UFC president Dana White announced over the weekend that UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey’s next challenger will be Canadian Alexis Davis, and the two elite women’s fighters will meet in the co-main event of UFC 175, which takes place July 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The announcement of Rousey vs. Davis came as a bit of a surprise to most fans because a potential bout between Rousey and Gina Carano had been heavily rumored for months. But after Carano’s meeting with White last week failed to produce a UFC contract, the promotion had to move on and find someone else. With No. 1 contender Cat Zingano still not 100% and not ready to return to the Octagon just yet, the UFC decided to go with Davis, who is currently riding a five-win win streak, as Rousey’s next challenger instead. A few fights ago I would have said Davis was a legitimate challenger to Rousey’s belt, but not anymore. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe Davis has earned her shot at the belt with five wins in a row over Hitomi Akano, Shayna Baszler, Rosi Sexton, Liz Carmouche and Jessica Eye. But she struggled badly in the fights with Sexton and Eye, two former flyweights, and based on what I’ve seen I just don’t think she has what it takes to beat Rousey, who has shown little-to-no-holes in her game thus far. Although Davis has shown her offensive ground game is tremendous and that she has very solid offensive striking as well, she has huge flaws in her strike defence and her face tends to get cut up badly when she’s struck there (see her fight with Sarah Kaufman in Strikeforce). Although Rousey is no K-1 level fighter on the feet, she did show in her last fight against Sara McMann that she is improving her striking rapidly, and if she can hurt Davis on the feet she might even be able to claim her second-straight stoppage via strikes. But, much more likely, Rousey is going to use her judo to take Davis to the ground and look to submit her there. And while Davis is a stud grappler, so were Miesha Tate, Sarah Kaufman, and McMann, and Rousey beat them all easily. Although Rousey was undervalued in the fight against McMann, I doubt that will be the case here and I expect Rousey to enter the contest with Davis as a massive favorite, somewhere in the -700 to -1000 range. Personally, I think that’s too high, but the betting public has shown in the past in her bouts with Carmouche and Tate that they’ll take Rousey to those numbers if they think she wins, and I expect that to be the case here once again. Having said that, I do think Davis has an outside chance of a submission, but just an outside chance, for even as a loyal Canadian I know this is a difficult matchup for her, and I’m fully expecting Rousey to win in impressive fashion once again. Aside from Rousey vs. Davis, UFC 175 features a main event between Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida for the UFC middleweight championship and a light heavyweight bout between TUF Brazil 3 coaches Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen. It looks like one of the best cards of the year on paper, and July 5 can’t come soon enough.
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