UFC 193 Main Card Analysis – Rousey v Holm

In the leadup to UFC 193 I will analyse the main card matchups, before weighing in with some good old fashioned prognostication.

What do is take a look at all of the available statistics on both fighters, from the records of their career opponents to their in cage performances, to try and work out their relative strengths and weaknesses.

With this analysis I hope to look beyond the hype of each fighter to determine what they might do come fight night, and who might win.

I have already taken a look as some basic facts on this fight in my article – Rousey v Holm – Legit Fight or Human Sacrifice? – but I wanted to take another look in the light of my experience on the other articles in order to produce a coherent, comparable narrative for all the main card fights.

This is the fifth and final article on the main card matchups for UFC 193.

  • For Joanna Jedrzejczyk v Valerie Letourneau go here
  • For Mark Hunt v Antonio Silva 2 go here
  • For Uriah Hall v Robert Whittaker go here
  • For Stefan Struve v Jared Rosholt go here

And now – this is what we have all been waiting for, the main event of the evening – Ronda ‘Rowdy’ Rousey (Champion) vs Holly ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ Holm (7).

 

Ronda Rousey is the biggest crossover star in MMA. She has starred in big budget Hollywood blockbusters and has endorsement deals which put her into the Forbes list of highest paid female athletes. She has also proved her ability to cross market herself in the fight game, recently appearing on the cover of Ring Magazine, the longstanding self-styled ‘bible of boxing’. She also recently professed love for the sweet science.

The cover of Ring Magazine is no stranger to her next opponent Holly Holm, who has two appearances during her illustrious boxing career – appearing as Ring Female Fighter of the Year both times. Her illustrious boxing career has her in the conversation for greatest female boxer of all time. Given Rousey’s current status, it would be hard to argue that this is not the highest level mma/boxing matchup in history.

Alas, as this fight between multi-time boxing world champ James Toney and UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture demonstrates, the gulf between the disciplines in terms of Mixed Martial Arts fighting is fairly high.

While Holm has been impressively adding kick boxing and grappling to her skillset, does she have the skills and experience to match it with a Judo phenom like Rousey? Or will she join Toney on the list of failed converts? Let’s find out, firstly by looking at their MMA careers.

 Their Careers!

 

With both fighters undefeated in their MMA careers (Rousey from 12 fights, Holm 9), I thought it best to begin by look at the career records of their respective opponents on fight night to provide some context on the quality of their opponents.

Ronda Rousey Holly Holm
Overall
Win 102 41
Loss 17 27
Average 9.9 7.6
Win % 86% 60%
Majors
Win 52 7
Loss 14 18
Average 5.5 2.8
Win % 79% 28%

 This table represents the Win/Loss records of their opponents on fight night, both in terms of their overall career, and in those fights I have determined as being Major***.

Clearly, Rousey’s opponents have more overall experience, but also have a massive advantage in terms of major fights, with almost double the experience in contests at the highest level.

Perhaps the clearest story from the table above is the win percentage of each fighter’s opponents. Rousey’s opponents have won a whopping 86% of the contests they have been involved in, with that percentage only dropping 7% when looking at major fights in isolation. By contrast, Holm’s opponents have won only 60% of contests, which drops by 32% when looking only at elite level opposition.

Throughout her career, Rousey has never shied away from facing the toughest opposition, which sets her undefeated record well above that of Holm. Still – one can only face the opponents placed in front of you. Next, let’s take a look at what they have achieved inside the cage.

Their fights!

 

In this segment I look at each fighter’s in cage statistics, provided by official UFC statistical provider – Fightmetric. I do this to try and identify what approach the fighters bring to the cage, and how successful they have been at implementing it.

As all fights begin on their feet, so too will my analysis. Let’s take a look at the fighter’s offensive striking stats.

Ronda Rousey Holly Holm
Attack
Sig Strike 106 109
Sig Acc 63% 28%
Total Strike 281 118
Total Acc 80% 30%
% Sig of Total 48% 97%
KDs 2 0
% Standing 20% 84%
% Clinch 49% 16%
SLPM 4.35 3.63

While both fighters have landed roughly the same number of significant strikes, there are some key differences in how they are thrown. Rousey’s accuracy on significant strikes is more than double that of Holm’s, and her reliance on significant strikes as part of a larger arsenal is far lower – with only 48% of all strikes being considered significant against a huge 97% for Holm.

