Now that MMA fans have had two days to accept Holly Holm’s shocking knockout victory over Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, it’s time to play Monday morning quarterback.
What the heck happened? How does someone who was as high as a 20-1 odds-on favorite made to look like she didn’t belong in the same cage as Holm?
Well, before we get to the highlight reel finish, here’s a detailed blow-by-blow breakdown of how the biggest upset in UFC history came to fruition.
Herb Dean is the third man inside the cage.
Holm puts both fists up, but Rousey refuses to touch gloves and backpedals to her corner – much to Lady Gaga’s dismay.
Rousey doesn’t charge the center of the cage like she has in recent fights, leading Holm to believe that she’s willing to patiently wait for openings.
Holm takes the center of the octagon for a brief moment.
Holm gives up the center of the ring to circle the outside. It was clear this was her gameplan from the jump.
Great footwork by Holm early, constantly on the move, primarily to her left.
Holm tags her with a solid left at 4:33 mark to land the first significant strike from either bantamweight.
Holm just throwing her long right jab out there, more to keep Rousey at bay than to inflict damage.
Rousey already getting impatient and is starting to recklessly run after Holm just 36 seconds in.
Rousey throws a one-two combo, connecting with the right at the end.
Holm lands her first oblique kick to Rousey’s lead leg. It’s a controversial technique she likely learned from teammate Jon Jones, who has been criticized heavily for the perfectly legal strike but nobody made mention when Holm used it on multiple occasions. This is a significant weapon in this fight because it keeps Rousey guessing, it does damage and it’s placed low enough where Rousey can’t catch it and score a takedown.
Holm clocks her in the mouth with a big left hand, immediately followed by a right.
Left hook to the side of Rousey’s dome.
Rousey getting sloppy with her punches, missing on a one-two combo. Holm seems to see these telegraphed punches coming from a mile away.
Rousey nails her with a right hand.
After an awkward exchange, they end up clinching. Rousey has her pressed against the cage and lands a knee to the midsection. Holm working some uppercuts in the clinch. Holm manages to push Rousey away. Rousey comes charging right back and eats a right that forced her off balance. Holm then lands a kick to the face. That was really close to being an illegal kick because it appeared as though Rousey’s hands could have still been on the mat.
Rousey hits her with a right hook.
As Rousey continues to hunt her down, Holm changes up the timing by landing a standing elbow right in the grill. That was the hardest strike scored by either fighter thus far.
Rousey eats it and is able to get a hold of Holm. She appears to be done with this standup nonsense and attempts to Judo toss Holm to the canvas. Holm fends off the throw, but is taken down on her side. They land awkwardly, Rousey upside down and Holm in the fetal position, with Holm’s right arm in jeopardy. Holm gets loose and misses with two punches on the way up. Rousey connects with a right as they get to their feet.
That sequence was significant because it was believed that if Rousey wanted to test her hands against the former boxer and wasn’t successful, she would simply divert to her bread and butter and rip Holm’s arm off. Not being able to do that had to have effected her confidence, on top of getting picked apart in the standup game.
Holm lands another oblique kick.
Holm does such a good job with movement and keeping her range.
Another oblique kick for Holm.
Rousey catches Holm’s hand and lands two uppercuts.
Straight right by Holm.
Rousey eats another straight left, this one whipped Rousey’s head back.
Thank you, Holly, can I have another straight left?
Holm’s movement vs. Rousey’s: Holm goes side-to-side, moving her head the entire time. Rousey is straight forward keeping her head locked in place for the taking.
Another straight left by Holm. That’s four big unanswered straight lefts for the 10-1 underdog.
Rousey is getting frustrated and is badly chasing.
Holm’s mouthpiece falls out and Dean brings a slight break to the action so Holm can reinsert. Watching live, I thought that was bad timing for Holm since she had all the momentum and Rousey was clearly flustered. One minute to go.
Holm continues to circle the outside. She lands a big leg kick to the lead leg that nearly swept Rousey off her feet.
Holm gets a body lock and slams Rousey to the ground. Holm sent a message there. She obviously doesn’t want to go to the floor with Rousey, but let the champ know that she will not be overpowered.
Holm wisely gets out of Rousey’s full-guard and lets her back up.
Rousey chasing wildly, missing with a barrage of punches. That was about as sloppy and desperate as it comes.
Rousey takes two deep breaths. Her chin is sticking straight up, fully exposed, at this point.
They trade knees to the stomach in the clinch, two apiece.
Rousey lands a left hook just after the horn blares.
“Beautiful,” is the first word Rousey’s coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, said as Rousey wandered back to the corner. “Champ, beautiful work.” He tells Rousey that all Holm wants to do is land the left, so feint and keep both hands up.
“Beautiful work”? What fight is he watching?
The camera pans to Holm’s corner and coach Greg Jackson says, “She’s going to get a little more desperate, so keep your eye on it.” Striking coach John Winkeljohn whispers something in her ear.
How does Rousey respond to losing the first round of her professional career? Not well.
Much of the same to start the second period, Rousey takes the center of the cage and Holm is happy to circle on the outside.
Rousey is lunging on her punches and coming up with air. Holm counters with a one-two combo.
Holm nails her with a side kick to the neck-area.
Holm follows up with another left hand.
Perhaps the most embarrassing moment in the fight for Rosuey: She loads up on a left hook, Holm quickly ducks away and Rousey clumsily stumbles to the ground. I thought Holm had the fight won at this point because Rousey was clearly not in her league.
Holm stays on the outside of the cage, circling to her left. She connects with a left that wobbles Rousey to the mat. Rousey’s back is turned to Holm as she gets up so she has no clue she’s about to get posterized. Holm unleashes a headkick that lands right on Rousey’s neck. Rousey drops like a sack of potatoes and her head bounces off the canvas. Holm goes in for the kill, dropping a big right, then two hammer fists before Dean brings the assault to an end.
Result: Holly Holm Defeats Ronda Rousey via KO (Strikes) at :59 in the 2ndRound (Holm captures UFC bantamweight title)
Holm banks an extra $100,000 ($50K for Fight of the Night and $50K for Performance of the Night) to go along with her new jewelry.
UFC president Dana White rushes back to his dressing room to cry hysterically because his cash cow just went down. Just kidding. Maybe…
White said an immediate rematch “makes sense.”