Freelance: UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey Preview
Almost instantly after Amanda “Lioness” Nunes found out that she would essentially be the prop for the comeback of “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, Rousey opened as the heavy betting favorite (-180 to Nunes’ +170). Why? Well, this is By The Numbers, so you’re about to find out.
As mentioned in similar articles for BTN and 590 AM KFNS’ InsideSTL.com, Rousey has 12 finishes and a total career fight time (including her amateur experience) of just “27 minutes and 11 seconds over 15 fights.” Six of them were title fights (a possible total title fight time of two and a half hours.) Her entire career is barely over the length of one title fight.
Now, onto the ultimate question: Who has the edge?
Strikes landed per minute are almost identical between both women with accuracy dead-even at 52 percent. Nunes, however, is a stand-up fighter with nine KO/TKOs having been her not-so-secret secret to success. Rousey’s perceived overconfidence in her striking led to her downfall against Holly Holm. Nunes leads her challenger with fewer strikes absorbed per minute at 2.81 to 3.36 along with a 49 percent to 44 percent edge in striking defense.
The new champion is so confident that she is telling the media, “I think she has the right to fight for the belt – not only once, but twice. I’ll beat her and give her a rematch right after that if she wants.”
“Ronda has all the holes,” Nunes said to MMAJunkie.com. “In her striking, in her ground game, and even her timing. The longer the fight goes, she loses her timing – and that’s where I grow. Every time she loses a position that she gets countered, through time her level drops. So all of this – I’m going to take advantage of that. I’m going to take advantage of all of her mistakes and try to finish the fight as soon as possible.”
Nunes is better in the specific ground discipline of jiu-jitsu but might not have the speed there to be a real threat. It’s somewhat arguable as to who has more pressure on their shoulders: The returning crossover celebrity or the rare underdog champion making her first defense. Either way, it is not foreseeable that this contest will go to the judges.
Title-fight Conditioning: Rousey
Grappling: Even (Rousey in judo, Nunes in jiu-jitsu)
Experience: Nunes (13-4, amateur unknown), Success/Experience: Rousey (12-1)
Finish (Rounds 1-3)
Decision (although not likely): Rousey
Stats: Sherdog/ FightMetric