Did you bet against Ronda Rousey last night? Why? Do you just hate money that much? The women’s bantamweight champ headlined the UFC’s latest Brazilian effort and closed yet another chapter in her already storied career, this one punctuated by a 34 second knockout over Brazilian rival Bethe Correia. “PRIDE NEVER DIE” was in full effect as Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira put on a fight of the night performance, a stand and bang sequel to their 2005 fight of the year performance. We also saw two new TUF Brazil champions crowned and solidified the next challenger to women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s belt.
UFC 190 was longer than normal, but it wasn’t for the better. It’s odd to place the finals for The Ultimate Fighter on a pay-per-view broadcast, especially when it was from a regional version of the show that was only aired to most markets via UFC Fight Pass. The two finals matches should have been the headlining matches on the undercard with Demian Maia vs. Neil Magny and Patrick Cummins vs. Rafael Cavalcante being elevated to the main card. Booking the two final bouts before the co-main event dragged down what would have been an outstanding main card and instead made the event feel amateurish. Still, some interesting stories developed across several divisions as a result of last night’s event.
Glaico Franca and Reginaldo Vieira Ink UFC Contracts
I’ve honestly not watched any of TUF Brazil, so I don’t know much about the story behind these two fighters outside of what happened at UFC 190. Nobody bothered to tell Reginaldo Lopes or Dileno Lopes about pacing in their bantamweight scrap. The two went full steam ahead for much of the first round before settling down in the second and third. Vieira was more efficient and went on to win all three rounds in the eyes of two judges and two of three in the eyes of the third. Glaico Franca and Fernando Bruno put on a snoozer that ended with Franca slapping on a match-winning rear naked choke with only 14 seconds left in the fight. Congratulations to both winners and we look forward to seeing you do great things in maybe Bellator some day.
Stefan Struve and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Survive Each Other
Heavyweights Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve and Brazilian legend Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira had a collision that was both exciting to behold and sad. The longer the fight continued, the easier it became to see how the years have taken a toll on Big Nog. It was a fight that Nogueira could have solidly captured years ago, but the legend was only able to wobble his opponent, and at times when pressured by Struve he too seemed to be on the verge of collapse. Nogueira worked the cage clinch well throughout the fight, effectively cutting the reach advantage of the colossal 6’11 Dutchman, but he was unable to capitalize or do anything with it. Nogueira's first round was his best. The two were fairly even on strikes, but Struve quickly pulled away and took the lead in the second and third rounds. Nogueira attempted to get the fight to the ground 14 times throughout the fight but only succeeded once. Struve’s ability to stop the takedowns was instrumental in winning all three rounds.
During the post-fight press conference Dana White revealed that this was the last we’ll see of Big Nog in the UFC. Nogueira has now dropped his last three fights, and the UFC feels it’s time to give the 39 year old veteran the Chuck Liddell deal.
“I love Big Nog, and I think everybody loves Big Nog. He’s such a good guy. He’s respected by everybody, and he and I actually talked tonight. I’m done. I don’t want to see him fight anymore. He doesn’t disagree. He and I are going to get together, and we’re going to talk. I’m probably going to give him the Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes and Forrest Griffin deal. I’m going to bring him in and make him an employee.” - Dana White
Claudia Gadelha Earns Rematch Against Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Claudia Gadelha put on what may be the best performance of her career over newly-signed strawweight prospect Jessica Aguilar. Aguilar left World Series of Fighting where she was champ in order to pursue higher competition and the UFC belt. Her ten fight win streak was snapped by Gadelha who was more efficient at every stage of the game. Gadelha was all angles and punches against Aguilar who seemed stiff by comparison. Whereas Gadelha was fluid, moving in, landing shots, and moving out of harm’s way, Aguilar looked flat-footed and offered little head or lateral movement to make things difficult for her opponent. Gadelha ended the first two rounds with a takedown to solidify each. Aguilar found some success in the third as she finally began to open up with some hard leg kicks that visibly welted and slowed Gadelha, but she paid for it by taking more shots to a nose that had been busted and bloodied by the end of the first.
