Ronda Rousey challenges Amanda Nunes for the UFC women’s bantamweight title at the main event of UFC 207 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on December 30th. The Return is going to be a sight to see.

The Return

Fans have long waited for Ronda Rousey to return and she couldn’t have picked a better date than the promotion’s final event for 2016. Ronda Rousey was the star of stars in the UFC, dominating one opponent after another. The former Olympic Judo bronze medalist won her first twelve bouts by stoppage and nine of them by Armbar tap out. She was on the most dominating championship reign of all-time when Holly Holm knocked her out cold on her feet last year.

Since Rousey lost the belt, it has changed hands after every title bout. Holm was choked out by Miesha Tate at UFC 196, while Take was brutally stopped by Amanda Nunes at UFC 200. Now Nunes is saying that the title belt will remain around her waist for a long time. And based on her more recent outings, she may be correct.

A Powerful Striker

Nunes is known for her punching power and exquisite striking. She averages 4.23 significant strikes landed per minute. On the other hand, Rousey isn’t far behind at 4.05 per minute. Accuracy-wise, both fighters have a similar 52% striking accuracy. The difference between the two, however, is with the strikes absorbed per minute. Rousey take 3.6 strikes per minute while Nunes is hit with just 2.81. Converted to a five round bout, that’s an estimated 13.75 significant strikes. That would be more than enough strikes for Amanda Nunes to knock you out.

On the ground, Rousey is known to be a beast with 6.43 takedowns landed per 15 minutes. Rowdy also averages 4.9 submission attempts per 15 minutes. Both numbers are pretty well better than Nunes’ stats and will be what Ronda’s going to do to beat her opponent. Taking Nunes down may not be easy. Not only is she an excellent striker, she also has an excellent 73% takedown defense. As a comparison, Holly Holm had a 77% takedown defense when she fought Ronda Rousey and the latter couldn’t take her down.

Question Marks

At her best, Ronda Rousey is one of the most dominant female mixed martial artists of her era. But it’s been over a year since she last fought inside the octagon. The last time out, she suffered a shocking loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193. Since that loss, she’s withdrawn from the limelight and has contemplated retirement and worse, suicide. She says she’s over those negative emotions now and that it’s time to get her old belt back. Getting back to dominant Ronda may not be easy. Facing an opponent who’s undoubtedly in the best stretch of her fighting career adds pressure to that. With all the question marks surrounding Rousey’s return and given Nunes’ hot streak, it’s hard not to place your bets on the plus money for Nunes.

Currently Rousey is a -160 favorite while Nunes is a surprise +140 on many books. That’s interesting, considering Ronda’s been out of circulation for over a year and Nunes has been beating top level opposition. But we know Ronda’s a popular girl so the lines aren’t unexpected at all. However, we know Nunes is going to give Rousey the fight of her life. If Ronda had all sorts of problems with a great striker like Holly Holm, she may be in for a rude awakening against Amanda Nunes. Needless to say, there is enough logic here to have me pick Amanda Nunes to win by knockout.

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