Preview And Predictions – UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm

Ronda Joanna

After forty-somethings Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort closed out last weekend’s MMA action it’s up to the new breed of stars to shine this weekend with both female UFC titles up for grabs as UFC 193 goes down at the 70,000 capacity Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.

Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm – Main Event

After Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit fell off of this card and was rescheduled for next year it was left for the face of the UFC, Ronda Rousey, to step in and save the day against long discussed opponent Holly Holm. A former Olympic judo bronze medalist, Rousey has shot to fame by winning the Strikeforce belt, convincing Dana White to bring women to the UFC, whooping everyone with eas eonce it happened and moving on to become a Hollywood star in a whirlwind few years. Holm, on the other hand, has had an equally long, but less glamorous, road to a UFC championship fight. The Mike Winklejohn/Greg Jackson trained southpaw is a former multiple time world boxing champion who has gone about a sometimes-impressive-sometimes–disappointing nine-fight unbeaten mixed martial arts career with a sole view to facing Rousey.

And that, in a nutshell, is the difference between this fight and almost all of Rousey’s previous affairs. Against Holm, Rousey is facing a lifetime athlete and not someone who took up the (still establishing itself) sport for fitness or happened to fall into competition. That, firstly, will take away somewhat of the mystique of being superior (even if it’s still true) and also means Holm have an awareness of her need for a lot of caution within a gameplan. In her previous UFC fights Holm has arguably been overly cautious but that could stand to her here and might have even been the use of the Rousey-gameplan before the big day.

The number one rule when fighting Ronda Rousey is to stay out of her grasp and if anyone in the division currently has the traits to do that, it’s Holm. She is a master of keeping opponents out of distance, throwing punches and kicks from range and not getting hit herself. Against Rousey, though, it’s a whole different level and very tough plan for because of her extremely forward pushing unorthodox approach. The champion only knows how to fight one way and that’s out of the gate like a greyhound chasing a hare. Against Holm, that should be even escalated because Rousey will know that’s exactly what she needs to do.

For me, this fight will go two or three rounds and see Rousey having herself questioned, if not tested, for the first time ever. I think Holm will avoid her early to survive and they’ll box a bit after that but eventually Rousey will cut that out and revert to type. And although this will be different from any Rousey fight ever I think the odds are it finishes exactly like most of them: judo throw and armbar.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valarie Letourneau: Co-Main Event

If the main event is a meeting of two athletes destined to clash, the co-main is somewhat of a thrown-together title fight as strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk defends her strap against Canadian Valarie Letourneau with number one contender Claudia Gadelha still recovering from her latest injury.

In this weight-class, the newest in the UFC, it’s pretty unusual to be too shocked by a title challenger because, let’s face it, it could be anyone. Yet it was still met with a gasp when Letourneau, a two-fight veteran of the division in the UFC, was handed the opportunity.

As a fighter, though, she is probably more talented than almost every other challenger. Her boxing is very good when she jabs and counters with power, her takedowns are nifty and come a lot from trips when her opponent is dazed while on a the ground she has dominant top-control, lands some nice ground and pound and is a good passer.

The only problem is that, on Saturday night, she comes up against someone who is just better. Letourneau is at her best when countering with power strikes but unfortunately for her Jedrzejczyk is a much better technical striker and has much more power. Her defence is also better than anything Letourneau has faced and she’ll be able to expose holes on the return while also stopping takedowns like she has in the past against (the best wrestler in the division) Carla Esparza.

With the power of Letourneau she certainly has a puncher’s chance here but I wouldn’t give her anymore than that. This will almost certainly be another Jedrzejczyk finish and it probably won’t produce the first fourth round in women’s UFC history.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

When the UFC visits foreign markets it tends to scatter home-country fighters all over the card and even though this one is going down in a stadium it’s no different with Australian fighters, who at the elite are few and far between, all throughout. Now that doesn’t make for the best of undercards but what it does do is give us a couple of interesting match-ups around the top including the middleweight clash of Robert Whittaker and Uriah Hall which came together after Hall highlight reel KOd Gegard Mousasi, and Michael Bisping was forced out of this fight with Whittaker through injury. What it leaves us with is two athletic, striking, borderline contenders looking to take that next step forward. An epic shoot-out should follow.

Speaking of epic shoot-outs Saturday night also has the rematch of one of the best ever as Mark Hunt and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva do it for the second time after their draw in 2013 produced an all-time classic. Unfortunately, that fight was marred somewhat in the aftermath as Bigfoot, who had a testosterone replacement therapy exemption, failed a doping test for elevated levels of testosterone and was later banned. Now, with TRT exemptions a thing of the past, Hunt rightly comes into Saturday night as a big favourite. Like the first fight I’d expect this one to be fought out mostly on the feet but I’d be surprised if it went the distance. Both men have diminished significantly since the first meeting but with the big left hand of Hunt and the questionable chin of Silva you could still be in for a big-time KO come Saturday.


Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm – Holm keeps her distance but is eventually caught, thrown and submitted by Ronda
Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Valérie Létourneau – Heavy knockout for Joanna champion
Mark Hunt vs. Antônio Silva – Hunt lands the big left hook KO
Robert Whittaker vs. Uriah Hall – Should be good, fancy a Whittaker decision
Stefan Struve vs. Jared Rosholt – Struve wins a tired decision

Jake Matthews vs. Akbarh Arreola – Matthews
Kyle Noke vs. Peter Sobotta – Noke
Anthony Perosh vs. Gian Villante – Villante
Richie Vaculik vs. Danny Martinez – Martinez

Dan Kelly vs. Steve Montgomery – Montgomery
Richard Walsh vs. Steve Kennedy – Walsh
James Moontasri vs. Anton Zafir – Zafir
Ben Nguyen vs. Ryan Benoit – Benoit


Fight Pass Prelims – 11.15am on

Prelims – 1am on BT Sport 2

Main Card – 3am on BT Sport 2


This week I’m going for a 10/3 shot of Robert Whittaker via decision

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

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: