A few days have passed since Holly Holm pulled off the unthinkable and annihilated Ronda Rousey. Having a bit of time to reconcile the monumental shift in the UFC landscape helps to put context back in some kind of order.
As ground shattering as this moment was it doesn’t quite erase a pretty solid night of fights, Jedrzejczyk fended off the game Letourneau, Hunt closed the chapter on ‘Big Foot’ Silva, Rob Whittaker took a big step toward UFC legitimacy, and a host of up and coming Aussie talents looked like they belonged against well matched, decent opposition.
For this UFC event I thought I would take my nerdy statistical eye and apply it to the main card fights. I even went so far as to hazard a guess at the outcomes. So, how did I do? Did the fighter’s performances match the great big bag of statistical information they carry with them?
Stefan Struve v Jared Rosholt
As mentioned the card was shaping up as exciting and well matched…and then there was Struve v Rosholt. Being the first fight of the main card they also managed to be my first ever statistical analysis piece.
I thought that Jared Rosholt was a one dimensional wrestler who would be overmatched on his feet, try to take the fight to the ground, and get KO’d in the process. Turns out I got the first bit right; the bit I didn’t anticipate was Struve’s complete lack of aggression, something even he was apologetic for –
What followed was three rounds of insipid, uninspired ‘fighting’, which mainly consisted of Rosholt flopping uselessly on top of Struve or them circling endlessly – Dance in Detroit style. This bitter reaction may be down to disappointment on my behalf, I considered returning my Struve fandom medallion. Unfortunately it seems the question I posed early in the article about his longevity in the sport has been answered.
I argued for a Struve KO in round one – Result – Jared Rosholt by blanket.
James 0 – Reality 1
What’s next for the fighters?
Jared Rosholt is one loss away from being cut from the UFC. If Jake Shields was cut after a loss for passivity, then an argument could be made for firing Rosholt off a win. I think the UFC brass will either feed him to someone like Antonio Silva to give him a nice highlight reel K/O or submission to ease his recent losses, or use him as a gatekeeper for fighters looking to break into the top 15 like Ruslan Magomedov.
Struve is also probably one loss away from the end of his UFC tenure, even after a victory against the legendary but barely functioning Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Losing by passivity to a blanket like Rosholt is a bad sign in the ever excitement hungry UFC. I would love to see him back to his explosive and aggressive best but I am just unsure he can come back from his run of serious injury issues. I think a fight against an exciting fringe top 15 guy like Alexey Oliynyk could be a fitting test of his fighting future.
Uriah Hall v Robert Whittaker
Next up was (what I deeply hoped) would be an exciting match between Uriah Hall and Robert Whittaker. My article predicted an all-out stand-up war, and largely, the fighters met my expectations. What really surprised me about the fight was how Whittaker allowed proceedings to move at a slow, Hall-like pace, and yet he still managed to pull off a well-deserved win.
I predicted a round two KO for Hall – Result – Whittaker by hard fought decision.
James 0 – Reality 2
What is next for the fighters?
Uriah Hall lost most of the stock he acquired from the come from behind victory of Gegard Mousasi and puts him in a strange place in the division. He really needs some solid, clear wins against middle of the ground fighters, like Derek Brunson, to start to rebuild his case as an elite middleweight. Knowing the UFC though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him up against yet another faded Pride star in Dan Henderson after another devastating Belfort knockout.
Robert Whittaker could just be on the verge of real relevance at 185. Nick Baldwin even suggested a high profile matchup against the aforementioned Belfort in his “what next…” article. I would rather him face a less mercurial adversary in the middle of the 185 top ten before attempting to touch the sun, possibly Tim Kennedy or his originally booked opponent Michael Bisping.
Mark Hunt v Antonio Silva 2
After righting the ship with two exciting strikers we moved on to some of the most exciting strikers. As mentioned in my article on the fight, I love the heavyweight division. Not just because of my Roy Nelsonesque physique, but also due to the excitement of single, fight changing strikes.
I thought that while both fighters have had up and down careers since their first epic fight, the lack of TRT would definitively push the scales (pardon the pun) in the direction of Mark Hunt.
