Here we are, just a couple days away from the last UFC event of the year. The 207 card looks like it’s going to be a great one, and I’m pretty stoked that WSOF’s event falls on NYE, so I’ll be able to enjoy both events.
The main event here, #RondaRousey vs. #AmandaNunes is such an intriguing bout, and their styles are matched really well. Both are very aggressive, and both can be opportunistic with their opponent’s mistakes. This is the fight everybody has been waiting for, so it’s the one I’ve selected to break down for you all.
The champ needs to control the distance, and she cannot get aggressive and come in too fast. When she fought against Shevchenko, she kept the distance really well, but that was because Shevchenko is a great striker herself. This time, she has to control the distance because she doesn’t want to be in a clinch with Rousey.
Nunes likes to throw single kicks—you know what I think of those; don’t throw them, especially against somebody whose ground game is superior to yours. Yes, I know, Nunes has a black belt in BJJ and has high-level judo, but, to my knowledge, she never competed in those sports, and if she did, it wasn’t at the highest level like Rousey.
Shevchenko came very close a few times with a connecting strike when Nunes threw a single kick, so Rousey might take that opportunity to clinch and take her down.
Additionally, Ronda could also counter those single kicks with strikes. Many people still say that Rousey has no stand-up skills, but I think her striking technique is actually really good (watch the Brazilian open workout with her).
Then again, that workout was on focus mitts or on the heavy bag, which doesn’t mean that she’s automatically good in an actual fight, but the technique is there, and she throws hard strikes, meaning a big right hand at the moment Nunes throws a single kick could be a problem.
Be calm and stay just outside Rousey’s reach at all times. Don’t throw single kicks; just set them up or throw with power to the head, since Rousey has to block that kick first and counter, which will buy Nunes some time to get out of there.
What I liked in the Holm fight with Rousey, is that Holm lifted Rousey up as soon as Rousey went for a hip or shoulder throw. If Nunes can’t avoid the clinch, and Rousey goes for a throw, she should do the same, as it will lift her legs from the ground, nullifying her ability to throw anything effective.
Rousey needs to be patient in the beginning of the fight and use good footwork; let Nunes attack and move backwards and to the side. If she does that for a minute or two (which is a long time by fight standards), Nunes might start to get frustrated and overcommit to her striking by running in too fast. Use that moment to look for the clinch.
Rousey needs to wait for single kick attacks so she can step in with a right straight to the head. Once that happens, she should immediately start looking for the clinch.
She needs to be quick with her judo throws, too. I wouldn’t throw a knee or elbow first, I would go for a throw right away, otherwise Nunes might find a spot where she can break the clinch and get away.
As I mentioned, Ronda has great power in her hands. Please don’t think that because of the Holm fight, she has no stand up skills. She just got hit in that fight by Holm and never recovered from it. From there, it all went downhill, since she was never put in that situation before.
Nunes has the faster footwork, and the only way to deal with that is move backwards when she attacks. Amanda likes to throw right straights to the body, so once Rousey figures out her movement and reach, a counter left hook would be a great thing to try after stepping aside and making Nunes miss that signature right hand to the body.
Early in the fight, I would counter the low kicks from Nunes (just take them, don’t even check them) with a right straight. When she connects, that will shut the low kicks down from Amanda, and she’ll find there is a clinch opportunity right after.
Once they hit the ground, well, I don’t need to tell Rousey what she needs to do there, so I would simply say: ‘Take it from here,’ haha.
This is a tough fight to call. We don’t know Rousey’s mental state at this moment and we can only find that out on the day of the fight. In the past, we have seen many greats who looked unstoppable, but then they got KO’d and never come back from it. If she can simply shake it off and find a clinch, I believe Ronda will win by submission.
If Nunes connects with hard strikes, doesn’t get careless, stays at the correct distance and avoids the clinch, she might stop Rousey.
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