The main event of UFC 184 is a five-round title fight between UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and No. 1 contender Cat Zingano. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Rousey is a -900 favorite (bet $900 to win $100) while Zingano is a +600 underdog (bet $100 to win $600). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Rousey at -1300 and Zingano at +700 and Rousey remains a heavy favorite with a few days to go until the fight. Although I do believe Zingano is the toughest fight of Rousey’s career thus far, I do believe the champ will get her hand raised. Here’s why. Rousey (10-0) is the UFC women’s bantamweight champion and is the most impressive female mixed martial artist the sport has ever seen. The 28-year-old American won a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games and has transferred her judo skills exceptionally well to MMA so far, going undefeated since beginning her mixed martial arts career in 2011. Rousey uses her judo throws to take her opponents down to the ground and submit them. In her 10 wins, eight of them have come via submission, all by armbar, and all but one in the first round over the likes of Miesha Tate, Sarah Kaufman, Liz Carmouche and Julia Budd. In her last two fights she has shown off her improving striking game, getting early knockout wins over Alexis Davis and Sara McMann. Rousey is an exceptional athlete and while she might not be everyone’s cup of tea due to her polarizing personality, there’s no doubt she’s a great fighter. She has shown literally no flaws in her game and until she does, it’s impossible to pick against her, even going up against someone like Zingano, an undefeated fighter who is extremely skilled, and that’s why you see Rousey as such a big favorite this weekend. Zingano (9-0) is 2-0 in the UFC with two third-round TKO wins over Tate and Amanda Nunes. The 32-year-old American is an extremely strong fighter both physically and mentally, able to overcome tough starts in her fight to come back and break her opponents late. She has dealt with problems outside of the cage, including major injuries to her body as well as overcoming the suicide of her husband, but she has never given up, showing a warrior spirit both inside and outside the cage and proving she picked the right career as a mixed martial artist. Zingano is good everywhere. Her striking is dangerous, her ground game is legit, her wrestling is solid, and she has a good chin and cardio. The problem is she gets off to very slow starts in her fights, and that could absolutely cost her against Rousey, who has looked flawless in her UFC career so far. Zingano can win this fight, but it won’t be easy. She’ll have to survive a tough first round, attempt to stop the takedowns, defend multiple submission attempts from Rousey, and then try to make a late comeback like she’s did in her other fights. It seems very unlikely that’s going to happen, though, and that’s why you see her enter this fight as a massive underdog despite the fact she’s an undefeated fighter with a very solid skillset. I really want to pick Zingano here and be the person who called the biggest upset in women’s MMA history, but I just can’t pull the trigger. While I still think Zingano is going to give Rousey a tough fight and could even become the second woman outside of Tate to make it past the first with Rousey, I just feel like it’s impossible to pick against Rousey at this point of time considering how few flaws she’s shown in her game. I think Rousey is probably going to get a takedown here and eventually latch onto her patented armbar to once again defend her title in impressive fashion. Having said that, I think the line is too high and I’ll be staying away from her in this spot just because I do think Zingano is being a bit undervalued here. But all things considered Rousey should win this fight.
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