out in the last with a 29-second KO six months ago. A win over Waldburger won’t put Pyle any closer to title contention…

…but Waldburger (16-8) stands to gain more with a win over the veteran Pyle. The 25-year-old Texan is also coming off a first-round KO loss – his to Adlan Amagov last October.

10:28 p.m. – Waldburger enters first to ACDC. Pyle enters with a big smile and his magic mullet. Our referee is Herb Dean.

R1 –  Wald takes center. Feeling each other out. Pyle with soft outside low kick. Pyle with inside left kick that Wald returns. Clinch and Wald pushes Pyle to fence. Wald drops levels for a single; Pyle keeping him at bay. They separate and back to center. Wald slips on a high kick but recovers. Wald with left hook. 2:30 to go. Wald with overhead right and follow-up right. Clinch and Pyle trips Wald down and into side control. Pyle passes to side control. Pyle with sporadic punches, knee to Wald’s side. 1:00 to go. Wald bounces out and up. Pyle has Wald in Thai clinch, lands knee. Wald on outside along  fence. Pyle keeps the clinch; another sold knee as they travel off fence to opposite side of cage. Pyle trips Wald at bell. Pyle 10-9

R2 – Wald forward with high kick that Pyle blocks easy. Wald with outside low kick. Pyle with straight left and Wald goes down, but grabs a leg on the way. Pyle twists out and maneuvers into half guard. Wald trying to set up guillotine; Pyle out. Wald wall-walks and Pyle knees him on the way up. Back to center. Wald bleeding from his nose. Pyle with spinning back kick; Wald blocks. Wald looks like he’s tiring a bit. Wald initiates clinch and pushes Pyle to fence again. We stall here in a fight for control. Pyle takes Wald’s back and rolls him down. Wald bounces back to his feet and tries to double-leg Pyle down. :30 to go. Back to center again and not much else to bell. Pyle 10-9

R3 – Wald bleeding from his left eye and nose. Wald picks up his pace; he knows he’s down. Pyle with a nice right. Wald with a left hook. Wald with body shot. Pyle with overhand right. Another right and Wald stumbles. Clinch and Pyle lands again.  Spinning back fist from Pyle and follow-up knees from Thai clinch. Wald pushes Pyle to fence to slow him down. Ties him up. 2:20 to go. Wald with knee in clinch. Knees and two elbows from Pyle. He has Wald in trouble; rolls Wald into guillotine. Wald turtles and its follow-up shots from back mount. Wald can’t defend and ref Dean finally steps in.

10:52 p.m.: “His leg quicks were hard. We expected a battle and we got it,” says Pyle. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith flash across our screen.

Official Result: Mike Pyle def. T.J. Waldburger  - TKO (strikes) 4:03 R1

Welterweight: Stephen Thompson vs. Robert Whittaker

“Wonderboy” Thompson (8-1) has rebounded well enough from his sole career loss to Matt Brown last April with victories over Nah-Shon Burrell (May 2013) and Chris Clementes (Sept. 2013). He has potential in the division — especially as a quick, crowd-pleasing striker — but needs more time for development.

Whittaker (11-3) should be a fine challenge. He took gritty TUF winner Court McGee to task last August, narrowly dropping a spilt-decision loss to the tough-as-nails fighter.

R1 –  Whit takes center cage. Whit in with a jab; Thompson taking side stance. Good pace from both to start. Thompson with a right hook; then a left a few seconds later. Thompson landing front, side kicks; Whit has slowed down his attack. Thompson forward with a landing combo. Whit starting to chase Thompson down; lands here and there, but Thompson is generally circling out. Thompson with hook kick. Thompson standing in front of Whit, doesn’t look afraid of Whit’s striking. They continue to exchange. Thompson lands a big right straight and Whit goes down, tries to get his feet and is knocked down again in the Thai clinch with knees. Follow-up shots and referee Yamasaki stops it.

Official Result: Stephen Thompson def. Robert Whittaker – TKO (strikes) 3:43 R1

10:23 p.m. – Thompson very polished in his post-fight interview. Stone Cold Steve Austin and UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the house.

