Friday, December 30, 2016

Nunes vs. Rousey: my pick

For those who don't follow the UFC in particular or MMA in general, tonight is one of the more intriguing fight cards of the year, because it features the return, after more than a year away from the octagon, of Ronda Rousey, the former women's bantamweight champion.  Undefeated until she lost her belt to Holly Holm in November of 2015, Rousey was arguably the most popular figure in MMA and a fighter who a lot of people, including myself, thought would retire undefeated.  Instead, Holm perfectly executed a game plan that exposed flaws in Rousey's strategy and ultimately knocked out the former champ.

The big question tonight is, is Rousey back, or will the current champion, Amanda Nunes, capitalize on those same flaws and hand Rousey her second loss?

The oddsmakers slightly favor Rousey, but not by much.

In online articles, other MMA fighters and analysts seem to give Nunes the nod.

My head tells me Nunes.  My heart votes for Rousey, a character I've long liked.

To force myself to go on record with a pick, I'm writing and posting this entry before the fights start and saying that I'm going with my heart and picking Rousey.

I'll report back after the fights with what really happened.

My reasoning in this selection goes like this:  Nunes has the power and the skill and the coaches to execute the same type of game plan as Holm and beat Rousey.  What Nunes lacks, I believe, is the self-discipline that Holm possessed.  Nunes loves to charge ahead and whale at people.  I believe personality will win out over planning and Nunes will go straight at Rousey.  If she does, I think Rousey is likely to last long enough to get her hands and hips on Nunes, and at that point, I believe it'll be all Rousey.

So, I'm choosing Rousey to win.

Note that nowhere did I say I thought Rousey had improved her striking--attack and defense--because I don't believe she has.  She has the same bad coach as before, so I expect her to come in with no better striking than before.

We'll know in six or so hours.

While I'm in the prediction business, I'll say that I believe the other championship fight will go to the current champ, Dominick Cruz, over the undefeated contender, Cody Garbrandt.  Garbrandt has the power to knock out Cruz, but I don't believe he'll get to land any power shots on the elusive champ.

I'll let you know on this one, too.

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