Week in MMA & Boxing #17
MMA & Boxing News From the week of
November 14 - November 20, 2015
Rousey Gets Knocked Out
In what will go down as the single most memorable UFC fight in history, Ronda Rousey was not only defeated, but systematically destroyed by a fighter and a coaching staff that had spent years preparing for that night.
Once the fight started, it was the matador and the bull. Rousey charged after Holm, who continually danced away. Holm peppered her with shots and Rousey was bleeding. Rousey got tired quickly, and seemed to panic. She had trouble getting the clinch, and when she did, Holm escaped from it. When she couldn't Holm used her years of wrestling training that was part of the beat Rousey game plan to avoid being thrown. When she was thrown, she used her years of drilling armbar escapes to avoid what had been inevitable in all of Rousey's previous fights. Soon, Rousey was tired and couldn't throw her any longer, and in a straight kickboxing match, she was facing someone with 18 years of training and 50 professional fights fought standing, as opposed to someone who had spent maybe a few minutes of her entire career standing in a fight.
Rousey was tired and lunging for a wild and desperation knockout. She threw a punch so hard and that missed so badly that she lost her balance and fell downWhen she got up, Holm landed a Peter Aerts style high kick to the neck and jaw, and Rousey collapsed.
She left the ring before doing an interview. She was in the fetal position, crying hysterically, in the dressing room. Finally, they got her to go to the hospital, since she was needing plastic surgery for her lip that was split in two. When she flew home and landed in Los Angeles, she was hiding her face and wouldn't say a word.
To her credit, Holm became the first athlete to score a rare double of being a world champion in both boxing and UFC. Smith was a world champion in kickboxing who years later, in 1997, became UFC heavyweight champion.
Rousey, who had an aura of invincibility, will have to refocus and reinvent herself if she's going to even have a chance to win a rematch, which UFC wants for 7/9, at UFC 200. It will be the biggest fight in UFC history. It will also be, from a financial standpoint, by leaps and bounds, the most future revenue ever on the line based on the result of a fight. A Rousey win will only make the loss humanizing to her. At worst, she'll remain the same level star, and more likely she'll become an even bigger star. But a second loss, and her drawing power will drop greatly. And at that point, there's a very good chance she'll be done fighting given her outside opportunities.
Sports Betting Numbers
Holm's win was the biggest title match upset, based on the odds, in UFC history. A few days before the fight, the odds topped 22-to-1, although dropped down to 14-to-1 the day of the fight and as low as 7-to-1 in some places come fight time.
The sports books took a bath. Even though previous Rousey fights had done big PPV numbers, her fights never had a lot of betting.It ended up, by far, being the most bet on MMA fight of all-time. And it was the biggest loss, by far, for Las Vegas, on any fight in history. One sports book noted that the biggest losing fight in history was when Manny Pacquiao, as an underdog, beat Oscar De La Hoya, but because Pacquiao's fan base was so fervent, they overwhelmed the casinos with bets on their side. But that book said the Rousey-Holm losses were triple that.
Early PPV Numbers
Early PPV numbers were tremendous, with the confrontation at the weigh-ins leading to a late explosion of interest. It's way too early to have a definitive number, but the early signs are that this will be the biggest number of the year, and among the biggest in the history of the company. A few added keys are that's just North American numbers. The show was expected to break all PPV records in Australia, due to the hype. The replay buys are expected to be record setting. There are no actual figures that back that up, other than intuition, but it would be hard to believe that's not the case. And it's a lock the rematch will do significantly bigger.
The numbers that are out are impressive enough. The show at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium drew 56,214 fans paying $9,530,000 Australian ($6.76 million U.S., so it would be the fourth biggest gate in history in U.S. dollars). The attendance broke the UFC's all-time record of 55,724 (but not the gate record of $12,075,000) set at UFC 129 on April 30, 2011, at Rogers Centre in Toronto for the Georges St-Pierre vs. Jake Shields welterweight title match.
Under any circumstances, the very suggestion that it would be possible for a show headlined by two women fights to draw more than 50,000 fans live and 1 million buys on PPV would be laughed at two years ago.
The 11/21 PPV show headlined by Canelo Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto is a major sign of the future of boxing. If the show does as well as promoters are predicting, or even close, than any panic that boxing is dead in the U.S. after Mayweather/Pacquiao is over. But if the biggest matchup not involving the two biggest names doesn't do at least relatively strong numbers, and doesn't attract significant general public interest, boxing going forward is going to sputter. Boxing hasn't had a big PPV since the record-setting Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight. Mayweather vs. Andre Berto did a shockingly low number, said to be well under 550,000 buys. The last major PPV, with Gennady Golovkin's debut on PPV against David Lemieux on 10/12, did 150,000 buys. With the Mexico vs. Puerto Rico backdrop, promoters are predicting 1.5 million to 2 million buys. If it even comes close, and Alvarez wins (the key because Cotto is on his way out and Alvarez is expected to be the new big PPV star with his strong appeal to the Mexican-American fan base), they'll have a new superstar with the needed big money drawing power.
UFC Fight Night
This week's show is 11/21, the company's debut at Arena Monterrey in Mexico. It's interesting that they are going with a two hour main card and four hours total on FS 1 instead of the usual three hour main card and five hours total. The show starts at 6:45 p.m. on Fight Pass with the two finals of TUF Latin America, plus Valmir Lazaro vs. Michel Prazeras.
The FS 1 show starts at 8 p.m. with Gabriel Benitez vs. Andre Fili, Scott Jorgensen vs. Alejandro Perez, Hector Urbina vs. Bartosz Fabiniski, Taylor Lapilus vs. Erik Perez (which shows how far his star has fallen that he's not on the main card for a show in Mexico), Henry Cejudo vs. Jussier Formiga (which is really the most important fight on the show since Cejudo will likely get a title shot at Demetrious Johnson with a win), Efrain Escudero vs. Leandro Silva, Ricardo Lamas vs. Diego Sanchez (Sanchez will become one of the rare fighters, and the only other one I can think of is Kenny Florian, to have competed in four different weight classes in UFC, starting at 185, then 170, then 155 and now 145) and the main event is Kelvin Gastelum vs. Neil Magny.
Silva vs Vitor
UFC is looking at doing an Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort rematch, which really makes sense as a marquee match, likely for the 3/5 show in Rio de Janeiro.
Benson Leaving UFC?
Benson Henderson is going to let his contract expire and test free agency. I believe his 11/28 fight in Seoul, South Korea, will be the last or is nearing the end of his contract. Thiago Alves pulled out of that main event with a broken rib and Henderson will now be facing Jorge Masvidal to headline. Because Henderson is partially Korean (his mother is Korean), he was the key to the main event.