UFC 207: 8 Reasons Why Ronda Rousey Will Beat Amanda Nunes
The return of UFC living legend Ronda Rousey is about as hyped as a sporting event can get. Add a worthy competitor in women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and a title fight at Madison Square Garden, and this hype simply can’t be contained.
It’s even crazier when you factor in Rousey’s last fight, which was her first loss of her career. Rousey was shaken, physically, mentally and emotionally and it’s taken here over a year to work her way back to the Octagon:
This is for all of you who have been by my side. I know who you are. See you December 30th.http://t.co/qz3QoT834u #FearTheReturn #ufc207 pic.twitter.com/ozkHQddjCR
— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) December 8, 2016
Rousey was arguably exposed in a lot of ways during that 2015 fight. Her flawed striking ability was no match for a champion kickboxer in Holly Holm and here rash of first round victories expired and visibly sent her into a daze.
For whatever reason, Rousey the champion disintegrated before our very eyes. Holm dismantled her, knocked her out cold and ultimately defeated her by completely her apart at the core of her weaknesses.
Of course, one could argue Rousey allowed it to happen. A ridiculously famous and high-in-demand star like Rousey was burning the candle at both ends. She was shooting commercials, planning movies, doing appearances – all while never saying “no” to a title defense.
That’s something she successfully did – defending her title – five straight times. The schedule, the weight, the expectations – the grind – it all got to be too much and it all came down on Rousey at once.
Maybe she underestimated Holm. Maybe she thought she could beat her at her game and stand up and strike with her. It sure looked like all of those things happened, and for a likely tired and absolutely cocky Rousey, it was the last straw.
But with that first loss, the old Rousey, in a lot of ways, died. She now returns with a type of vengeance we’ve never seen out of her – one she never needed. That run for redemption, that need to prove to everyone and even to herself, that she’s still the best – that is going to be a driving force unlike any she’s ever had. And for a fighter as nasty and dominant as Rousey was, that might be something Amanda Nunes wants to worry about.
1. Well Rested
Ronda Rousey, for once, isn’t coming into a UFC fight on short rest. She’s not sweating to break weight, she’s not worrying about any surprises from her opponent and she’s not going to be physically or mentally worn down.
You could argue she’ll also be rusty or crumbles under the pressure of such a huge title fight, but she certainly will be fresh and ready to hit the Octagon.
With rest and time comes better focus for Rousey, as well. Rousey’s last few matches were strung together, but this one will come over a year since she last took a beating. She’s taken that time to get her bearings straight, while she’s also known for a while now that she’d be facing Nunes.
Rousey is dialed in as can be, as she wants the title and she wants to prove she still has it. Nunes is merely an obstacle in her way. She’s beaten fighters like her in the past and she’s surely taken the time to prepare the way she needs to in order to make sure to does so again at UFC 207.
3. Perfect Matchup
Many people look at a dangerous striker like Nunes and see it as a matchup problem for Rousey, who isn’t an elite striker. However, that’s an odd notion, considering Rousey made a career out of taking down superior strikers and beating them via her elite ground game.
Outside of Holm, Rousey has dispatched many talented strikers, namely Cat Zingano and Sarah Kaufman (10 career KOs) and she’s done so by luring them into her famous Armbar submission move.
Nunes has some game on the mat, too, but she’s not nearly as gifted as Rousey when it comes to that facet of her MMA skill-set. The play here for Rousey will be to simply pick her spot, allow Nunes to be the aggressor and ultimately get her to tap out. On paper, as long as Rousey can remain poised and defend against Nunes’ attacks, it’s a winning formula.
Rousey hasn’t had to adapt much in her career, but after getting housed by Holly Holm, we better prepare for a new and improved Rousey. With an entire year to improve her fighting arsenal, we’re probably getting a better striker, a better defender and an even more dangerous floor game.
