Newspaper article International New York Times

Aura of Invincibility Is Shattered ; Rousey's Defeat in U.F.C. Stuns Fighting World, Just like with Tyson's First Loss

Newspaper article International New York Times

Aura of Invincibility Is Shattered ; Rousey's Defeat in U.F.C. Stuns Fighting World, Just like with Tyson's First Loss

Article excerpt

Holly Holm stunned the mixed martial arts world over the weekend by knocking out Ronda Rousey, who had dominated her sport, in the second round of their U.F.C. fight.

It was Ronda Rousey's Buster Douglas moment. Those who watched it were stunned. Those who read about it the next morning did a double take. And more than a few people were wondering where it leaves her career.

In 1990, Mike Tyson was also unbeaten and had the same aura of invincibility as Rousey. Like her, he put opponents away rapidly and with ease. But on Feb. 10 in Tokyo, he faced the little-known Douglas as a 40-1 favorite and was knocked out in one of sports' biggest upsets.

The result of Rousey's fight on Sunday in Melbourne, Australia, was just as shocking. Holly Holm, ranked just eighth in their weight class and underwhelming in her two previous Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts, knocked Rousey out in the second round.

Rousey started the fight on the attack, perhaps looking for another quick win. But she found herself chasing Holm around the Octagon, all the time taking hard punches and kicks. She struggled to get Holm on the ground, thanks in part to Holm's superior reach. Even when Rousey began to apply her signature armbar, Holm eluded it and continued the barrage. A nasty kick to the head finished Rousey off.

Rousey was taken to a hospital to be checked after the fight and did not make a postfight statement. But in a brief post on Instagram on Monday, she wrote, "I'm going to take a little bit of time, but I'll be back."

Like Douglas, who held his own for 10 rounds with Tyson, Holm did not win on a fluky blow. She was the comfortable winner of the first round.

Andrew Richardson, the analyst for SB Nation, wrote: "Holm fought perfectly. She circled away from Rousey's bull rushes expertly and repeatedly countered while doing so, which frustrated Rousey and caused her to fade quickly. Even when Rousey did slow down, Holm remained composed and picked her opportunities."

Holm, 34, was 33-2-3 as a boxer, holding W.B.A., W.B.C. and numerous other titles. She then moved into mixed martial arts, where her record improved to 10-0 with the Rousey win. …

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