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UFC / WEC veteran Dan Downes talks strategy and predictions for UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm, taking place Saturday, November 14...
That’s right boys and girls, it’s time for another Australian version of the Downes Side! The UFC may be in the land “Down Under,” but you can believe that the Nostradamus of MMA will be at the top of the predictions charts.
You may be spending the weekend doing the safety dance, but be sure to find a couple hours to enjoy UFC 193. Live from Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey puts her title on the line against undefeated contender Holly Holm. In the co-main event, Joanna Jedrzejczyk defends her women’s strawweight title for the second time against Valerie Letourneau. Pull up your favorite silver chair, it’s fight time!
STEFAN STRUVE VS. JARED ROSHOLT
We start in the heavyweight division with Stefan Struve and Jared Rosholt. A nearly seven-foot tall kickboxer who’s dangerous off his back, Struve ended his two-fight losing streak with a win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in August. Jared “The Big Show” Rosholt is like happy hour at Applebee’s. It may not be the fanciest, but it gets the job done. The All-American wrestler has won two straight over Josh Copeland and Timothy Johnson.
Struve may be the tallest man in the heavyweight division, but he often doesn’t fight like it. He suffers from some type of reverse Napoleon complex. An accomplished wrestler like Rosholt could be his Waterloo, but Jared is no Duke of Wellington. He might stall Struve in the early going, but he doesn’t set up his entries -- he’s far too obvious in his pursuit of the takedown. Struve can wait away rounds, but he’ll tag Rosholt enough to pick up the unanimous decision.
URIAH HALL VS. ROBERT WHITTAKER
We drop to middleweight for Uriah Hall and Robert Whittaker. Hall has lived his life at the margins. He’s gone from next big thing to bust in a relatively short amount of time. He’s won his last two fights, including a comeback of the year performance against Gegard Mousasi his last time out. Robert Whittaker has won three in a row. The Australian has finished opponents in 13 of his 15 career wins and only needed 44 seconds to KO Brad Tavares his last time out.
Much like who will win the Republican nomination for president and how they get those little m’s on M&Ms, Uriah Hall is a great mystery. He can be completely controlled for entire rounds, but he possesses a high “kill ratio” as Pat Miletich would call it. I was suspect when Whittaker moved up to 185 pounds, but he’s shown that he has the power to hang. His output is better than Hall’s and he defends strikes at an above average rate. Hall does have the ability to finish a fight in a single strike, but I have Whittaker by decision.
MARK HUNT VS. ANTONIO SILVA
We return to heavyweight for Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva. A rematch of their classic fight from December 7, 2013, let’s hope we actually have a winner this time. Fighting isn’t like soccer (or football, depending on your geolocation), we need a “real” result. Both fighters are going through a bit of a rough patch. Mark Hunt has lost his last two fights to Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic. Silva won his last fight over Soa Palelei, but that ended the worst streak of his career.
This won’t be a pretty fight. It’ll be pretty entertaining, but don’t expect this to be a defensive showcase. Both fighters defend strikes at a rate slightly better than 50%. When you apply that to heavyweights, that means that the fight could end at any moment. Historically speaking, Hunt has had a better chin. But he’s been KO’d in his last two fights. Silva stood in front of Hunt the first time they fought, and that overconfidence will be his downfall. Hunt doesn’t hit with the same flow as he used to, but he can still find a home for that lead hook. The Super Samoan wins by second-round TKO.
JOANNA JEDRZEJCZYK VS. VALERIE LETOURNEAU
We shift to the women’s strawweight division for Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Valerie Letourneau. The type of champ who hits opponents harder than I’ll hit the copy and paste function for this paragraph, Joanna Jedrzejczyk has looked absolutely dominant in her last two Octagon appearances. A skilled kickboxer, she batters opponents with volume and power. Letourneau has won four straight fights and is 3-0 inside the Octagon.
MORE ON JEDRZEJCZYK/LETOURNEAU: Joanna to Brazilian rival: Wait your turn! | Watch Embedded on FOX: Jedrzejczyk-Letourneau preview | Letourneau embraces moment | Fight stats
Jedrzejczyk is the biggest favorite on the card. I’d like to give a reason as to why that shouldn’t be the case, but I can’t find one. I still think Claudia Gadelha won their fight, but ol’ champy isn’t fighting her. Jedrzejczyk will overwhelm Letourneau the same way she’s overwhelming my spellcheck. She’ll get right in Letourneau’s face and batter her en route to the second-round TKO.
RONDA ROUSEY VS. HOLLY HOLM
Time for the main event! The highest profile athlete in the entire organization, Ronda Rousey has taken the world by storm. She’s only had to fight outside the first-round once, and she’s finished nine opponents with her signature armbar. Holly Holm will try to be the one to ruin the Rousey hype. A former professional boxing champ, she holds six career KOs.
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Rousey may be improving her striking, but she’s still raw. She ignores proper defense and tries to run over opponents with sheer aggression. It’s not the most refined method, but it’s gotten the job done. Holm is a far better striker, but she doesn’t have the power to keep Rousey from charging forward. Holm likes to tease opponents with straight punches and push kicks. Then, as the fight progresses, she turns up the heat and goes for the finish. It’s the perfect strategy against Rousey, but Holm lacks the physical tools to get it done. She’ll be smart enough to avoid a firefight, but Rousey eventually finds her mark and wins by third-round submission.
That wraps up another Barry Gibb-approved Downes Side. Follow me on Twitter @dannyboydownes. Also, show me how deep is your love by continuing the jive talkin’ on the page here with your own thoughts, predictions and comments on the page here. Will Ronda Rousey leave Holly Holm cryin' every day? Does Valerie Letourneau find a way to stay alive? Don’t be afraid to let your emotions take over.