Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis: Full Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Rousey continued her undefeated career by destroying fellow Olympic medalist Sara McMann in just 66 seconds at UFC 170. She returns for her second trip to the Octagon in 2014 for her fourth title defense.
Davis has been selected to stand opposite Rousey because No. 1-ranked contender Cat Zingano is still on the shelf. Davis has five consecutive victories to her credit, with three of those coming inside the UFC's cage. Now she gets the chance to shock the world.
Rousey will face her second jiu-jitsu black belt in this fight, but will it be different from the first? Can Davis take home gold and deliver a seismic shock to the division? We will find out this Saturday.
Let's begin the breakdown of this women's bantamweight championship tilt.
Davis loves to scrap, and she has shown off her improved striking in recent fights.
She did well in her stand-up exchanges against Jessica Eye and dominated Liz Carmouche with leg kicks.
However, Rousey is a different beast inside the cage.
The champ has been working on her striking, and while many have lauded her improvements in the gym, there was a question of whether it would translate to the cage.
In her last bout, she silenced some critics by delivering a pinpoint knee to drop McMann.
We still have not seen Rousey in a full-on stand-up battle, and while there are still doubters, I am not one of them.
Her hands are solid, and her power is generated through technique. Davis may need to keep the fight standing, but I do not believe it will prove fruitful.
Rousey gets the nod.
This is Rousey's game. Period.
The only woman in the division who can match her grappling is McMann, but we never had a chance to see that play out. Every other female fighter is at a disadvantage.
Davis is not known for her wrestling, and all we need to do is look at how better wrestlers have done against Rousey. They've been sent head over heels with throws.
She is an Olympic medalist. A true elite grappler.
Davis will want this fight on the ground, but she will try to avoid getting there via flight.
This may be the hardest category to judge between the two bantamweights.
Rousey is a talented judoka, but Davis is a top-tier jiu-jitsu specialist.
Rousey is likely to be in top position more often than not, but I have to give a slight edge to Davis based on her diverse submission game.
She can bring more submissions to the table and many can come off her back.
That will be vital on Saturday. Davis must threaten Rousey on the ground.
The totality of the challenger's submissions and her defensive ability make me lean toward her in this category. She has the technical defense to survive Rousey's inevitable armbar attempts.
Davis' X-Factor: Experience
For all of Rousey's abilities, she is still only 9-0 in MMA competition and working on rounding out her game.
Davis brings in an MMA record of 16-5. She has been in the cage against many of the division's elite, including quality strikers, wrestlers and submission artists.
More often than not, she has risen to the occasion.
Davis has survived dangerous positions and knows not to panic. Her experience will help prepare her for this moment.
Rousey's X-Factor: Athleticism
Rousey's biggest advantage over the vast majority of female fighters is her athleticism.
She is a legitimate Olympic athlete, while many of her opponents are not. They are merely technically proficient fighters who have honed their skills.
Rousey, meanwhile, is both. She has showcased her athleticism time and again, and it has given her an advantage in many fights.
This is one of the biggest X-factors in her corner.
Davis is a tough and game fighter, but she is out of her depth in this fight.
Rousey is too good.
If Davis gets in close, she will go flying through the air and end up on bottom with Rousey positionally dominating. If Davis tries to stand and exchange, you will get to see Rousey's improved striking technique.
Davis is a massive underdog for a reason, but an upset is almost totally dependent on Rousey making a critical error. If she doesn't, Davis will be mauled by the champion.
Rousey will make quick work of Davis, submit her and head off to vacation.
Prediction: Rousey defeats Davis via submission in the first round.