Thursday, 28 February 2013

Ronda Rousey - UFC 157

Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of MMA. Well last weekend saw the first ever women’s MMA fight in the UFC featuring Ronda Rousey, a former Olympic Judo bronze medallist, whom I have championed on my blog a couple of times in the past.

What’s so nice about watching Ronda fight is that she uses her Judo skills a lot. Her opponent on Saturday night was Liz Carmouche, a tough ex US Marine who put up a really good fight, taking Ronda’s back at one point and putting on a horrible looking face crank which caused me to tap from the comfort of my sofa!


Ouch, that's gotta hurt
Luckily Ronda is made of tougher stuff than me, eventually escaping and then throwing Carmouche to the canvas using Koshi-guruma. Now what was odd, for MMA anyway was that Ronda then proceeded to hold Carmouche in Kesa-gatame and peppered her with short punches to the face before finally submitting Carmouche with her trademark Juji-gatame. The reason I say that the use of Kesa-gatame is odd is that in MMA and no-gi submission grappling, the person on the bottom can often escape from the kesa and end up taking the back of the person on top. This is a very dangerous position to be in in MMA and no-gi grappling but less dangerous in Judo where one can simply turtle up, although the ref normally calls matte before then.


 Kesa gatame
Juji gatame, Ronda's trademark submission.
Opinions were divided on Ronda’s use of Kesa-gatame. On the new Judo forum (E-Judo) many of the guys (and girls) on there simply said that as Ronda is such a high level Judoka that it’s very unlikely that anyone would ever escape. Others on there said that Ronda will lose one day when someone escapes and takes her back and chokes her out. It’s interesting to note that on the same card Urijah Faber was being held in Kesa-gatame by his opponent Ivan Menjivar. Urijah was able to simply pull Menjivar across his body and ended up in side control, where he eventually took Menjivar’s back and choked him out. That said, Menjivar does not possess anywhere near the same level of Judo as Ronda does but I think it’s worth noting anyway.

It’ll be interesting to see what Ronda does in her next fight and whether she continues to use Kesa-gatame. Whether she does or not I’m sure we’ll continue to see other aspects of her Judo like the throws and of course her trademark Juji-gatame.

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