Preliminary Results

  • Alexis Davis def. Jessica Eye – Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Raphael Assuncao def. Pedro Munhoz – Unanimous Decision (30-27 all)
  • Aljamain Sterling def. Cody Gibson – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)
  • Zach Makovsky def. Josh Sampo  – Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Erik Koch def. Rafaello Oliveira – TKO (punches) 1:24 R1
  • Ernest Chavez def. Yosdenis Cedeno – Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27

  • Published On Feb 22, 2014
  • Ronda Rousey defeats Miesha Tate by tap out

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    Ronda Rousey Miesha Tate

    Ronda Rousey beat Miesha Tate with a third-round tap out. (Getty Images)

    Ronda Rousey defeated Miesha Tate in the third round by tap out due to armbar at UFC 168 on Saturday night.

    Rousey remains the UFC women’s bantamweight champion.

    This was Rousey’s first bout to go beyond the first round.


  • Published On Dec 28, 2013
  • Rousey-Tate surprise signals troubling, drama-heavy trend in UFC title bouts

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    This was Ronda Rousey's demeanor before fighting Miesha Tate. Now she'll be living with her on a TV show. [Esther Lin/Getty Images]

    This was Ronda Rousey’s face before fighting Miesha Tate. Now the two will live together. [Esther Lin/Getty Images]

    The key word in the term “reality television” is not “reality” but “television.” Entertainment, or at least the promise of it, is what counts. If that means you must stretch the reality part a wee bit to pull in viewers, so be it.

    Within that context, the UFC and Fox didn’t simply rescue, but in fact spiced up The Ultimate Fighter on Tuesday. Season 18 of the show, which will air beginning Sept. 4 on the new Fox Sports 1 cable channel, was to feature women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey coaching against unbeaten Cat Zingano. The first female coaches in the show’s history would be working with teams composed, for the first time, of both men and women. It’s groundbreaking in a multitude of ways.

    Add to that some new made-for-TV drama. Zingano injured her right knee two weeks ago and had to drop out of the show, according to the UFC, which kept that information a secret until taping began on Tuesday. So when Rousey showed up in the promotion’s Las Vegas gym and the cameras rolled, she came face to face with her bitter nemesis, former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate. Surprise, surprise.

    “For those of you who don’t know, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate don’t like each other at all,” UFC president Dana White said in a Fox video. “They have been battling, verbally and physically, for years. Now they are going to be living together here for six weeks.”

    And afterward, they will fight — which is where this gets sticky if you care at all about the worthiness of title bouts.

    When Rousey puts her belt on the line against Tate sometime in the fall, she will be the fourth UFC champion this year to defend against an opponent coming off a loss. Tate, who had her Strikeforce title dislodged and her elbow dislocated by a Rousey armbar when they first met last year, was on the verge of earning a rematch after winning the first two rounds of a No. 1 challenger showdown with Zingano in April. But “Alpha Cat” turned the tide in Round 3, blasting Tate with knees to the face until the fight was stopped with just over two minutes remaining. Apparently the TKO loss was good enough to earn Miesha another shot at Ronda.

    Something has shifted in UFC matchmaking. José Aldo defended his featherweight championship in February against a man coming off two straight losses. Sure, Frankie Edgar is a former lightweight champ whose two prior defeats came in close title fights at that higher weight. But still. What about Georges St-Pierre, who put his welterweight strap on the line in March against Nick Diaz, who was coming off a loss and a year-long drug suspension? Just last month, Jon Jones defended the light heavyweight title against Chael Sonnen, who was coming off a knockout defeat and had not fought at 205 pounds in seven years. What a tangled web the UFC has weaved.

    Now, it’s not like this hadn’t ever happened before 2013. But generally — though not always — it’s either been a championship fight loser being granted a rematch or someone getting an unforeseen shot at a title because of a champion’s retirement, failed drug test or some other extenuating circumstance.

    GALLERY: Classic photos of Ronda Rousey

    One might view Rousey vs. Tate II as the product of extenuating circumstances. Losing a coach two weeks before your high-profile reality show begins taping calls for desperate measures. And what were the UFC’s options? Sarah Kaufman is ranked higher than Tate, and is also an ex-Strikeforce champ, but she lasted less than a minute against Ronda last August. There’s also Liz Carmouche, who was scheduled to fight Miesha in July … and who did better than either Tate or Kaufman against Rousey, nearly submitting the champ early before succumbing to — what else? — an armbar in the final seconds of the first round. But that February bout, the first women’s fight in UFC history, was the most recent on the resumes of both Ronda and Liz. “Girl-Rilla” needs to wait a while for another title try.

