Picks and Preview – UFC 190: Rousey vs. Correia

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After the blood and thunder of UFC 189, it’s off to Brazil for the next Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view event as the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro hosts UFC 190.

In the main event, for the first time ever, the UFC women’s bantamweight title will be defended outside of American shores as champion Ronda Rousey takes on Brazilian challenger Bethe Correia over five rounds with plenty of bad blood between the pair.

Correia, as an undefeated 9-0 fighter, would have always been on the championship radar in what is a fairly shallow division but a prolonged period of calling out, and beating, teammates of Rousey really put her name in the spotlight. A debuting split decision victory over Julie Kedzie in late 2013 followed by wins over “horsewomen” Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler, in the end, were enough to earn her a shot at the gold.


For Rousey, it’s business as usual in the UFC as, after entering the promotion as a 6-0 Strikeforce champion, she puts her title on the line for the fifth time having already taken out messrs Carmouche, Tate, McMann, Davis and Zingano.

As a 2008 Olympic games bronze medal winner for Judo, Ronda Rousey won most of those aforementioned MMA fights with her fantastic throws, mesmerizing scrambles and slick submissions. Having won nine of her eleven outings thus far with an armbar, that is obviously her go-to move; but in recent fights she has improved her all around game to become an extremely well rounded MMA technician. As a striker, Rousey now also has another way to win fights with her newly acquired rapid hands, body work and power shots which make her the most formidable champion in MMA today.

Correia, on the other hand, doesn’t have nearly the same well-rounded game. What she does have, though, is an extremely tenacious nature and some useful, improving skills. Her best attribute is undoubtedly her boxing. On the feet Bethe has hard leg kicks, cutting short elbows and a nice jab which she follows up with straight shots on the inside. In her UFC career to date, most of her best work has taken place against the fence with her fast dirty boxing causing plenty of problems for opponents. On the ground Correia, as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt, is somewhat of a novice but she has shown good submission defence which will need to be on point on Saturday.

As a match-up, there is no sugar coating how much of a mismatch this really is. Wherever the fight goes, it is likely that Rousey will win. In the striking, Rousey is longer, technically better, more aggressive and hits harder. If they get close, Correia will be powerless to stop Rousey from throwing her on her head, while on the ground Rousey has arguably the biggest advantage of all and should waste no time in getting the position. For Correia, the most important thing is to take her time early, try to establish a distance and stay out of Rousey’s grasp before landing with a power shot which alters the fight. That, though, won’t happen. This will, almost certainly, be another first round win for Rousey.

Outside of the headliner, the main card is littered with old-school Brazilian veterans, none more so than those in the co-main event as legends “Little Nog” Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and fellow Brazilian Mauricio “Shogun” Rua rematch (which you can watch below) their 2005 battle. As former stand-outs in both PRIDE and the UFC, in 2015, both Rua and Nogueira still have the aura of greats around the sport but aren’t what they used to be inside the fighting arena. A former UFC light-heavyweight champion, Rua has wins over the likes of Lyoto Machida, Chuck Liddell and Alistair Overeem but is currently 1-4 and hanging onto his career. Nogueira, who is 2-3 in his last five, might not be in as dire a spot as Rua after wins against Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans, although a devastating loss after 17 months out of the cage in his last outing against Anthony Johnson had many people calling for him to hang up the gloves.

As a fight, this one won’t be what it was ten years ago, but should be a fun, if slightly depressing, exchange between gritty, true pioneers of the sport. Shogun, as a hard hitting, muay-thai specialist, will be trying to get the finish here early and often. For Nogueira, distance will be a big issue on the feet while on the ground he should have the advantage if it goes there. Although Shogun has been losing lately and deteriorating physically, one thing that has looked good is his boxing. Against Nogueira, who will trade with him in the pocket, I think that could see him through.

Outside of that, the older Nogueira brother is also featured as Rodrigo returns from a 15 month absence to take on Stefan Struve in what, to many people, is a fight too far for a former PRIDE and UFC heavyweight champion who was brutally knocked out by Roy Nelson in April of last year. Struve, too, has demons to battle after badly losing to Alistair Overeem in his return from a heart problem but you’d have to think, if he is back to himself in any meaningful way, Struve should be winning this pretty handily.

Rounding out the main card more heavyweights are in action as Bigfoot Silva takes on Soa Palelei while possibly the best fight of the night kicks the PPV section off as former World Series of Fighting strawweight champion Jessica Aguilar takes on Claudia Gadelha in a fight to determine the next challenger for Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s 115 lbs strap.

FIGHT PICKS

Ronda Rousey vs. Bethe Correia – Rousey inside of a minute
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Mauricio Rua – Better boxing wins Shogun the decision
Fernando Bruno vs. Glaico Franca – Franca
Dileno Lopes vs. Reginaldo Vieira – Lopes
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Stefan Struve – Struve gets on top and finishes the legend
Soa Palelei vs. Antonio Silva – Soa gets on the mount and finishes it
Jessica Aguilar vs. Claudia Gadelha – Gadelha wins a close decision

Neil Magny vs. Demian Maia – Magny takes the decision
Rafael Cavalcante vs. Patrick Cummins – Cummins gets takedowns and the decison
Warlley Alves vs. Nordine Taleb – Alves decision
Iuri Alcantara vs. Leandro Issa – Alcantara submission

Clint Hester vs. Vitor Miranda – Hester KO
Guido Cannetti vs. Hugo Viana – Viana decision

BET OF THE WEEK

This week I’m going for a 6/4 double of Palelei and Struve

START TIMES

Early Prelims – 12am on Fight Pass

Prelims – 1am on BT Sport 2

Main Card – 3am on BT Sport 2

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma