The American fighter was once the queen of MMA but after two successive loss she has demonstrated that fame is of little help in the Octagon
Ronda Rouseys head was snapped back enough times in the opening moments of her return to the UFC for the crowd to see what was coming. Defeat and desperation, yes. Victory and redemption , no.
I knew if I had a chance in the beginning of the fight, if she gives me the opportunity, that I would finish her there, said Amanda Nunes, who battered Rousey on Friday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to retain the UFC bantamweight title for the first time.
Forty-eight seconds after the opening buzzer, Rouseys night and perhaps her career had been objective by 27 strikes that contorted the former champs face in awful styles. This was the worst case scenario for Rousey, whose record now stands at 12 -2. An all-hands-on-deck moment met with a meek response, the kind of performance that we dont see from great competitors.
Many of the 18,533 spectators at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, a record attendance for an MMA event in Nevada, ran wild when Rousey stepped on to the floor wearing her familiar glare. Opposing is a gritty, emotional exert in which statistics often entail nothing. But prior to Fridays bout, one dread figure loomed for the challenger.
Nunes, a boxer/ puncher with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, had averaged as many strikes per round as any fighter scheduled to compete at UFC 207, while Rousey, the deposed queen of MMA, had been hit the most. Bad numbers for anyone, let alone a fighter inducing her first appearance in the Octagon since Holly Holm crushed her with strikes 13 months ago. The gap couldnt be ignored, and one of the major questions surrounding Rousey in the lead-up to her return centered on whether or not she could manage being punched again.
She could not.
For months there was speculation that she had been significantly altered by the loss to Holm. The elation of producing dominant fast victories was go, replaced by the harsh reality that comes with experiencing what its like to lose by having a shin slammed into your neck. So Rousey did the only thing she could to deal with what happened. She tried to disappear, a tactic that included sequestering herself from fans and media during fight week.
Rouseys bubble did not serve her well in the end, Nunes said. By skipping the normal traditions of fighting week, Rousey generated tension and sparked topics where there werent any. She may have sought to alleviate stress by avoiding it, but that rarely works, particularly when the pressure is about to beturned up. And that was exactly what Nunes had in intellect as she unloaded heavy punches in Rouseys direction from the start of the fight.
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