Next up for Gadelha is a rematch to a contest that some feel she won, a fight against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Gadelha met Jedrzejczyk in Jedrzejczyk’s second fight in the UFC. Jedrzejczyk won by a close split decision and has looked unstoppable since. Gadelha was impressive in her handling of Aguilar and looks to carry the momentum to a title. Aguilar will receive an opportunity to revisit her training and try again against an easier opponent. It’s a young and talented division and she shouldn’t have trouble finding a more suitable match for her next effort.
Shogun Overcomes Nogueira Once Again
Shogun and Little Nog put on rounds 4-6 in the rematch to their 2005 war. Rua’s chin has been hit or miss over the past few years, but he showed tremendous grit in this fight. Rua caught a hard left hand near the middle of the first round that sent him sprawling to the cage. Trapped against the cage and on spaghetti legs, Rua managed to survive a salvo of rocket shots from Nogueira. The fight was starting to look like the end of Dillashaw’s recent title defense, but Shogun was able to circle off of the fence, nearly buckling in the process. He was saved by a knee that in turn wobbled Nogueira.
He was able to regain control of himself and the fight for the second and third rounds. He did a much better job of dictating the fight, and he enjoyed great success landing thunderous body kicks throughout the fight. He solidly won the last two rounds for a comfortable unanimous decision. The two took home fight of the night honors.
Bloodsport V: The Rowdy One
The story behind Ronda Rousey’s fight with Bethe Correia is the Jean Claude Van Damme sequel that we’ve always wanted to see. Correia, an angry newcomer enters the division previously conquered by our hero. She defeats two of Rousey’s closest allies, one by TKO. Rousey, unable to stand aside and let this monster’s reign of terror continue, decides to settle things the only way she knows how. After Rousey accepts the challenge, Correia makes a disrespectful comment regarding Rousey’s deceased father, thus solidifying her role as a villain that you just have to hate. Fast forward through the training montage, and Rousey emerges ripped and ready for war like never before. On the eve of her greatest battle yet, the battle for honor, her mentor from which her namesake is derived passes away, so now she’s fueled by both rage AND this deep spiritual drive to succeed.
The climax was UFC 190’s main event, and it only took Rousey 34 seconds to exact revenge over her foe. Rousey likes to bait fighters, she gets them to commit to striking, and once they do, she clinches. This is how she wins every fight, and this one was no exception. Once Correia engaged, Rousey quickly got her to the cage wall. As Bethe broke away, Rousey caught her with a left hook. Forced to move back in a straight line against the cage, a dazed Correia had nowhere to escape. It only took one more punch, a solid right to the temple, to faceplant Correia directly on the Straight Outta Compton logo.
So what’s next for Rousey? Probably Miesha Tate. Again. There has been much debate on Rousey’s fighting skills - we’ve even seen debate on whether she would beat boxing champ Floyd Mayweather in a fight. One of the main criticisms levied against Rousey is that her division is weak and that she’s only able to dominate because she’s light years ahead of a division that has still yet to develop a rich roster of talent. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Outside of Miesha Tate, Cat Zingano, and Alexis Davis, you will be hard-pressed to find a fighter with credible back-to-back wins. Tate just happens to be the one that Rousey has beaten least recently. That’s not to say Tate doesn’t deserve the shot. She’s clearly the current number two in the division. It’s a hard sell though.
The only fight that people want is a battle against Invicta FC featherweight champ Christiane “Cyborg” Justino. The two have been dancing around the idea of a collision for years, but Rousey refuses to meet in the middle and UFC brass sees little reason to risk the undefeated streak of their most marketable champion unless Cyborg is able to hit the 135 mark. Cyborg attempted this late last year but was injured in training. She seemed daunted at another attempt but has since regained focus. Hopefully we’ll see Cyborg make her 135 debut later this year, and in a perfect world we’ll get the dream match at UFC 200 next year.