The UFC has been on a hot streak lately. UFC 189 delivered some of the highest level action that we’ve seen in years, and their last UFC on Fox effort captured 2.29 million viewers. They’re hoping to continue this momentum into UFC 190 with a feature bout between Ronda Rousey and Brazilian rival Bethe Correia. Going into UFC 168 just a year and a half ago, Rousey and her seminal rival Miesha Tate were co-headlining. Much of the conversation at the time revolved around whether Ronda was strong enough to be able to carry a card like that on her own. Now there’s little doubt left. In terms of mainstream exposure, Rousey is the organization’s biggest draw, and if you watched any of the promos for this event you could easily believe that she is the only person competing.
190 may not have the same star power as some of the UFC’s recent efforts, but they’ve managed to create a solid looking card with some intriguing match-ups including two heavyweight bouts and a women’s strawweight bout likely to set up the next contender for divisional champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. It also plays host to the finals for the fourth season of TUF Brazil.
The co-main is a light heavyweight rematch to their 2005 Pride battle between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Both fighters have seen their fair share of wars in the Octagon with a combined total of 69 fights. Though their last contest won Fight of the Year honors from Sherdog, ten additional years of wear and tear now separates them. Still, both competitors are old warriors that die hard and should put on an entertaining contest for both hardcore fans of the sport and newer audiences tuning in for Rousey. It’s an interesting choice for the co-main event slot in that these guys are very old school, whereas the main event slot is characterized by the youth and energy of its dominant champion.
A newly buffed up Rousey will be taking on undefeated Bethe Correia in a match specifically requested by the women’s bantamweight champ. Correia has been calling out Rousey ever since her promotional debut. She punctuated the statement by defeating two of Rousey’s closest friends in the UFC, Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler. The rivalry intensified in the months leading to this match after Correia made a statement to Combate in which she claimed that she hoped Rousey didn’t commit suicide after losing her belt. Rousey lost her father to suicide as a young age and was particularly offended by the remark and looks to silence not just Correia but anyone interested in using her family as a means to a title shot.
Weigh-In Video and Results
- Ronda Rousey (135) vs. Bethe Correia (134)
- Mauricio Rua (206) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (206)
- Glaico Franca Moreira (156) vs. Fernando Bruno (155)
- Dileno Lopes (135) vs. Reginaldo Vieira (135)
- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (240) vs. Stefan Struve (265)
- Antonio Silva (265) vs. Soa Palelei (264)
- Claudia Gadelha (116) vs. Jessica Aguilar (116)
- Demian Maia (171) vs. Neil Magny (171)
- Rafael Cavalcante (205) vs. Patrick Cummins (206)
- Warlley Alves (171) vs. Nordine Taleb (171)
- Iuri Alcantara (136) vs. Leandro Issa (136)
- Vitor Miranda (186) vs. Clint Hester (186)
- Hugo Viana (136) vs. Guido Cannetti (135)
Fight Previews and Predictions
Claudia Gadelha vs. Jessica Aguilar
Jessica Aguilar is a debuting strawweight who many considered to be the best of the best in the women’s strawweight division prior to her recent signing with the UFC. Aguilar has competed in Bellator and most recently World Series of Fighting and amassed 19 wins to 4 losses. She’s two for three in a trilogy against Angela Magana and has wins over former UFC strawweight champ Carla Esparza as well as Megumi Fuji and Lisa Ellis.
She’s facing off against Claudia Gadelha, the one competitor who has come close to defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Jedrzejczyk was one judge away from losing her UFC debut fight against Gadelha, and the contender is looking for another shot in this eliminator match. Prior to this loss, Gadelha was undefeated at 12 wins straight.
Aguilar has heavy hands and does a great job of utilizing both slams and the cage wall to get her opponent down. From there she utilizes a fantastic BJJ game mixed with ground and pound to improve her position and eventually work for a submission. She has fantastic submission skills with 7 of her 19 wins coming by some form of choke or armbar. She captured and defended the WSOF strawweight title three times during her tenure there.
