Hey out there, fight fans. Enjoying the Holiday Season?
It’s the 26th of December, which means it’s Boxing Day for a lot of us.
I know some of you, particularly our American readers, may not celebrate Boxing Day. (For that matter, some of you are reading this in Guam, or somewhere else where it’s already the 27th of December!)
So, for those who don’t know, Boxing Day is a traditional holiday in the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth. Several explanations for its name exist, but none that I’ve encountered have anything to do with the great sport of pugilism. It’s a “bank holiday,” it’s a day to shop, it’s a day with family — but traditionally, it hasn’t had much of anything to do with folks punching each other. (At least, that wouldn’t seem to be the ideal. Days with family can get rough…)
I’m breaking the mold a little today: celebrating Boxing Day — by putting some thought into two folks who will likely be punching each other this weekend, at UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2.
Why? Sure, boxing will probably play into the main event of Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman. Silva’s jab, head movement, and footwork would get him both in and out of trouble in their first bout. Weidman’s punching power would end the champion’s reign that night. It could happen in Saturday’s rematch, too.
But what about the co-main event, where Miesha Tate challenges Ronda Rousey for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship?
Since we spent a moment yesterday pondering what would happen to Miesha Tate should she be on the losing side, today let’s look at the opposite scenario. What could happen… if Tate should beat the odds?
If Tate does score the victory on Saturday, I think boxing will play a central role.
Yes, the odds are long. Rousey is as much as a (-1100) favorite Saturday. But one good punch can change everything. As Duke Roufus, a former kickboxing standout who is now one of MMA’s top striking coaches, said in preparation for GLORY 13 last week:
Striking is a very chaotic art. I could grapple all day for the next five years and I could never submit our BJJ instructor, Daniel Wanderley. It’s the same thing with wrestling. I would never be able to pin Askren. In striking anyone can knock anyone out. I’d have to hit Askren with a shovel to pin him. I’d have to roofie Daniel to get a submission on him. That’s the weird thing about striking. It’s very dangerous.
If you recall the first bout between Tate and Rousey, you may remember Tate winning the early striking exchange. A spectacular video was posted earlier this year from BJJ Scout, which broke down Rousey’s MMA career. Specifically, it shows how boxing — coming behind a good jab and circling away from Rousey — could play into a successful strategy against her:
It’s not that hard to imagine Tate jabbing just a bit better, moving just a bit more fluidly, shaking Rousey up and getting a stoppage win. Not for me, anyway.
So, what would happen next? We saw Rousey sulk her way through a difficult experience on The Ulitmate Fighter Season 18. How Rousey will react to her first defeat is something I can only hope won’t derail this great athlete. She’s certainly bounced back from defeat in her judo career, could it eventually make her stronger to lose on Saturday?
One thing it wouldn’t be, is a happy day (Boxing or otherwise) for Rousey. But it would be a night to remember.
What do you think? Let us know in comments, and as always, enjoy the fights!