The most dominant athlete on the planet got dominated. The nearly unthinkable happened: Ronda Rousey was beat up by Holly Holm and lost her UFC title.
In arguably the biggest upset in the history of the sport, Rousey (12-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) was knocked out by Holm (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) 59 seconds into the second round. Rousey was as much as a 20-1 favorite leading into the fight.
The women’s bantamweight title bout was the main event of today’s UFC 193 event at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.
“I’m trying to take it in, but it’s crazy,” Holm said. “Getting in here, I had so much love and support. I felt like, how can I not do this with all that love. I had the best coaching, from standup to grappling to wrestling.
“Everything that we worked on presented itself in the fight. I haven’t spent this much time in the gym in my life. Everything we worked on happened tonight.”
Rousey started on the outside and threw a left jab against the former boxer. Then she moved inside and tried to put a combination on the challenger. Holm cut her angles and landed a right, but Rousey tried to track her down. Holm dance on the outside, then landed a stiff right hand against the champ, then a right cross. But Rousey landed a left while chasing her down, then a right hand seconds later.
Seventy-five seconds in, Rousey got in close and the two clinched up – which is ROusey’s judo wheelhouse. But Holm broke loose and caught Rousey with a kick on the break. Holm landed a step-in left hand, but then got taken down by Rousey. The crowd buzzed, anticipating the patented Rousey armbar. But Holm got out and the fight went back to the feet.
Holm started working front kicks to Rousey’s legs, and Rousey tried to take Holm’s arm on the feet. She broke it, though, and again Holm landed a stiff punch – then another. And another. Rousey started showing the effects of Holm’s consistent boxing. And then inexplicably, Holm took Rousey down – then wisely went right back to her feet. Rousey looked exhausted with 30 seconds left in the round, and bleeding from her mouth took a deep breath.
Holm tried to start the second round the same as the first, and she found more success in the standup game. Then Holm landed a side kick and just kept on coming. Rousey shot in for a punch and Holm ducked under it as Rousey fell to a knee. And then, amazingly, Holm dropped Rousey with a punch, then followed it with a kick to the head. Rousey fell to the canvas and Holm dropped bombs on her until referee Herb Dean shut it down – with the crowd stunned to a buzz.
The end came 59 seconds into the second round. Holm became the first athlete in combat sports history to hold a world boxing title as well as an MMA title.
The stunning upset almost certainly sets up an instant rematch for Rousey, who broke into the mainstream in the last year bigger than any fighter in MMA history.