    An intriguing possibility for Rousey would have been fellow Olympian — and fellow groundbreaker — Sara McMann. Whereas Ronda became the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo when she took bronze in Beijing in 2008, McMann became the first female American silver medalist in wrestling four years later in Athens. But while both also share a 7-0 record, Sara has been building her MMA career more steadily than the meteoric champ has. McMann dominated Sheila Gaff in her UFC debut last month, and the promotion apparently believes she needs more seasoning before it can serve up an Olympian vs. Olympian clash.

    In the end, the UFC has eschewed new blood for bad blood.

    Rousey is all for it — after getting over her initial shock. Yahoo! Sports’s Kevin Iole, who was at the UFC gym, wrote that Ronda “was clearly stunned” when she spotted Tate, and stormed out in search of White. When she emerged back under the bright lights, Rousey was in full TV publicist mode. “This is what we really wanted all along,” she told Iole. “Everyone said an Ultimate Fighter between me and Miesha would be the best. We have a personal history with each other, and this is a personal show. For some reason, me and Miesha are intertwined in fate like Ali and Frazier or something like that.”

    — Jeff Wagenheim


  • Published On May 29, 2013
  • Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos is returning to a changed landscape in women’s MMA

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    Having rejected an offer to join the UFC, Cris 'Cyborg' Santos makes her Invicta debut Apr. 5. (AP)

    Having rejected an offer to join the UFC, Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos makes her Invicta debut April 5. (AP)

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The last time Cris “Cyborg” Santos fought professionally, Newt Gingrich was the front-runner in the Republican presidential primaries, Breaking Dawn: Part I had just hit theaters and an upstart judoka by the name of Ronda Rousey showed promise with her second win on the Strikeforce circuit.

    Needless to say, much has changed since Santos was the face of women’s MMA.

    Since Santos received a one-year suspension for testing positive for stanozolol leading up to her Dec. 17, 2011 fight with Hiroko Yamanaka, Rousey rose from niche sport newcomer to mainstream sports icon; the all-female fighting promotion Invicta launched while Strikeforce went the way of Gingrich; and UFC president Dana White 180’ed on his position that women were too pretty to fight, placed them as headliners on the UFC 157 card, and slapped Santos with perhaps the cruelest insult when he labeled her “irrelevant.” (Oh, and Twilight fans watched Alice and Edward kiss in advance of their happily-ever-after ending in Breaking Dawn: Part II, in case you were wondering.)

    “It’s been a tough time,” said Santos, 27, relaxing on the couch of her Holiday Inn hotel room Thursday night as she prepared for her return to the ring against Australia’s Fiona Muxlow as part of Friday night’s Invicta 5 fight card. Banana bunches, hardboiled eggs, and half-empty bottles of Pedialyte — the hallmarks of her weight cut to 145 pounds — are spread before her on a coffee table.

    A tough time — that’s about as much as a reticent Santos will reveal about her 16-month layoff — but talk to anyone in her inner circle and they’ll tick off a list of indignities ranging from her mounting bills to her dwindling bank accounts, the sponsors who hightailed it away from her, her divorce from fellow fighter Evangelista Santos, and perhaps the worst of it all — the Strikeforce incident.

    It was Aug. 18, 2012 — eight months into her steroid suspension — when Strikeforce hosted its main event, Ronda Rousey versus Sarah Kaufman, near Santos’ San Diego apartment. As the former Strikeforce featherweight champion, Santos expected to sit where all the fighters do: cageside, where fighters can get a close-up of their potential opponents and television cameras can capture the fighters’ reactions. But when Santos arrived, she discovered she’d been banished to the bleachers, high above the cage and far from the TV sightlines.  When a friend fighting on the card found out about her seat placement, he sent her a ticket for a floor seat from his allotment. But again, Strikeforce officials shepherded her to the top of the stairs and back of the arena.

    “It really bothered her,” says George Prajin, who manages Santos along with UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz.

    But Santos says the year off, brutal as it was, offered her a chance to re-evaluate her career, her future, and the weaknesses in her game. She focused on improving her jiu-jitsu to balance out her potent punching power, changed management, and with the help of Ortiz, opened her own gym in her native Brazil called The Rock. The gym is part of Ortiz’s and Prajin’s plan to extend her brand beyond the cage.