Rousey was on an absolute tear, dominating the women’s bantamweight division and defending her title at breakneck speed. That all hit a wall, but due to her immense success, Rousey was never really forced to question her skills, her flaws or her approach to fights.
With a new perspective to lean on, Rousey can be a little more patient, be more aware of her surroundings and never again underestimate a talented fighter. That should have her entering UFC 207 willing to fight to a Decision if it comes to it, while not making it easy for Nunes to become just the second ever fighter ever to knock her out.
5. Wasted Competition
Rousey has never faced off with the vicious Nunes, but she has beaten three of the four UFC fighters that have taken Nunes down. That could be damaging evidence against Nunes, as Nunes has succumbed to Cat Zingano, Alexis Davis and Sarah D’Alelio – all of which Rousey took out with her coined Armbar.
It’s never wise to simply go off opponents wins/losses, but the fact that Nunes slipped up against these lesser fighters could be telling. It’s in Nunes’ nature, after all, as she is a very aggressive striker that can sometimes overplay her hand. That’s led to four career losses, with one ending via submission and two others via knockout.
6. Ground Game Advantage
We’ve touched on it, but it’s a reason on it’s own for Ronda Rousey to win at UFC 207 – she’s far and away the superior canvas artist. Rousey seeks out the Armbar like few can, as she’s pulled off the vicious submission technique in a variety of ways, both as a counter move and as an attack move.
The best part is Rousey isn’t a terrible striker. If he opts to, she can still win this fight standing up. However, it’s not going to be her preferred (or best) path to winning, and she knows it. Instead, she’ll go back to the basics and what really made her the dominant fighter she is today.
That is undoubtedly going to be her unmatched floor game.
7. She Wants Holm
There is always going to be danger in looking past an opponent, but Rousey wants Holm in the worst way. The only way to get a rematch with Holm and have it really matter is to first take out Nunes and get back the title she lost to Holm. That will regain confidence Rousey needs and also set up a handful of potentially massive title defenses.
The biggest one is going to be versus Holm, and it might be the next big fight once Rousey takes care of business at UFC 207. Rousey won’t be looking past this fight, of course, but rather through it. With that Holm rematch on the brain, Rousey will be fueled to take down Nunes, knowing it’s part of the necessary equation that leads to total redemption.
8. Vegas Says So
Even if you don’t buy our reasoning for a Ronda Rousey win, just look to Vegas. The oddsmakers are coming out in support early, giving Rousey the edge over Nunes.
It makes sense, too, as Rousey is the superior ground fighter, she’s beaten people Nunes has lost to and she has far more riding on this fight.
Rousey vs. Nunes Prediction
If you couldn’t tell, we like Rousey (-175 favorite at Bovada) to beat Nunes (+145). It’s a pretty tight fight when you look at the odds, and it’s fair to wonder if Rousey can handle Nunes’ physical, attacking fighting style.
Fair, but ultimately foolish. For all the discussed reasons and more, UFC 207 is about not just the return of Ronda Rousey, but the return of a champion and the path that follows.
Rousey isn’t coming back to be battered by Nunes. She’s coming back to prove she’s still the best women’s fighter in the UFC. After she takes down Nunes, her journey may not last a whole lot longer. She’s publicly labeled this bout with Nunes as one of her “last fights”. Perhaps then we’ll see a rematch with Holm and/or that highly anticipated super fight with Cyborg.
Whatever comes next with Rousey, none of it will surprise us. In fact, the only thing at this point that would be shocking is a Rousey loss on December 30th.
In fact, we don’t even think it will be as close as Vegas suggests. Rousey is as determined and focused as ever and she’s going to be out to prove emphatically with this win that she’s still the best:
Ronda Rousey responds to Amanda Nunes saying she will finish her in the first roundhttp://t.co/lr3ZcThnrC#UFC #UFC207 pic.twitter.com/eYh20nmYKD
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) December 8, 2016
Rousey says she’ll finish Nunes in round one, and we tend to agree.