Women’s MMA Saves Staples Center Main Event

Fightland Blog

By Andreas Brauning

Photo by RB/Bauer-Griffin

Los Angeles cannot catch its UFC break. UFC 176 at the Staples Center was cancelled last summer, and UFC 184—which was set to be one of the most exciting cards the Ultimate Fighting Championship has produced—has taken a lot of hits in the past few weeks. 

This was an incredible night to look forward to. Dana White and Co. stacked a card full of names like Jacaré, Yoel Romero, Frank Mir, Big Foot Silva, Holly Holm—all of this on top of a double headliner featuring middleweight and bantamweight title fights between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort, and Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano, respectively. 

Alas, 2015 has not been able to shake the issue of scrapped or modified cards due to injury or illness. Frank Mir versus Big Foot Silva was rescheduled for UFC Fight Night on Sunday, February 22nd in Porto Alegre, Brazil, because its original main event between Glover Teixeira and Rashad Evans got scrapped after Glover suffered a knee injury. Then, the middleweight contest between Jacaré and Yoel Romero got postponed because he came under a bad case of pneumonia. Although Jacaré is quickly recovering, there isn’t yet a new date for that contest. 

Last week, Chris Weidman hurt his ribs in training so he can’t fight Vitor Belfort just yet, and that’s frustrating to everyone, but especially to Vitor. It’s the third time this has happened—first, Weidman hurt his knee, then he broke his hand, and now it’s his ribs.

Now, UFC 184 has Ronda Rousey versus Cat Zingano for the bantamweight title as its headliner, and Holly Holm versus Raquel Pennington as the co-main event. 

Thus, out of the dark clouds that loom over UFC 184, rays of light peer through. 

This isn’t the first time women have headlined a UFC event. In 2013, UFC 157 saw the inaugural women’s bantamweight headlining fight between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche. At that moment the world understood that women should certainly have a place in the world of mixed martial arts. That night, Ronda dropped her first armbar submission in the UFC at the very end of the first round, and it blew people away. Those who once said women shouldn’t fight finally understood that that was an absurd sentiment. 

In February of 2014, Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann—who delivered an admirable performance against Miesha Tate this past weekend at UFC 183—headlined UFC 170. Rowdy stopped McMann in her tracks with a bomb knee to the body. It was the first non-submission finish in Ronda’s career. Every other time Ronda has headlined, it was as the co-main event—at Machida versus Weidman, and at Weidman versus Silva II. 

Because of all the shuffling and injuries, UFC 184 is the first time that two women’s contests headline the main event. This is great news—it propels women’s mixed martial arts to the forefront of fans’ minds. Whether people like it or not, they’ll be witnesses to two sets of fights between incredible athletes. Holly Holm is one of the most highly-anticipated debutants the UFC has hired recently, and her bout versus Raquel Pennington—who’s coming off a sick win over Ashlee Evans-Smith by way of bulldog-choke. Power moves only from this lady. 

Don’t be sad that Vitor won’t get his shot at Weidman. Eventually he will. He shouldn’t fight anyone but Weidman—let’s just wait. UFC 184 hasn’t been compromised, and anyone who says that is a fool, and an ungrateful one at that. Ronda Rousey’s one of the best fighters in the world, and Cat Zingano will surely be prepared to dodge Ronda’s judo-throws and power strikes. And Holly Holm—well damn, Holly Holm is one of those fighters that leaves you wondering just why the hell you had not yet become a fan earlier. 

Jon Jones’s training partner in Albuquerque, Holly Holm has been boxing world champion for an unbelievable 18 times, in three different categories. In mixed martial arts, she’s undefeated with seven professional wins, all in smaller promotions. 


Check out these related stories:

Vitor's Sound Reasoning for Staying out of UFC 184

Jacaré Out of UFC 184 Due to Pneumonia

I Watched My Friend Get Beaten up by Holly Holm - Part 1

Holly Holm Is Both Pumped and Anxious about Her UFC Debut