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MMA Roundtable: Can UFC 193 Surpass UFC 190?

Photo Courtesy of AP

Headlined by UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, UFC 193 is poised to serve as one of Zuffa’s biggest shows of the year — right next to UFC 184 and UFC 190, both of which were considered successful shows and both of which were headlined by Rousey.

She’ll have a little bit of help this time around, as fellow women’s champion — strawweight titleholder Joanna Jedrzejczyk — also defends her title while fighting in the co-main event.

There are plenty of questions to be answered regarding the UFC’s November pay-per-view. Here, Today’s Knockouts gathers three of its MMA writers to answer the biggest ones:

 

Will Joanna Jedrzejczyk become more of a household name if she wins at UFC 193?

Riley Kontek: I think a win for Joanna Jedrzejczyk on Saturday could get her more notoriety or make her a “household name,” but don’t expect people to still be able to pronounce it. Joking aside, I believe with the amount of eyes on this bout because of Ronda Rousey, a brutal performance, like the one she had against Jessica Penne, should nab her a fair amount of fans. She won’t be anywhere near Rousey’s level yet, but it shouldn’t do her any harm, that’s for sure.

Dan Hiergesell: As arguably the most talented striker in all of women’s MMA, Jedrzejczyk should already be considered a household name. But to the average fight fan who watches only a handful of UFC pay-per-views a year, she misses the mark on almost every level. Chalk it up to her small weight, which has prohibited fighters from breaking out in the past, and the fact that her division is as new as it gets.

With that said, UFC 193 will be her opportunity to showcase an elite skill set worthy enough to attract the attention of all onlookers. Jedrzejczyk needs to give praise to Ronda Rousey for headlining her coming-out party, but the strawweight champion is good enough to blaze her own path. She just needs a quick jump start.

Jordy McElroy: One could already make the argument that Joanna Jedrzejczyk is well on her way to being a household name after the buildup for the event. It can take years for any professional athlete to obtain that level of notoriety, but Jedrzejczyk has been right there alongside Rousey in various media tours and television appearances.

The UFC could have done more to help her cause in the UFC 193 television promos, but it does feel like the promotion is going the extra mile to push her into the spotlight.

Jedrzejczyk’s aesthetically pleasing fighting style should speak for itself in the end. I believe she’s the most exciting female fighter in the UFC, and if she stays true to past performances, the rest of the MMA world will probably feel the same.

 

Who’s more likely to lose their title on Saturday?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb22tYfHDkw

RK: There is no doubt in my mind that Rousey nor Jedrzejczyk will lose their title in Australia. I would be highly surprised if either lost. Now, to answer the question, who’s more likely to lose their belt; I would have to say Jedrzejczyk. Rousey has shown no weakness thus far. Jedrzejczyk has shown very little. So again, even though I am almost 100 percent certain that neither loses their belt Saturday, I will say the strawweight champion is in more “danger.”

DH: This may come as a surprise, but Rousey is more likely to lose her title this weekend at UFC 193. While it sounds crazy and uncontrollably absurd, it makes sense based on the fact that Rousey has a more difficult matchup of styles than Jedrzejczyk does.

In other words, Rousey versus the striking of Holm is a more dangerous quarrel than Jedrzejczyk versus the striking of Letourneau.

The MMA world would certainly come to an end if Rousey was ever to be upset by an inexperienced entity like Holm, but Jedrzejczyk’s standup is simply perfection (while Rousey’s is not).

It would be an opposite outlook if Rousey was facing a fighter disciplined in grappling and Jedrzejczyk fought an athletc takedown artist, like Claudia Gadelha (who fought Jedrzejczyk to a split-decision back at UFC on Fox 13 by securing seven total takedowns). Of course, Rousey would have to discard everything relating to grappling (takedowns, submissions, clinch, etc.) and strictly go toe-to-toe with Holm on the feet for even the smell of an upset to enter the atmosphere

JM: Ronda Rousey will be the one on the hot seat on Saturday.

Stylistically, Holly Holm presents a lot of problems for the UFC women’s bantamweight champ. Rousey typically moves in a straight line with her strikes, and her head rarely leaves the centerline, which makes her easily hittable.

Seeing the porous defense, nearly every fighter has idly stood in front of her and tried to knock her out. That usually ends in the fighter getting clinched, and we all know what happens from there. Holm’s footwork is second to none in the division, and she is by far the best striker Rousey has ever faced.

With Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn in Holm’s corner, you can expect a very tactical approach, which will likely include a lot of pivoting and striking at angles to avoid the bull.

As for Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Valerie Letourneau isn’t an easy fight by any stretch of the imagination, but I fully expect the Polish phenom to turn in another excellent day’s work and be on her way.

 

UFC 193 is being marketed heavily and is expected to be the promotion’s biggest event from an attendance standpoint, but will it feel bigger than UFC 190?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKHV3KVDess

RK:  Simply put, no it will not feel bigger than 190. The animosity of the brief Rousey-Bethe Correia matchup brought great promotion for the UFC and grudge matches always bring more attention. We have come accustomed to Rousey’s sub-minute thrashings, so it’s getting harder to take her fights with an excess of enthusiasm in the sense that we want to see a competitive affair. We come to expect what we see with Rousey, and with no real rivalry with Holm, I can’t see it being bigger.

DH: It’s hard to surpass the magnitude of Rousey fighting in front of a hungry Brazilian crowd back at UFC 190 opposite Bethe Correia, but UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia should push the envelope in comparison.

Obviously, the expected record-setting attendance of 70,000 people at Etihad Stadium is going to inject the Octagon with unforeseen levels of anticipation and feedback. But despite an unbelievable venue, it will be Rousey herself that will make this weekend feel bigger than her last fight.

Forget about the opponent. Forget about the setting. Rousey’s “next fight” is always going to be her biggest. People are tuning in to see her fight, win or lose. They do not care about Holm’s chances of winning (with all due respect), the seething Australian crowd or the rest of the fight card.

It’s the way it is and will remain as long as the champ stays undefeated. Until that happens, Rousey’s conquests will continue to grow exponentially.

JM: This event already feels bigger than UFC 190, especially since Ronda Rousey has a legitimate threat in front of her this time around. Not to mention, the fight card will feature two title fights.

The fight between Holly Holm and Rousey has been a long time coming. We all knew it was on the itinerary the moment Holm signed a UFC contract. Casual fans might not be as aware of the magnitude of this fight, but it really doesn’t matter as long as Rousey is fighting.

UFC 190 wasn’t exactly the most stellar lineup for a fight card, and it still managed to do monster pay-per-view numbers with Rousey headlining. Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s presence on Saturday should add an extra boost. For those who still haven’t seen the women’s strawweight champion at work, you are in for a treat.

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