I augured for a second round KO by Mark Hunt – Result – Mark Hunt by KO round 1
James 1 – Reality 2
Antonio Silva has not looked the same since the TRT ban. His deceptive speed and power are a visible step behind their last matchup, which makes the disparity in kick boxing acumen between the two heavies even more apparent.
What’s next for the fighters?
Mark Hunt claimed post fight to want one more run at the heavyweight title, and if anyone can do it at 41, it is he. To further that goal he needs to put some wins together in a hurry against tough opposition – granting his wish against the fifth ranked Travis Browne later this month would be a great step in that direction. Failing that, another top contender like Andrei Arlovski would be a really fun bout.
Antonio Silva is starting to struggle in a sport where struggling has some serious long term health implications. My favourite bet for him would be to fight a relatively ‘safe’ (in terms of knockout ability) blanket like Jared Rosholt, but failing that he really needs to regain some confidence outside the top 15, possibly against someone like Anthony Hamilton.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk v Valerie Letourneau
In my article I posited that despite the split decision results against Claudia Gadelha this fight would be a technical striking mismatch in favour of the champion. How could anyone stand against a champion of the Art of 8 Limbs? Well….
Prediction Jedrzejczyk by KO R2 – Result – hard fought technical striking classic against two hardcore competitors retains Jedrzejczyk’s title.
James 2 – Reality 2
Even though I got the size of the disparity wrong, a disparity there still was. The hematoma on Letourneau’s right eye was evidence enough of that. What I didn’t predict was the skill and heart of Letourneau, or the composure and class of Jedrzejczyk when the night turned tougher than expected. Both fighters can claim a new fan in me, which is convenient given there is a 265 pound Stefan Struve sized hole in my fan budget. Crazy to think that together they would miss out on his weight by 35 pounds.
What’s next for the fighters?
Jedrzejczyk must assert herself over Claudia Gadelha before she can be considered the dominant champion she aspires to be. Her split decision victory over Gadelha, which prompted her title shot in the first place, was more nano than razor thin and there are some good arguments for Gadelha being the true winner.
It would be a shame for Letourneau to retire as suggested pre fight by Jedrzejczyk. She showed amazing technique and heart and should be a mainstay for the division for as long as she feels able. I would like to see her against former champ Carla Esparza, or failing that against up and coming sensation Page VanZant.
Ronda Rousey v Holly Holm
And now, at last, we come to the main event of the evening. I, like many others, assumed that Ronda Rousey was all but invincible. I scoffed at friends who wanted to put money on the challenger. At best I thought that Ronda would be delayed until round two before the inevitable destruction. How did that turn out for me?
Ronda Rousey by Armbar round 2 – Result – Holly Holm by awesomeness and a headkick KO, round 2
Final James v Reality UFC 193 Score card – James 2 – Reality 3
My favourite fight analyser, Connor Ruebusch, called it perfectly in his customary ‘pathway to victory’ article. Holly was able to frustrate Rousey with amazing technical striking and even a retaliatory takedown. We all knew what each fighter was going to attempt, the real disconnect with reality was in Holm’s ability to actually do it, and in Rousey’s inability to adjust her approach when it started paying off.
What’s next for the fighters?
Despite the incessant calls for a rematch, I think Meisha Tate deserves the first pick at the cherry. Obligatory champion rematches serve no one – the only case where they can really be warranted is if the fight was insanely close or competitive. This fight was neither. Holly Holm dominated Ronda Rousey. And really, with her abject inability to come up with a plan B, who really thinks Ronda will come out with a more effective game plan upon immediate rematch? I don’t.
Ronda needs some time away from the sport. It was originally planned after this fight, and now I think she could really use the time to rethink her career and her pathway to the glory she so craves. Is Edmond Tarverdeyan the horrible coach her mother makes him out to be? Well, maybe. But it has worked really well for her so far in her career. I would like to see her fight against another top contender before facing Holm again. Perhaps a rematch against Cat Zingano would be in order. She is one of the few active fighters with a win against Tate and would almost certainly attempt a different strategy than in their first meeting.
In all I have had a lot of fun analysing and writing about my favourite sport in my analysis series for UFC 193. A big thankyou to everyone for reading my stuff and providing advice/feedback. Everything is greatly appreciated 🙂