Friday, August 21, 2015

Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm to main event Jan. 2 UFC show

This morning UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey appeared on ABC's Good Morning America and announced that she will defend her title against Holly Holm at UFC 195 Jan. 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Surprised? Me too especially since UFC president Dana White said at least twice that Miesha Tate would get this title shot. I'll get into my analysis of why this decision was made in a second. Competitively speaking, I don't think either fighter can beat Ronda. So it doesn't matter who the opponent is as casual fans aren't buying the PPV to see Ronda's opponent. They are buying it to see Ronda destroy whoever and the interest in the Bethe Correia fight confirms that it doesn't matter who her opponent is. The sell of Holly as Ronda's opponent is very similar to the Sara McMann sell based on Holly's pre-MMA accomplishments as a championship boxer. Holly is undefeated in MMA but she has underperformed in her two UFC fights. The UFC is paying Holly a premium and they're giving her a title shot before she loses to someone else. This way Ronda can beat another undefeated fighter. I don't think Holly is ready for a title shot and I'm surprised that her trainer Mike Winklejohn would go along with this. So why did the UFC do this? For one thing, there is something to be said about a surprise getting an extraordinary amount of media attention just because it's a surprise. We all expected Miesha Tate to get the title shot and then they pulled this out. I don't think Miesha knows yet because she lives on the West Coast. Her management Kevin Harvick Inc. didn't know until this morning. Also, the fan reaction to Miesha getting another title shot was lukewarm at best. "Oh no, not again!" I thought she earned the title shot with four straight wins when other fighters in the division haven't stepped up. She overperformed when other fighters including Holly Holm have underperformed. So is Miesha Tate now a gatekeeper at 135lb.? If she is, maybe it's time for her to think about launching a women's 125lb division in the UFC. Look, I know Miesha wants another shot at Ronda but she may not get one now. It might be time for her to go in another direction. Dropping to 125 is something I expected Miesha to do at some point anyway. Maybe now is the time.

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