It’s finally here, the return of Ronda Rousey! Rousey makes her return at UFC 207 this upcoming Friday, December 30th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
After the year long wait following the tragic loss to Holly Holm back in November, 2016 at UFC 193. We witnessed one of the biggest upsets in UFC history when Holly Holm knocked out Ronda Rousey with an explosive kick to the head. One of the best knockouts you will ever see in this sport and it happened to one of the greatest female fighters of all time. One of MMA’s biggest stars, Ronda Rousey, has been away from the sport ever since her loss but now this Friday we get to see her make her awaited return. She is going to be facing off against the current champion, Amanda Nunes who is headlining the main event for the bantamweight women’s championship. Alongside this event, we have the men’s bantamweight champion Dominic Cruz, defending his belt against Cody “No Love” Gardbrant in the co-main event. I am going to thoroughly breakdown the two main events in this card, so enjoy!
Amanda Nunes (C) vs. Ronda Rousey
The matchup that fans have been anxiously waiting for. We finally get to see the bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes face off against the former champion, Ronda Rousey. A very interesting matchup considering that Ronda came off a huge loss where we got to see a lot of holes in her game. More specifically, in her striking. Ronda’s striking has been questioned by many people after her awful performance against Holly Holm. It’s interesting to see what she has done to improve herself for this fight.
When it comes to striking, Amanda’s in and out movement is going to be the biggest problem for Ronda. She’s going to have to close Amanda down, close the distance and try to put her on her back. As we have seen in Ronda’s last fight with Holly Holm, that’s not something Ronda is so good at. Unless Ronda has changed her approach for this fight, she should try to stay on the outside and use her footwork to win. I do have to say that I personally don’t see that happening in this fight. Ronda may have a chance on her feet but the current champion Amanda Nunes definitely has a stronger advantage in the striking portion of this fight.
One thing we have seen over and over in all of Ronda’s fights is her excellent grappling and take down ability. Her world class Judo background is to credit for that. If Ronda is able to get a hold of Amanda through the clinch, then it may be bad news for the current champion. We have never seen anyone that was able to defend Ronda’s take downs or submissions. However, Amanda Nunes is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and has a high rate of successfully defending both take downs and submissions. In my opinion, Ronda’s grappling is too elite and I don’t believe Amanda is capable of defending Ronda’s submissions on the ground or in the clinch.
Amanda’s cardio is important to consider during this fight. This is a five-round bout and Amanda has shown weakness in her cardio during her previous fights, so that’s a big concern. Fighting in Vegas, were there is high altitude will only make things more difficult for her. Stamina throughout each round could be an issue. I would definitely favour Ronda’s cardio over Amanda’s since Ronda has fought numerous times in Vegas.
Prediction: (Winner – Ronda Rousey – 3rd Round Submission)
Dominic Cruz (C) vs. Cody Gardbrant
The pound for pound champion Dominic Cruz faces off against Cody Gardbrant for the bantamweight belt. This is a great matchup between two very exciting fighters in the division. Cody Gardbrant, who is undefeated in his MMA career, is looking to defeat the current champion Dominic Cruz in this five-round championship fight.
Cody Gardbrant is coming off impressive knockouts over the likes of Thomas Almeida, Augusto Mendes and Takeyo Mizguki; knocking all of them out in the first round. Cody Gardbrant has been on an absolute tear, knocking fighters out cold whilst the champion Dominic Cruz, has been successfully defending his belt against top contenders such as Urijah Faber and TJ Dillashaw.
One thing to look out for in this match is that Gardbrant always starts off his fights with high intensity. He is capable of knocking out anyone in the division but Dominic Cruz has proven over time that his style frustrates fighters that have high knockout power. With his unorthodox style, moving in and out of range, he lands shots from unexpected angles. On top of that, Dominic has a great chin and as we know he is very hard to hit.
Cody Gardbrant’s experience is immeasurable to Dominic’s. Dominic’s angles and straight punches are going to be too much for Cody to handle. Cody has never fought a guy like Dominic but however, Dominic has fought many opponents similar to Gardbrant. Dominic Cruz has been in many five-round fights and is spectacular in all aspects of his game. Dominic has never shown any weakness in his game and is also very well rounded. Both his wrestling and striking techniques are world-class and his unorthodox style of fighting makes it more difficult for his opponents on their feet.
If Cody is able to keep this fight at a very high tempo while staying composed on the feet then Cody may have a shot, but I do not believe Cody is capable of doing so for five rounds. Dominic Cruz has way too much experience for Cody Gardbrant and I believe that Dominic Cruz will keep his belt after Friday’s event.
Prediction: (Winner – Dominic Cruz – Decision)