Further underlying the different approach of the fighters is where they like to do their striking. Rousey has recorded almost half of her strikes in the clinch, whereas Holm prefers to fight at range.

These figures can be explained by each fighters ‘base’ or their key skillset. As an Olympic Bronze Medallist in Judo, Rousey’s game is to get to grips early and use a variety of strikes to set up exotic takedowns, where on the mat she utilises her array of submissions.

Holm’s approach to MMA is more akin to volume striking, using her boxing skills to test defences and overwhelm with constant forward pressure and heavy strikes.

Defence is where Holm really shows off her striking pedigree.

Ronda Rousey Holly Holm
Defence
Sig Strike 64 66
Sig Acc 52% 69%
Total Strike 91 83
Total Acc 43% 64%
% Sig of Total 83% 92%
KDs 0 0
SAPM 2.63 2.2

In her quest to get into the clinch, Rousey opens herself up to strikes. Her dominance in the division is in spite of her shaky defensive record of 52% – good enough for 10th among ranked competitors in the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Division. By contrast, Holm’s 69% is good enough for 2nd place.

Even though she throws a large number of strikes, Holm rarely leaves herself open for a counter. Given a look at both the offensive and defensive statistics, I am willing to concede that even though both fighters have markedly different approaches to striking, Holm will take the advantage on the feet.

Will her output and peerless cardio be enough to hold Rousey out and keep the fight standing? I am not sure. But if the fight does make it to the ground how do the figures hold up?

Ronda Rousey Holly Holm
Grappling Att
TD 13 1
TD% 72% 100%
Sub Att 10 0
Pass 13 0
Rev 2 0
% Ground 31% 16%

Rousey’s Olympic level Judo starts to emerge in analysis of the grappling statistics. In 12 fights Rousey has taken down her opponents a combined 13 times, passed guard 13 times and uses nearly a third of her total strikes to help set up 10 different submission attempts (for a completion rate of 70%). Her submission attempts per 15 mins (4.2) is the highest of any fighter, male or female, currently active in the UFC and the 4th highest of all fighters ever.

No doubt about it, if you are in the cage with Ronda Rousey she is either planning on submitting you, or doing it – and if on the way there she manages to knock you out…then great.

Compared to the two fights we have on record for Holm, well, really there is no comparison. The defensive statistics also cement Rousey’s grappling dominance over Holm.

Ronda Rousey Holly Holm
Grappling Def
TD 2 0
TD Att 5 5
TD% 60% 100%
Sub Att 1 0
Pass 3 0
Rev 1 0

Even though Holm has yet to be taken down in the Octagon, Marion Reneau never tried and Raquel Pennington is currently outside the top ten of the division.

Only one fighter has attempted a submission on Rousey on record which was a close attempt by Liz Carmouch in the first UFC women’s title fight. Her guard has only been passed on three occasions and a dominant position reversed only once, against Meisha Tate.

Also worthy of note, for both times Rousey has been taken down, she has managed to reverse the dominant position.

In grappling terms, Ronda Rousey absolutely destroys Holly Holm, which is probably a bit unfair due to the lack of data we have to work with.

In summation!

 

The key to the contest for mine is whether or not Holm can use her elite striking to keep Rousey out of the clinch. If she can’t then it should be a very quick night for Rousey. As Rousey has never faced a striker the likes of Holm, I think it might take the most of a round or two for her to figure a way on the inside, once there the fight will be quickly over.

Ronda Rousey retains her title via 2nd round armbar

References!

Ronda Rousey UFC Profile

Ronda Rousey Sherdog fight record

Ronda Rousey Fightmetric Profile

Holly Holm UFC Profile

Holly Holm Sherdog fight record

Holly Holm Fightmetric Profile

Fightmetric Statistical Top Tens

***Major fights are defined (arbitrarily) as being against either a top notch competitor or in a top notch organisation as listed –

  • UFC
  • Strikeforce
  • Invicta
  • Bodog
  • ShoXC/EliteXC/ProElite
  • Deep
  • Bellator
  • IFL
  • Dream
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Published by

James

Easing into my mid 30's, writing just crept up on me. I had to put something out there - no matter what. So here we are! I live in Canberra, Australia and work in statistical IT systems development and support and am a proud father of two

4 thoughts on “UFC 193 Main Card Analysis – Rousey v Holm

  1. Awesome article bro :))) the data reminds me a bit to hallway cricket stats hehe 😉 well written and well done. Yep, should be a interesting one!

    Like

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