History was made in 14 seconds last night when women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey capitalized on an over-aggressive Cat Zingano’s mistakes for a quick straight armbar. Zingano opened the fight with a charging knee that went nowhere. Having lost most of her leverage in the process, it was easy for Rousey, the experienced judoka, to toss her and quickly take the back of the challenger. It took one wrong move for Rousey to become the champ with the quickest championship win in UFC history, crushing her old record by two seconds. Rousey has finished her last three opponents in 1:36 total, an amazing feat at the championship level.
And that’s part of the problem. Right now the women’s 135 division is neatly divided between Ronda Rousey and everyone else. Many considered Zingano to be the last credible threat in the division. Aside from her Miesha Tate, who she has defeated twice, she has beaten the other top four fighters in the division, Davis, McMann, Kaufman, and Zingano, without even leaving the first round (2:30). That’s insane. Rousey is a dominant champion to be sure, but her dominance also creates a lack of depth in the division. It’s reminiscent of the days when they ran out of guys to throw at Anderson Silva at middleweight so they let him punch James Irvin’s face a couple of times. Holly Holm may be the next contender that can be molded into a credible threat, but that’s a good 2-3 fights away. In the meantime, Rousey will likely continue building her legacy with whomever she faces next.
As for the rest of the card, a few months ago UFC 184 looked like the most stacked of the first three events of the year. 184 was once an event that hosted the recent Frank Mir vs. Antonio Silva and the relocated Ronaldo Souza vs. Yoel Romero and Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort fights, but though it lost considerable steam due to dropping top name fights, the event is proof that UFC booking can still put together a solid pay-per-view if they have enough time and the right people ready. Pennington vs. Holm was moved from the prelims to the co-main event, a puzzling move that actually worked well. And though Ellenberger vs. Koscheck seemed terrible on paper, it was jizz-inducing to see one of the most hated people in the sport squirming around in a choke like a dying catfish on land.
Tim Means and Roan Carneiro were the two big stars of the undercard. Means defeated TUF finalist Dhiego Lima quickly in the first via a vicious TKO. Means caught Lima with some stiff shots early in the first that quickly sent him into recovery mode. Means maintained controlled pressure as he backed Lima against the c age before landing a vicious left hook that sent Lima reeling. The next shots put Lima down and sent referee Herb Dean in to stop the fight. Carneiro made similar quick work of Mark Munoz. Carneiro dragged Munoz to the canvas via a front headlock and from there Munoz was in Carneiro’s world. The BJJ master quickly made his way to Munoz’s back and slapped on a tight rear naked choke. Munoz was out for longer than necessary as the referee finally stepped in with a cringe-inducing late stop.
Ronda Rousey, Jake Ellenberger, Tony Ferguson, and Tim Means took home performance of the night bonuses for their wins. The biggest victories at UFC 184 came from the welterweight division as Ellenberger will likely move up a couple of spots and Tim Means looked like a killer. Roan Carneiro looked great and should provide an interesting ground assault addition to a middleweight division full of hard hitters. The card had a more positive overall feel than some of the recent pay-per-views despite its heavy emphasis on filling dead air time by pushing future fights. We don’t know how 184 sold commercially, but it was their most exciting and best packaged pay-per-view of 2015, and that’s impressive considering the number of fights that were lost. We’ll see if they can continue the streak with 185 in two weeks. See you then.