Amanda Nunes (+160) vs Ronda Rousey (-185)
The highly anticipated return of Ronday Rousey (12-1) is finally on the horizon. The former bantamweight champ will try to reclaim her erstwhile title at UFC 207 (December 30, 2016, at T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas), taking on current champ Amanda Nunes (13-4).
Rousey was shocked by Holly Holm back at UFC 193 (November 2015) and hasn’t set foot in the octagon since. She was arguably the most dominant athlete in the sports world during her reign, rarely letting opponents escape the first round. Indeed, her last four wins took all of 130 seconds … combined.
Rousey is particularly dominant once she gets the fight to the mat, ending nine of her 13 career fights by armbar. She doesn’t need much time to put it on, either. It took her just 14 seconds to strap an armbar on Cat Zingano and make her tap at UFC 184.
Nunes earned the bantamweight belt by submitting Miesha Tate via rear-naked choke at UFC 200. It was her fourth straight win and it ran her UFC record to a solid 6-1. Like Rousey, when she wins, it tends to be quick; ten of her 17 wins have come in the first round.
Despite being Brazilian (and having a decent BJJ game), Nunes grew up practicing karate and is more of a striker, as evidenced by her nine KO wins (versus three submissions).
At 28 years of age, she’s one year junior to Rousey, but has a lot more in-ring experience. She also has a one-inch reach advantage, but that likely won’t be enough to keep the challenger at bay. Rousey loves to rush her opponent, taking the fight to the ground as quickly as possible and then leaning on her superior strength and grappling ability.
Nunes hasn’t been submitted since her first career fight back in 2008, but Rousey is – or at least was – on another level from all the other women in the division when it comes to grappling. As long as her heart is in it and she’s motivated to reclaim her title, I see Rousey getting the belt back with a first-round stoppage.
Pick: Ronda Rousey (-185).
Photo credit: zuko1312 (Flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/].
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