Ronda Rousey’s loss to Holly Holm in their fight on November 14th can be considered one of the biggest upsets in recent MMA history. The overwhelming odds for Rousey to win were all the buzz in the MMA world for months leading up to the fight. Multiple Las Vegas casinos declared the odds that Rousey would be victorious over Holm at 12:1, (5) so there’s no doubt those who put money on Rousey to win (and who wouldn’t? It seemed like a sure thing) lost their cash, and quite possibly their tempers.
Being just 28 years old, Ronda Rousey’s mixed martial arts career has exploded over the past few years. At 5’7” and currently weighing in at 135 pounds, she ranks in the female bantamweight division. (1)
Here’s a quick background on Rousey and her rise to fame:
Rousey began practicing Judo at the tender age of 11 years old. When she was just 17, she earned a qualifying spot at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, making her the youngest Judo contestant in the games. That same year, she competed in the World Junior Judo Championship in Budapest and won the gold medal. (1)
In 2008, she again got the chance to compete in the Olympic Games, this time in Beijing. During the quarterfinals, she lost to a Dutch competitor but went on to win the Bronze medal in her weight division. With that win, she became the first-ever American female to medal in Judo. (1)
When she was 22, Rousey retired from Judo and entered the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Her first match in 2011 was a quick 26-second loss. However, after a few years of highly-publicized events, she began to gain lots of media coverage and popularity. In 2012, Rousey became the very first female to be signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). She got some quick wins against her opponents, including the fastest win in UFC history at just 14 seconds. (1)
Rousey has attained a lot of popularity for her grappling skills and her quick wins by using the arm bar maneuver. This is the most frequently used joint lock move in MMA and is Rousey’s signature, brutal finisher. It is achieved by getting the opponent into a position that puts pressure on their elbow joint to the point that it becomes hyperextended. The opponent can’t move without severe pain and risk of elbow dislocation, so they must submit. (2)
Ronda Rousey’s win during the fight on November 14th seemed to be a sure bet, but alas, Holly Holm proved to be
too much for her. Rousey seems to have an over-confidence before and during all of her fights. This puts a lot of fear into her opponents and helped her get so many early takedowns. However, Holm wasn’t as intimidated as the others, and this may have helped her win the bout. (3)
In her previous fights, Rousey would go on the offensive as soon as the bell rang, and open with an all-out blitz. Surprisingly, she didn’t do that this time. Instead, she spent the first minute dodging Holm’s punches and putting the pressure on. When Rousey had her first chance to execute an arm bar, Holm slipped out. Then Holm landed a few tags on Rousey, which seemed to wear her out before the end of the round. Holm was the clear winner in round one. (4)
Round two lasted a total of 59 seconds. Rousey came on strong with blitzes and bull charges, and although Holm lost her balance ducking and dodging, she managed to regain herself and get a hit on Rousey. Holm landed a straight arm punch that made Rousey stumble, giving Holm the perfect opportunity to wind up the high kick that ended up knocking Rousey out cold. (4) It was a shocking and unexpected moment in MMA – one that will be replayed over and over for a long time.
Rousey had a lot on her plate before her match with Holm. She had achieved full-on celebrity status, appearing in commercials, late-night talk shows, and even taking part in the shooting of the movie remake “Road House.” This, in conjunction with her over-confidence, may very well have taken her focus away from the fight and her training. After getting knocked down a peg, a lot of people see this loss as a wake-up call for Rousey and a chance for her to get back to reality and redefine some of her priorities.
Rousey and Holm are scheduled for a rematch in 2016, date TBA. Rousey is still favored to win that match, although the odds most likely won’t be as one-sided this time. (5)