A fight’s a fight, and anything can happen in a fight. Punchers have chances, people slip into submissions, and freak injuries occur at the slightest provocation. With all of that considered, how indeed can Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm hope to dethrone current UFC bantamweight champion and undefeated MMA phenom “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 this Saturday night in Melbourne? There are two ways.
Every fight starts on the feet, and Holm has the best credentials out of all of Rousey’s opponents. She’s a multiple-time boxing champion, and when she transitioned to MMA, her striking expanded, as she notched several head kick KOs on the regional circuit.
Holm will need to utilize a stiff jab every time Rousey tries to close the distance and clinch. Holly will also need to employ good footwork. If she can continuously cut angles and circle away from Rousey, it will make it that much harder for Ronda to use her judo. On that same note, Holly needs to avoid going straight backwards and remain off the cage. The second she runs out of room to move, Ronda will bull rush in, and that never results in a good time for Rousey’s opponents (see almost every previous fight).
If Holm lands body shots to bring Ronda’s hands down, that head kick she employs could give the champ fits. Naked kicks without any set up are too dangerous, though, and if they are too telegraphed, expect Ronda to catch them, clinch with Holly and send her tumbling to the mat.
This doesn’t mean run out of the gate and throw a flying WTF, like Cat Zingano did. Holm needs to look for unique options that Rousey’s past opponents haven’t had. Holly is one of the taller opponents Ronda has faced, certainly the tallest in the UFC, and she ties Cat Zangano for longest reach advantage at 70 inches to Ronda’s 66. Her jab will be key, but there are other opportunities for her. Holm trains under noted savant, Greg Jackson, so his advanced strategy systems will be at play. Along with striking coach Mike Winklejohn, both are fans of the oblique kick. Frequently targeting the opponent’s knee, the oblique kick is both good to keep a fighter at a distance and if some fighters are to be believed, is extremely damaging to the joints of the knee.
Another option for Holm is to go completely beyond the expected. Throw a tiger at Rousey. It’s not a weapon, so, strictly speaking, the unified rules of MMA don’t explicitly ban jungle cats inside the octagon. That’s the quickest path to victory for Holm, as the methods listed above are going to take time to set up and pay off dividends.
Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm challenges “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey for the undisputed UFC bantamweight title in the main-event of UFC 193, live from Melbourne, Australia on Saturday, Nov. 14, exclusively on pay-per-view.