Holly Holm KO’s Ronda Rousey to win women’s bantamweight title

No one is unbeatable in mixed martial arts. Not even Ronda Rousey.

Former world boxing champion Holly Holm (10-0) scored the biggest upset in the sport’s history Sunday, knocking out Rousey (12-1) with a left head kick in the second round to claim the bantamweight championship fight at UFC 193 inside Etihad Stadium.

The fight, the first UFC event ever held in Melbourne, drew 56,214 fans and broke the promotion’s previous attendance record of 55,724 set at UFC 129 on April 30, 2011.

The shocking result came 59 seconds into the second round, after Rousey already had been stunned several times by Holm’s left hands. After Rousey ducked in desperately for a clinch, Holm broke off at an angle and landed a clean left head kick to the jawline that rendered Rousey unconscious. Referee Herb Dean stepped in immediately, as Rousey fell limp, arms extended, to the canvas.

UFC president  said Rousey was taken to a hospital after the fight because she suffered a knockout and to treat facial cuts. White said that Rousey was “devastated,” but OK physically.

Rousey did not attend the postfight news conference.

“I don’t know, I’m trying to take it all in. This is crazy!” Holm said. “Getting in here, I just felt so much support — I thought, ‘How can I not do this with all this support?’ I had the best coaching, from standup to grappling to wrestling.

In a stunning defeat, Holly Holm knocks out Ronda Rousey to win the UFC women’s bantamweight title. Joshua Stebbings for ESPN

“I have to say, everything we worked on presented itself in the fight. Every grab she tried to get, on the cage — I have not spent this much time in the gym before any fight in my life.”

A former Olympic medalist in judo, Rousey was clearly willing to trade punches with Holm. She opened the fight throwing left hooks and straight rights and didn’t attempt her first takedown until nearly two minutes into the first round.

Holm handled Rousey’s boxing pressure beautifully. She started to find a home for the straight left early and went back to it time and again. Rousey’s face was reddened within the first exchanges and her striking defense went out the window as she became obsessed with keeping a high pace on Holm. Holm calmly circled away from the pressure and avoided eating a big shot. She allowed Rousey to graze her with a few right hands, but never appeared fazed by any of them.

Midway through the round, Rousey managed to drag Holm to the ground but did not do so with the same authority she traditionally has. The two fell awkwardly to the mat, where Rousey transitioned to her go-to armbar. Holm was never in serious danger, however, as she cleared the arm and quickly got back to her feet.

Facing real adversity for arguably the first time in her MMA career, Rousey’s response was more pressure in the second round. She stalked forward with her hands down, however, and nearly fell over after throwing a wild, ineffective haymaker. Holm remained patient through it all.

Holm, who trains out of Jackson-Winkeljohn in Albuquerque, New Mexico, becomes the second female bantamweight champion in UFC history, halting Rousey’s run of six consecutive title defenses. It is the seventh knockout win of Holm’s MMA career and is her quickest finish.

“A rematch makes a lot of sense,” White said. “I think the rematch is what people will want to see. It changes a lot of things — Cyborg (Cris Justino) fight, some other stuff we were working on. It’s one of those moments, these are the moments in fighting that make it so crazy and so fun. Tonight was one of those moments.”

source: espn.com by Brett Okamoto,

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