The women of the UFC take center stage on Saturday when bantamweight champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey takes on number one contender “Alpha” Cat Zingano in the main event of UFC 184 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Promoted to Main Event
The UFC women’s bantamweight title bout between Rousey and Zingano was promoted to main event status following the withdrawal of UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman from his scheduled title defense against Brazilian challenger Vitor Belfort due to injury. That bout was originally scheduled for UFC 175 last May but Belfort had to beg off from the fight in the wake of the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s ban on Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) starting in February of 2014.
Now for the second time in as many tries, that title bout has been postponed. Luckily, the UFC had its biggest superstar booked in the undercard and for only the second time in the history of the sport, a women’s bout will headline a UFC PPV event.
UFC’s Biggest Star
Since arriving in 2013, Ronda Rousey has taken the UFC by storm. The former 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in Judo became the first woman to headline a UFC card at UFC 157 when she fought Liz Carmouche in the first ever women’s fight in UFC history. After submitting Carmouche via her vaunted armbar in the very first round, Rousey has gone on to win three more bouts via stoppage and has improved her record to 10-0 with 2 knockouts and 8 submissions.
Her dominant reign as the first UFC women’s bantamweight title has cemented her superstar status and has made her the new face of women’s MMA, replacing the retired Gina Carano. At UFC 184, she has the opportunity not only to enhance her legacy in women’s MMA but to become one of the UFC’s Pound for Pound best fighters-man or woman.
The Biggest Challenge
While Rousey has been virtually unstoppable in the Octagon, Cat Zingano is expected to become her biggest challenge to date. The former Ring of Fire and Fight to Win women’s 135-pound champion is the UFC’s #1 ranked challenger since 2013. Zingano was scheduled to face Rousey after beating Meisha Tate at the TUF 17 finale, but she suffered a knee injury which sidelined her for a long period of time. Personal tragedy struck Zingano in January 2014 when her husband Mauricio committed suicide. After almost one and a half year of hiatus, Zingano finally returned to the Octagon at UFC 178 where she defeated Amanda Nunes via 3rd round TKO to seal a date with Ronda Rousey.
Who Takes It?
The current betting tips say that Rousey is a -1350 odds on favorite to beat Zingano who is a +800 underdog. But make no mistake about it because Alpha Cat is a live opponent for Rowdy Ronda because she is one of the few true finishers whom Rousey has ever been matched up against. Like Rousey, Zingano is undefeated in nine bouts with eight stoppages: five by knockout and three by submission. If she can avoid getting pinned down by Rousey early in the fight, Zingano can test Rousey’s chin with her own punching power in a striking match.
Zingano is also very good in the clinch, utilizing powerful knees and elbows. She has good submission skills and has a very good ground and pound game. With these strengths, she will be the first challenger to have an answer to Ronda’s judo throws. However, the women’s game has been all Ronda Rousey so far. No woman has ever gone the full route with her and Zingano will likely be taken to the ground, beaten up and submitted by the dominant Rousey.