One of the most historical and memorable nights in all of MMA took place November 14th in Melbourne, Australia as the UFC broke the attendance record with over 56,000 UFC fans and also featured the greatest upset in all of Women’s MMA. We look now towards each winners future and evaluate their performance and look ahead at who their next potential opponent should and might be.
Jared Rosholt vs. Roy Nelson
The Big Show walks out of Australia with the biggest win of his career as he was able to basically dry the well of the fight away from the near seven-foot tall titan in Stefan Struve. In what was unfortunately one of the nights most lackluster fights, Rosholt was able to find success across the fight by utilizing his bread and butter in creating multiple grappling exchanges in which Rosholt was almost always the aggressor and victor. Struve did not seem like he showed up to fight and in doing so gave up some major opportunities to change the tides of the fight. A win is a win however, and as previously stated, it marks the biggest win of Rosholt’s career. Struve was previously ranked at No. 14 in the UFC’s rankings and now falls out of lineup after the loss. Rosholt has now won three straight, all of which came after losing to the UFC’s 15th ranked Alexey Oliynyk by knockout. While not stylish or pretty, “The Big Show” produces victories, and has now arguably earned his opportunity and the bigger fish in the waters of the UFC heavyweight division. Roy Nelson makes for an admiring match-up. Nelson is coming off of a 5-round war against former UFC champion Josh Barnett. Interestingly enough however, though “Big Country” has had a tough run in the last few years intervalling through wins and losses, he has yet to lose to anyone in the UFC that wasn’t ranked in the top 15 at the time. Rosholt though may likely find himself in the top 15 after his successful victory against the Dutchman. This will make for an interesting bout as Nelson has yet to face a fighter with the amateur wrestling credentials that Rosholt has. Both men’s skill sets produce an interesting challenge for both involved and it will be intriguing to see who would come out on top.
Robert Whittaker vs. Michael Bisping/Derek Brunson
Whittaker captured possibly the biggest win for the Australians Saturday night as he slowed down the fiery hot Uriah Hall in a three round assault charged bout. Hall seemed tentative throughout the first half of the fight, giving Whittaker the opportunity to start off strong, and he took full advantage. Utilizing fast footwork and aggressive attacks, Whittaker’s boxing prowess was on full display as he contended the flashy middleweight and never shied away from any exchange, earning him nearly every round of the competitive bout. Whittaker has now formed one very unique career resurgence after making the decision to move up from his former weight class at welterweight last year in November. Whittaker has now won three straight at 185 and finds himself now amongst the very best in the middleweight division having just defeated the UFC’s 10th ranked fighter. Whittaker was originally supposed to face Michael “The Count” Bisping on this historic card, however the Brit suffered an unfortunate elbow injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the year. If “The Count” can make a speedy recovery, efforts should be made to resign that fight. However, if no such luck occurs, there is one other middleweight who has been on a hot streak himself as of late that would make for a perfect opponent. Derek Brunson, himself is on a three fight winning streak and is coming off back to back knockout wins over Ed Herman and Sam Alvey and is ranked at No. 12 in the UFC. Both men present a tough test for each other and would make for a highlight bout as each man is looking to make the presence felt in the strongly competitive 185 pound sea.
Mark Hunt vs. Travis Browne
Hunt represented his country proud Saturday night, putting the stamp on his rivalry with fellow former title contender Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva as he turned the lights out early against the gargantuan Brazlian with a first round knockout. Hunt attacked early with his familiar stalking style and eventually found a stiffening right hand that would lead to the eventual finish and the oh so stylish walk away. Hunt receives a much-needed win after losing in grueling fashion to heavyweight contender Stipe Miocic earlier on in the year. Hunt continues to be a burden to those near the top of the division at heavyweight and will most likely stay in that role until or if he is able to put together another hot streak of wins together towards one more opportunity towards a title shot. Travis Browne most recently had his low amount of momentum halted earlier this year after losing in a Fight of the Year candidate against Andrei Arlovksi, in which he fell via knockout in the first round. Both men are surely hoping to cement their status amongst the top of stable heavyweights and about between each may possibly produce similar fireworks as seen in “Happa’s” last fight at UFC 187. There will fireworks here for sure, and almost assuredly some heavy violence.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Claudia Gadelha
Joanna “Champion” will continue to fashion out her new nickname as she won in convincing fashion against a very game Valerie Letourneau Saturday night. Jedrzejczyk, however, did not look as active nor as offensive as seen in her previous bouts. An observation that could be credited to breaking her hand early on in the fight. While Letourneau tried to take advantage of this in bringing an offensive striking onslaught of her own, the champion would not be denied, landing more kicks and combinations that would win her nearly every round across the span of 25 full minutes. With her second title defense in tow, Joanna “Champion” will look ahead to recovery of her damaged hand, and soon after, a familiar face in the Brazilian top contender Claudia Gadelha. Both women met last year, both undefeated, in a bout that would determine the next top contender against then-champion Carla Esparza. In what was one the most competitive fights to date in the UFC’s newly formed strawweight division, Joanna was granted the victory in a bout that to this day many fans debate on who actually won. In a five round rematch, there will be quite the buzz as Joanna will once again compete with the one woman who pushed her, more so than any other competitor has, in her career.
Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate
Anything can happen in MMA. That point was punched into place hard as Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm pulled off what could be considered the greatest upset in the history of women’s MMA and MMA as a whole. This was also not just a lucky one shot KO kick. There was no luck, there was no injury, there was no extenuating circumstance that can be pointed out that could even remotely excuse what happened Saturday night. Holly Holm won in one of the most cleanest, most dominating victories ever witnessed in a UFC title fight. Utilizing her overall footwork, movement, speed and southpaw stance, the former boxing champion did everything right. Not only was her offensive output near perfect, her defensive preparation shined as the bout took place on the feet for the majority of the bout, as Ronda could not get her hands on Holm long enough to initiate a successful takedown. Holm decimated the former champion in a fashion not many could have predicted. Holm now takes all the glory and will look to start her own trailblazing career as champion, already kicked off by her newfound singular crown of being the only combat fighter to win a major promotional championship in both the sport of Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts. Ronda Rousey certainly has much to come back from after this fight, not only physically but mentally as well. Rousey suffered her first defeat Her first loss since losing in the finals of the Olympics back in 2008. Her mental conditioning will be tested in the months to come and while many of course will salivate at the thought of a rematch, it may not be in Ronda’s best interest to do so. Ronda may need to make some drastic changes, whether in her training, or preparation for a fight with Holly. Rousey has already elected to openly state that she will be taking time away, most likely to recover and start the process of returning. With that in mind, we look to the rest of the division as a new champion has bred new life into the women’s bantamweight weight class. What’s most interesting is, with Ronda possibly out of the picture for now, the most deserving fighter next in line for a title shot is the former Strikeforce bantamweight champ Miesha Tate. Tate has reeled in four straight victories since her loss to Ronda back in 2013 and was even promised a title shot after her latest victory against Jessica Eye earlier this year. When Holm was instead given the opportunity, controversy ensued as it left many baffled, none more so than Tate, as to how she was skipped when already openly promised a third crack at Ronda. Patience may seem to pay off for Tate, as she now has a clear opening to fight for the Bantamweight title once again. With Holm set to begin her reign as the new champion, things are, without a doubt, about to get interesting.