Gadelha is no slouch on the canvas either. As a three time BJJ world champion and seven time Brazilian Nationals champ, she poses a tough threat. She has wins over the two most recent Invicta FC title holders, former champ Herica Tiburcio and current champ Ayaka Hamasaki.
Both fighters are similarly suited in the same areas so it’s more a question of who can provide the most pressure when it counts. Aguilar has yet to be tested at this level so it’s hard to say with certainty that she will be able to outperform Gadelha on the ground. The fight could easily be decided simply by who ends up on top or who is able to land the most on the exchanges. Gadelha has faced better competition, but Aguilar has been more decisive in her wins and never really faced someone who can compete against her strongest areas. It’s a coin flip, but we’re going with Aguilar here.
Prediction: Jessica Aguilar wins via decision.
Antonio Silva vs. Soa Palelei
Antonio Silva and Soa Palelei is a battle between a guy who almost exclusively gets knocked out versus a guy who almost exclusively knocks people out. Silva has been put in some brutal wars in the past few years. Two battles against Cain Velasquez, a fight of the year candidate against Mark Hunt, and back to back first round KO losses from Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir have taken their toll on Bigfoot. The heavyweight can’t absorb the damage that he used to, but he still goes out in awesome and spectacular ways.
He’s facing Soa Palelei, a contender quietly making his way up the heavyweight ranks on some of the smaller Fight Night cards. Palelei debuted at UFC 164 and has so far won 4 of his 5 UFC contests. Palelei has the rather insane distinction of winning 22 fights without any of them including a decision. His 2014 loss against Jared Rosholt is currently the only decision on his record.
We’ve seen Palelei get winded after the first round. Silva usually has better conditioning, so the longer Bigfoot survives the better his chances become of winning. However, Palelei has hands like ACME anvils and Silva has been showing less and less of an ability to absorb the kind of beating that Palelei can deliver for long.
Prediction: Soa Palelei wins by first round TKO.
Mauricio Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
They say that nothing is certain in mixed martial arts, but even in a world where Andrei Arlovski is knocking on the door of a UFC heavyweight title shot, it’s hard to picture either Mauricio Rua or Antonio Rogerio Nogueira launching the kind of career renaissance that leads to title implications. Shogun hasn’t had two consecutive wins since 2009. Nogueira’s had a brief resurgence between 2011 and 2013 when he defeated Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans, but injuries left him shelved throughout. Neither fighter can be considered a gatekeeper at this point. Even the gatekeepers have beaten them. Though it’s a low stakes battle, legacy battles between old Pride vets are a rare treat.
Both men are standup artists. You won’t be seeing any takedowns and likely very little if any BJJ, though both are capable BJJ artists. Nogueira is a boxer and Rua is more of a muay thai striker. Despite being knocked out rather quickly by Anthony Johnson, Little Nog still possesses a granite chin and has been more proficient with his striking than Shogun has in his last several outings. For roughly three years the question for a Shogun fight was whether the killer of old would show up or whether we would be watching an out of shape Rua get crushed. For 4 of his last 5 fights it was the latter. Shogun hasn’t caught a break since 2012 outside of a KO of the year over James Te Huna. Shogun still has the punching power to break his opponents, but will he be able to slip between the footwork and hands of Nogueira to land the KO punch? I’m thinking yes.
Prediction: Mauricio Rua wins by third round TKO.
Ronda Rousey vs. Bethe Correia
This is a squash match, at least on paper. Though Ronda still has holes in her game, she’s still at the top of the female food chain by a wide margin. Correia is undefeated at 9-0, but so far her 3 opponents in the UFC have a combined record of 1-7. The rest of her opponents have been lower tier fighters from the independent Brazilian circuits. She’s finished two of her opponents.
Correia trains with the Pitbull brothers Patricio and Patricky, two Bellator standouts. Her successful use of boxing largely helped guide her to the UFC . She does a good job of cutting off the cage and lands combos, counters, and flurries, a strategy that has helped her get through fighters with longer reach. Correia is successful in the clinch, but the clinch is Rousey’s bread and butter. It’s unlikely that she’ll be able to escape Ronda forever.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey wins by first round submission.