While there are still two more pay-per-view events to go, the card for this year’s WrestleMania is starting to take shape. Rumors and storylines on television lend credence to the matches that might transpire on Sunday, April 8 in New Orleans, LA. Let’s look at the scenarios that will officially occur on the grandest stage followed by those that are possible.
The bantamweight title clash between Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm will headline this Saturday’s UFC 193. Melbourne, Australia’s Etihad Stadium will host the event and is expected to draw over 60,000 people, the largest crowd to ever witness a UFC event.
On Saturday, UFC 190 will emanate from the HSBC Arena in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. This event will be bigger than most as the main card will be four hours with seven fights as opposed to the standard three hour show with five fights.
This might have something to do with Ronda Rousey finishing her last three opponents in 1 minute and 46 seconds combined, and many expecting her to do the same again, as she looks to defend her title against Bethe Correia.
If the main event doesn’t tickle your fancy, then fear not, this card is long on nostalgia via PRIDE Fighting Championship, including what could be a rematch for the ages. The women’s strawweight division gets a boost as arguably the divisions’ number one fighter makes her UFC debut.
There are also two protect bouts courtesy of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil and the cherry on top of this combative ice cream sundae comes in the form of a heavyweight slugfest that shouldn’t go anywhere near the distance.
While this card is short on divisional relevance, the entertainment factor, along with the continued rise of a superstar in the making, should make for an action packed evening.
I almost hate admitting this, but I have been bored with MMA as of late. The UFC’s overwhelming slate of shows has given me little cause for excitement. While I understand their business strategy is to create new stars, appealing content extends beyond simply two people fighting in a cage.
We’ve been spoiled for so long with a plethora of intriguing personalities. Gladiators like Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, and Tank Abbott introduced us this combative spectacle while warriors such as Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, BJ Penn, and Matt Hughes ushered in the sports boom period.
The new generation of fighters have evolved quite nicely, but besides Ronda Rousey, no one else has mass appeal. People want to like Jon Jones but his Ill-mannered and disingenuous personality is a turnoff. Cain Velasquez, Demetrious Johnson, and Chris Weidman seem like the type of athletes you’d want your kids to look up to. Unfortunately, they lack that larger than life persona.
UFC 181 rejuvenated my excitement for Mixed Martial Arts. The event had everything you could ask for and then some, and I wrote a column about it at What Culture.com titled 5 Things We Learned From UFC 181.
It’s seems that fate has intervened and it refuses to keep Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate apart. Cat Zingano injured her knee and will not be able to coach the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite Rousey. She is also missing out on her title shot in December, which Tate will now receive. This is an interesting development for a variety of reasons as it ties into to the sport vs. spectacle argument that has always engulfed combat sports.
UFC has a great card assembled for Saturday night on FX featuring several fights with important stakes in the divisional landscape of the sport. A highly touted heavyweight prospect is on the rebound while the women look to steal the show, again, The 17th Ultimate Fighter trophy will be given to one fighter, and a Bantamweight great looks to prove he still has what it takes.
Vince McMahon couldn’t have booked a better finish as Ronda Rousey did what a lot of debuting fighters, with a lot of press, fail to do. She lived up to the hype. Rousey’s 7-0 record brings her tally to seven armbar finishes in the first round. Liz Carmouche deserves a ton of credit after having the champion in trouble early and has no doubt increased her stock in defeat. Dana White said it best “She will get her kitchen table now.”
Ronda Rousey’s armbar is officially the first finishing move of Mixed Martial Arts. Like Ric Flair’s Figure Four Leg Lock and Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter, you know its coming and you can’t do anything about it. Unlike the worked nature of professional wrestling, Rousey can’t put all of her eggs in the armbar basket and will have to add new weapons to her arsenal. If not, it will be a bad day when someone eventually breaks her grip.
You probably didn’t know that two TUF winners and four former world champions are fighting at UFC 157. That’s because Ronda Rousey has captured the attention of anyone and everyone who even looks at mixed martial arts. Rousey is the fatal attraction of skill and beauty the UFC has been waiting for as she and Liz Carmouche, the first openly gay fighter in the sport, will headline Saturday’s card. Rousey’s Strikeforce title morphed into the UFC women’s Bantamweight championship when the company closed its doors.
Miesha Tate (12-2) vs. Ronda Rousey (4-0)
Meisha Tate will defend the Strikeforce 135 lbs championship against the undefeated Ronda Rousey. Rousey has taken female mixed martial arts by storm with her impressive submission victories and charisma. The war of words has been heated over the past three months as both women do not like each other. This is the 2nd time a female fight will headline a major MMA event.