    In one of her first conversations with Ortiz, Santos told him, “When I beat Gina Carano and won the [Strikeforce featherweight] belt, my life didn’t change, my bank account didn’t change.”

    She still drove the same car and still couldn’t afford a house that she could have lost during her suspension.

    The Rock gym is part of the team’s first attempt to fix that. Though, even Ortiz admits not all his plans have gone off without a hitch.

    There was the contract debacle with the UFC. Prajin claims the UFC initially offered her a three-fight deal, which included one tune-up fight, a fight with Ronda scheduled for the summer and a rematch slated for the fall.

    “They offered an OK deal but they weren’t offering what they’re giving Ronda and we didn’t think it was fair,” says Prajin.

    Then came what Prajin calls the dealbreaker with the UFC: a demand that Santos sign an eight-fight contract. Prajin says that’s when his team went to Invicta.

    At the press conference last February announcing Santo’s return to the cage with a three-fight Invicta card, Ortiz talked Santos into wearing a T-shirt reading, “Ronda Will Be My Bitch.”

    After the conference, she told Ortiz, “I can’t do that stuff. It’s not me.”

    That’s not to say Cyborg doesn’t believe in the message of the T-shirt, of course. The Brazilian says she would fight Rousey tomorrow, “but I should give her time to train.”

    But there’s a subtext to the entire conversation, a tacit admission behind Santos’s bold proclamations that, “I don’t have to prove anything.”

    Santos actually needs Rousey more than Rousey needs her right now.

    The Invicta fights will be Santos’ best opportunity to shift the balance. Everyone one of her opponents, including Muxlow, are merely proxies for Rousey. They are proxies whom Santos must not only beat, but also dominate to force the UFC to rethink its contract offers and its thoughts on a 140-pound catchweight for the two fighters.

    This reality isn’t lost on Santos’ management team.

    The Rousey fight, says Prajin, “is her financial future.”

    It might be more than that. It might be her sole shot at redeeming a reputation that’s taken the metaphorical equivalent of one of her punches.

    Winning, she knows, fixes almost everything. That might be the only truth in the women’s fight game that hasn’t changed in the year that Cyborg Santos has been away. — Melissa Segura


  • Published On Apr 05, 2013
  • Ronda Rousey to coach “The Ultimate Fighter” with male and female fighters

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    Ronda Rousey, who beat Liz Carmouche at UFC 157, will be one of the coaches in next season's "The Ultimate Fighter." (Jae C. Hong/AP)

    Ronda Rousey, who beat Liz Carmouche at UFC 157, will be one of the coaches in next season’s “The Ultimate Fighter.” (Jae C. Hong/AP)

    MONTREAL — Somebody’s about to learn the armbar.

    We knew the UFC was only getting started riding the wave of Ronda Rousey’s barrier-busting appeal. And here comes the next breaker, rolling in from the horizon.

    The indomitable 135-pound champion, who just three weeks ago transformed the first women’s fight in UFC history into an event that transcended mixed martial arts and even the sports page in general, has been enlisted to breathe new life into another facet of the fight promotion’s business. Company president Dana White announced during Saturday night’s UFC 158 prelims telecast on FX that Rousey will coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter along with the winner of the April 13 bout between former Strikeforce champ Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano.

    Read More…


  • Published On Mar 16, 2013
  • Experts’ Predictions for UFC 157: Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche

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    All three of SI.com's experts predict that Ronda Rousey will defeat Liz Carmouche by submission. (AP)

    All three of SI.com’s experts predict that Ronda Rousey will defeat Liz Carmouche by submission. (AP)

    SI.com analysts Dave Doyle, Loretta Hunt and Jeff Wagenheim provide their predictions for UFC 157 on Saturday.

    Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche

    DOYLE: An Iraq War vet with three tours of duty, Carmouche won’t be intimidated by Rousey like so many other opponents. She’ll probably even be the first to really tag Rousey, putting a scare into Dana White in the process. But when push comes to shove, the armbar wins out. Rousey by submission, round two.

    HUNT: I was surprised that the UFC selected Carmouche as a first opponent for its superstar women’s champion. Carmouche is unpredictable, capable in multiple disciplines (decent striking, better ground game), and able to adapt mid-fight. That said, Carmouche will have to get close to Rousey to beat her, where the Olympic judo bronze medalist is at her strongest. Rousey by submission.

