Holly Holm: Ronda Rousey was in unfamiliar territory when she finally got hit
Holly Holm and her coaches prepared the perfect game plan to dismantle Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, and it all started with hitting the previously undefeated fighter and knowing that she had never really been hit before.
As a world champion boxer before transitioning to MMA, Holm was well aware of what it felt like to hit and to get hit, but that’s not something Rousey has ever really dealt with before.
Before she was the UFC champion Rousey was an Olympic bronze medalist in judo and while her athletic accomplishments are many, none of them ever really included the feeling of eating a fist to the face and knowing how to come back from it.
"I just feel that the more I hit her, the more frustrated she would get," Holm told FOX Sports on Friday. "My team kept telling me during training camp ‘Holly, she’s not used to getting hit, she’s not used to feeling what that feels like. You’ve been in battles before, you’ve been hit, you’ve had to fight with an eye swollen shut so you can’t see, you’ve had to fight with a broken arm, you’ve had to fight with a broken nose, you’ve had to fight with a bloody lip, you’ve had to fight with a bloody nose, you’ve had to fight with a cut before — and she’s not used to that.
"It’s (an) unfamiliar and uncomfortable feeling for her. So you just need to put your hands on her and put your feet on her and just really impose your will on her.’ "
Holm followed the strategy with flawless execution as she popped Rousey in the face several times throughout the first round.
Holm connected on several straight punches that busted Rousey’s nose and lip and also staggered her with an elbow that landed flush between the cheek and the nose during one exchange. As soon as Holm blasted Rousey, she was stepping to the left or right before the former champion could even react.
When the horn sounded after five minutes, Rousey returned to her corner with blood dripping down her face knowing that she probably just lost the first round of her entire career.
As the second round kicked off, Holm’s confidence soared because by that point she saw the desperation in her opponent — and after side-stepping an aggressive attack that saw Rousey literally stumble and go to one knee against the fence like a bull that just missed a matador, it was the beginning of the end.
"I knew it was coming together when I slipped on her hook," Holm said. "I knew I had her timing and I knew that she was getting frustrated."
A few seconds later, Holm caught Rousey with another combination that once again buckled her knees and then as she stood back up off the canvas, the New Mexico native launched a head kick that connected flush on the neck and jaw.
The force of the kick blasted Rousey so hard that she immediately fell to the side and went down to the ground already unconscious from the strike.
Holm’s performance from the first round into the second round not only proved that she had the best possible strategy, but this was no lucky shot. She didn’t get beat early and just land a haymaker when Rousey wasn’t ready.
Holm took Rousey apart from the first second until the final shot landed and that’s what makes this victory even sweeter.
"I am glad that it wasn’t just a ‘lucky’ punch," Holm said. "I’m glad that it was this whole kind of domination."