A little over a minute after it began, Ronda Rousey’s Ultimate Fighting Championship 170 bantamweight title bout against Sara McMann was over.
Rousey remained undefeated with a TKO on a knee to the midsection 66 seconds into the bout at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The KO was the fastest in UFC women’s history and was notable because it came with something other than Rousey’s usual armbar.
“We studied her videos and knew it was the best thing to concentrate on the liver shot for this camp,” Rousey said (via USA Today) after the first match between Olympic medalists in UFC history. “The knee has been working for me the most throughout sparring in this camp.”
Rousey is 9-0 mixed martial arts and 3-0 in UFC; McMann is 7-1, 1-1.
“I thought it was a good fight. I got hit in the liver, and no matter how hard you train, you can’t get your liver stronger,” McMann said. “I hope to get a rematch and come back here and put on a better fight. I was trying to get back up, but it’s my own fault. I should’ve gotten back to my feet quicker.”
The way in which she on means that Rousey has found another way to retain her dominance. From Yahoo’s Kevin Iole:
One perfectly placed and executed knee isn’t a sign that she’s the best striker in women’s mixed martial arts, as she said before the bout, but it is indicative of the work she has been doing.
“People forget, I won the title for the first time a year after my first pro fight,” she said. “I’m learning, still. It took me a long time to feel like I wasn’t just doing the judo. I feel I’m becoming a more well-rounded martial artist.”
There aren’t a lot of women in the UFC who haven’t had a title shot yet who look like they’re ready to compete with Rousey, even without enhanced striking. But if Rousey is able to make her striking a strength, it will only separate her even more from the rest of the field.