Anaheim, Calif. -- Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey, the 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist in judo, defeated a game Liz Carmouche via first round submission in a historic women's mixed martial arts bantamweight title bout Saturday night in front of an enthusiastic packed house at the Honda Center.
Rousey entered the octagon to Joan Jett’s "Bad Reputation," displaying great confidence despite the pressure of having to perform as the marquee name in the night's main event.
“I was actually less nervous walking out than I was for some of my earlier fights," said Rousey. "I felt like the UFC champion and I know how hard I am working."
The fact that Rousey was headlining the card over all the men at UFC 157 was a first, as UFC president Dana White rolled the dice on Rousey's star power and skills carrying the gate and the pay-per-view television audience.
Looks like his gamble paid off.
The fight lived up to the hype as Carmouche, a former Marine, was able to land a rear naked chokehold early in the first round to nearly seize the title from Rousey. However, Rousey was able to escape the grip, but not before absorbing a kick to the face which Carmouche delivered while laying on her back.
“That was the most vulnerable a position I’ve been in so far in my career," said Rousey. "That was pretty tight, that neck crank, and I was very happy to get out of it. She had the choke across my mouth and the angle pushed my mouth-guard out of my mouth. Her forearm was pushing against my teeth and that can’t have been any more fun for her than it was for me… crazy sport we’re in, huh?"
Rousey then got on top of Carmouche, taking control and throwing punches at her face. Rousey eventually placed Carmouche in her signature armbar, forcing Carmouche to tap out with 11 seconds left in Round One for the victory.
Rousey (7-0) has won all of her fights in the first round with armbar submissions.
“It was an honor to fight here tonight," said Carmouche, who fell to 8-3 with the loss. "I thought I had her for a minute there, but she’s the champion for a reason. I had that neck crank very tight, but I had the choke across her mouth and couldn’t get it to her neck."
Dana White's choice to prominently feature women in the UFC was brilliant, at least on this night, thanks to Rousey's dominance and the intensity brought by both women.
"This was a wild ride and I can’t wait to get back in the octagon,” said Rousey, reflecting on her big win.
We can't wait to watch her again either.
By Gilbert Gastelum
Contributing Writer for The Daily Sports Herald