    WAGENHEIM: How do I say this without mischaracterizing Carmouche as some mannequin being stood in the octagon just to create the appearance of Rousey not being in there alone? Liz is very much a live opponent, tough and aggressive. She’s a real fighter. But Ronda is unreal. She’s showed herself to be at a whole different level than every past opponent, and she’ll make that evident again on Saturday. Rousey by submission.

    Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida

    DOYLE: One of these days, age is finally going to catch up to Henderson, who hasn’t fought in a year and a half. He’s gotten into precarious situations in his last two fights (against Fedor Emelianenko and Mauricio Rua) and rallied to win. This time, he won’t be so lucky. Machida by TKO, round three.

    HUNT: Machida has been flying a bit under the radar, but he’s training diligently and improving proportionately. At age 42, Henderson’s career is winding down, and stamina has never been his strong suit. Let us not forget that he hasn’t fought in 15 months and is coming back from a recurring knee injury (He’s had ACL surgery in the past, too). He’s still got fight-finishing power in both hands, but I’d wager Machida will stay far out of range for them. Machida by decision.

    WAGENHEIM: Machida is elusive and tricky and dangerous, but Hendo has been solving puzzles of all shapes and sizes for a long time. Old man Dan actually gets an assist here from Rousey and Carmouche, because with the women being in the main event, this clash of ex-champs is just a three-rounder. That way, the 42-year-old won’t lose steam. Henderson by decision.

    Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar

    DOYLE: Faber’s career pattern in recent years has been to lose competitive matches to champions and dominate the rest of the competition. Until proven otherwise, I’ll stick with that assumption. Faber by third-round submission.

    HUNT: Menjivar doesn’t depend on fighting to put food on his family’s table and his calm, methodical style reflects that. Faber will likely push the pace, which will take Menjivar out of his comfort zone a bit, but if the Salvadorian-Canadian can keep it together, he might find his opening. Menjivar by submission.

    WAGENHEIM: Faber is just 3-3 in his last six fights, but look at the losses: to José Aldo, Dominick Cruz and Renan Barão. Urijah loses to the best… and bests everyone else. Faber by decision.

    Court McGee vs. Josh Neer

    DOYLE: With the UFC handing out pink slips left and right, the loser of this might be out of a job. In the end, McGee’s size in his drop to welterweight should be too much for the former lightweight Neer. McGee by decision. 

    HUNT: Both are coming off back-to-back losses, but McGee is younger in this game, with more yet to accomplish. He’ll have to deal with a durable veteran who’s equally comfortable going toe-to-toe and tangling on the ground, but the gritty McGee’s hunger should pull him through. McGee by decision.

    WAGENHEIM: This is a fight for survival, as both men are on two-fight losing streaks and understand the perils of continuing that downward trend. McGee by decision.

    Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler

    DOYLE: The veteran Lawler still drops big bombs, but he’s dangerously close to being in the “puncher’s chance” stage of his career. Koscheck by decision. 

    HUNT: What a fight to kick off this historic pay-per-view — two fighters who truly enjoy the dance that is MMA striking. Since Lawler’s current training situation is a mystery and Koscheck has likely assimilated to his new surroundings following his dramatic departure from AKA, the latter has the clear advantage. In addition, Koscheck, an accomplished collegiate wrestler, can shoot in on Lawler at any time should things go array on its feet. Koscheck by TKO.

    WAGENHEIM: Koscheck seems to have slipped a bit in the welterweight pecking order, but he hasn’t slipped far enough to let this one get away. Koscheck by KO.


  • Published On Feb 22, 2013
  • Manny Gamburyan injured, out of UFC 157

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    Manny Gamburyan

    A fractured elbow will keep Manny Gamburyan out of UFC 157. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

    UFC featherweight Manny Gamburyan, scheduled to fight Chad Mendes on Feb. 23 on the UFC 157 undercard, suffered a broken thumb and fractured elbow Thursday night during a training session. The injuries will force him to withdraw from the Mendes bout.

    While the Gamburyan-Mendes matchup was crucial to helping the Armenian-born Gamburyan climb the featherweight ranks again, the bout had both historic and personal significance for the fighter.  He’s had a longstanding friendship with headliner Ronda Rousey, with whom he’s trained judo since she was a child. Gamburyan told SI.com in an interview last month that he sought out UFC president Dana White to ask him for the opportunity to appear on the same card as Rousey.  “It’s an honor to fight on the same card as her,” he told SI.com in the interview.

