UFC Women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will make the seventh defense of her title against former boxing world champion Holly Holm at UFC 195 on January 2, 2016.

Pulled the Rug

The announcement came as a surprise after UFC President Dana White said last month that Rousey would be defending her title against nemesis Miesha Tate, who hacked out an impressive unanimous decision win over Jessica Eye last July. Tate is credited as being the only opponent to last more than one round with Rousey, taking the champion to the third round in their rematch at UFC 168 before getting submitted via armbar. Rousey also submitted Tate during their first encounter during the last Strikeforce bantamweight title bout in 2012. The Miesha Tate-Jessica Eye bout was supposed to be a #1 contender bout with the winner supposedly ending up as the challenger to the winner of Rousey-Correia. But the UFC pulled the rug from under Tate, and surprised many be announcing Holm as Rousey’s next challenger.

Best Female Striker in MMA

Rousey also announced the bout in an appearance at Good Morning America last Friday. She called Holm as the “most decorated stiker” in MMA and considered Holm as her “biggest challenge” to date. Holm is a former world champion boxer and was the Ring’s Female Fighter of the Year in 2005 and 2006. After having fought professionally for 13 years, Holm retired from boxing in 2013 to focus on MMA. She was signed by the UFC last year and has been 2-0 in the Octagon with decision wins over Raquel Pennington and Marion Reneau. Holm also won a kickboxing title in 2001, winning the IKF welterweight championship.

A Challenge, Finally?

While Rousey has been the most dominant champion the sport has ever seen, male or female, striking is one of the last aspects of the sport she has learned and mastered. Ronda is 12-0 with 12 stoppages but 9 of those have been by her signature armbar submission.  On the other hand, Holm Is 9-0 in her young MMA career and has six knockouts. Her experience as world champion in both boxing and kickboxing is a challenge Ronda Rousey hasn’t faced before. She will be the best striker Ronda Rousey will have ever faced in her MMA career but still, the betting odds disagree.

Rousey’s last three bouts have lasted a total of one minute and four seconds. This included the quickest recorded finish in UFC championship history during her 14-second submission of Cat Zingano at UFC 189. Overall, only Miesha Tate has lasted more than a round with Rousey. With this kind of dominance, Rousey opened as a minus 1450 favorite to beat Holm who is pegged as a plus 950 underdog. Had the UFC put Tate instead of Holm, Rousey would similarly have been a massive favorite a minus 1200.  With the wide margin, Rousey has been given a 93.55% probability of winning again.

*photo credit – mmajunkie.com

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