    It’s now an honor, it appears, that will have to wait for his recovery.

    There was no immediate response from a UFC spokesman about plans to replace Gambuyran.
           — Melissa Segura


  • Published On Feb 08, 2013
  • UFC Primetime will delve into Rousey-Carmouche

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    Ronda Rousey

    Ronda Rousey will appear in her first UFC fight on Feb. 23. (Jeff R. Bottari/Getty Images)

    By now, even the most casual of mixed martial arts fans have heard the hubbub surrounding Ronda Rousey’s debut bout against former marine Liz Carmouche. Most have heard about the historic nature of the UFC 157 fight on Feb. 23, how it marks the first time two women will compete in the octagon.

    The gender-bending issues presented in the fight? Check.

    Issues of sexual orientation in sports brought to light by the openly lesbian fighter, Carmouche?

    Traditional constructs of feminism?

    And just good, solid title fighting?

    Check, check and check. UFC 157 offers all of these elements.

    Capturing these themes is the debut episode of UFC Primetime: Rousey v. Carmouche, airing Thursday night on Fox Sports Network. The show gives a voice and context to the two women who’ve tossed social stereotypes around the way that they’ll throw each around other come fight night.  The Zuffa-produced Primetime is arguably the most spellbinding MMA television we’ll see this year. (And yes, I know. It’s only February.)

    While the show has long been know for unprecedented access to fighters, the first episode of the three-part series features the most raw and emotionally gripping personal stories we’ve seen to date.

    Rousey has told the story of her early-childhood speech problems, her close relationship with her father, and the devastating impact of his death, in several high-profile outlets, including SI. In Primetime, we hear a few, never-told-before memories of him. Most compellingly, Rousey describes what it’s like talk about him.  SI won’t ruin it for you, but hearing her describe how it feels to relive his life and death is gut wrenching.

    Carmouche is as magnetic as her much more famous counterpart.  Her grace and poise as the undisputed underdog are endearing.  Primetime tells of her coming to grips with her sexuality and the struggles, both financial and logistical, of being an under-the-radar fighter.  As Carmouche takes the viewers through her day, she easily slips into the roll of the All-American Every Woman. It’s easy to understand the devotion she elicits from her dedicated fan base, the Lizbos.

    Primetime is well told and well worth your time.  It’s greatest achievement is the dexterity with which it handles these fighters’ delicate and complex histories while simultaneously treating them not so much as female fighters but simply fighters. – Melissa Segura


  • Published On Feb 07, 2013
  • Dana White makes it official: Ronda Rousey is the UFC’s first female fighter

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    Ronda Rousey’s next match will be as a member of UFC. (Robert Beck/SI)

    MONTREAL — Ronda Rousey usually is the one doing the arm twisting. Did someone beat her at her own game to get her to finally comment on her job status?

    “Okay I admit it … I’m officially a UFC fighter,” Rousey wrote on Twitter on Friday afternoon, after more than a week of steering clear of the subject of a TMZ.com report that she had become the first female fighter in the promotion’s history. “So excited! Can’t wait to debut! Let Dana White know who you want my first opponent to be!”

    There’d been no arm twisting involved, actually, but White had beaten Rousey to the punch, so to speak. Earlier in the day he went on Jim Rome’s nationally syndicated radio program and confirmed what he, too, had been uncharacteristically silent about ever since the groundbreaking story broke. “Yes, it’s official,” he said in answer to Rome’s question about the TMZ report, which had been confirmed by other media outlets, but all citing anonymous sources. “Ronda Rousey did sign with the UFC.”

    This official confirmation didn’t create much of a buzz at New Gas City, the cavernous downtown Montreal nightclub that was the venue for Friday’s UFC 154 weigh-ins. The place was packed and noisy, just as the UFC likes it, and what the fans saw was uneventful, with every fighter on the card making weight — also just as the UFC likes it. Georges St-Pierre, who defends his welterweight championship for the first time in 19 months in Saturday night’s main event, got a hero’s welcome in the city where he lives and trains. His opponent, interim champ Carlos Condit, received polite applause. The Rousey news, so widely considered a fait accompli after last week’s report, was not the least bit of a distraction.

    Still, listening to the Rome show, it was cool to hear White make a public endorsement of women’s MMA, something he had said as recently as a year ago would never be a part of the UFC. It’s not too difficult to understand why Dana would have had a change of heart if you’ve ever seen Rousey fight.

    “I tell you, this girl is nasty,” he told Rome. “She might be beautiful on the outside. She’s a Diaz brother on the inside. She’s a real fighter. She’s very talented. She has the credentials, the pedigree, I mean, everything.”

    Everything? Dana was referring to more than Rousey’s Olympic bronze medal in judo, her Strikeforce women’s bantamweight championship and her 6-0 professional record, with every win by that unstoppable armbar, all but one in the very first minute. The UFC president is looking beyond all of that. “I think she has that ‘it’ factor,” he said. “I think she’s going to be a big superstar.”

    Whether that happens falls as much on him and his promotional team, of course, as it does on the fighter. But so far Rousey and the UFC have been a marketable match, with “Rowdy Ronda” appearing everywhere from the cover of the ESPN the Magazine “Body Issue” to the Sports Illustrated TV magazine show on NBC Network.

    The ultimate test, however, will come not on the newsstand, the TV screen or the Madison Avenue boardroom. It’ll come in the cage. No one has yet posed a threat to Rousey, and for the 25-year-old’s star to continue to rise she’s going to need to overcome some viable challenges. Cris “Cyborg” Santos, long the indomitable force in the women’s fight game, will be Rousey’s most treacherous hurdle once the Brazilian finishes her steroid suspension. Then the two fighters’ camps can get past their silly squabble over how to bridge the weight-class gap between the 145-pound Cyborg and Rousey, who began her career at 145 but now is champion among women 10 pounds lighter.

    White offered no hint on when we’ll see a Rousey vs. Cyborg matchup. But he did insist that Rousey’s challenges will not end there. “She’s got four or five good fights,” he said during his radio appearance. “The next two years, we’ve got really good opponents for her, and it’s going to be interesting.”

    It’s already interesting, considering that White’s dismissal of women’s MMA all along was centered on his insistence that there were not enough top-level women to fill a division. Rousey’s “four or five good fights” sounds like a UFC women’s division in the making.

    —Jeff Wagenheim


  • Published On Nov 16, 2012
  • Experts’ predictions for Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey

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    Miesha Tate (left) defends her Strikeforce women's 135-pound title against upstart Ronda Rousey (right) on Saturday in Columbus. (Esther Lin/Forza LLC)

    SI.com analysts Ben Fowlkes, Loretta Hunt and Jeff Wagenheim provide their predictions for Saturday’s Strikeforce card at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

    Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey

    FOWLKES: We don’t know enough about Rousey yet to know whether she should be the favorite or the underdog. We know almost nothing about her, in fact, because she has less than a round’s worth of pro experience. That’s why I have to side with the known quantity and the current champ, who’s better and more experienced than anyone Rousey has faced. Tate by decision.

    HUNT: Can anyone stop Rousey’s armbar attack? There has to be someone, but I don’t think Tate will be the woman to do it. Rousey by submission.

    WAGENHEIM: Rousey is 4-0, all submission wins, none lasting more than 49 seconds. I don’t care if you’re fighting the Little Sisters of the Poor — that’s impressive. Sure, Tate is a big step up in competition, but what does that mean? Maybe it’ll take “Rowdy” Ronda two minutes this time. Rousey by submission.

    K.J. Noons vs. Josh Thomson

    FOWLKES: Thomson used to be a heck of a fighter before injuries descended on him like a plague. Now he fights only sporadically, and has to be careful not to hurt himself in training. That’ll cost him against a savvy striker like Noons, who won’t have the same concerns about rust and frailty. Noons by decision.

    HUNT: Thomson’s wrestling and submissions are superior, and I’d say their striking is closely comparable. The unknowns are 1) how the 15-month layoff has affected Thomson and 2) if Noons is still on the growth spurt we saw in his December fight against Billy Evangelista. Thomson by decision.

    WAGENHEIM: The oft-injured Thomson hasn’t fought since 2010, so he’ll have to contend with not just Noons but also his own rust. But “The Punk” has the more well-rounded game here — if he can find it. Thomson by decision.

    Read More…


  • Published On Mar 02, 2012


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