Why We Love Sports: Holly Holm’s Shocking Win Over Ronda Rousey

Above: Holly Holm’s stuns Ronda Rousey with 2nd-round knockout
Above: Holly Holm’s stuns Ronda Rousey with 2nd-round knockout

Everything heading into UFC 193 on Saturday night in Melbourne, Australia was about Ronda Rousey. Thirty-six hours later, talk in the MMA world (and beyond) is still all about Rousey, but for an entirely different reason. That’s because two nights ago, Holly Holm did what no one expected her to do and some even believed to be impossible: she walked into the Octagon and beat Rousey to become the new UFC women’s bantamweight champion.

Holm, undefeated in MMA after winning multiple world titles as a boxer, didn’t just edge out the dominant Olympic judoka on the scorecards; she punched Rousey in the mouth right out of the gate and finished the previously unbeaten superstar with a left leg to the neck 60 seconds into the second round to send shockwaves through the sports world. This was a massive event built around Rousey and Holm’s brilliant performance highlights why we love sports so much and why MMA is right up there when it comes to the most unpredictable, exciting sports out there.

From Cinderella teams in the NCAA tournament to an unknown John Daly showing up and winning the PGA Championship, everyone loves an underdog story and Holm was a sizable underdog in this one. While a lot of money landed on the challenger in the 24 hours leading up to the event, Rousey was still a heavy favourite and seeing someone that was expected to dominate get dismantled creates a different kind of feeling than seeing things play out as anticipated.

On top of that, Rousey is the kind of polarizing figure that draws her fair share of criticism, so you can bet there were plenty of people happy to see her get a taste of her own medicine on Saturday night.

Furthermore, shake-ups like this inject new energy into competitions. Whether it’s a newcomer bouncing a top seed on the tennis court or a dominant champion getting turned aside, anything that changes the blueprint fans have laid out in the minds in a competition creates excitement and ups the anticipation for the next game, tournament or fight.

And nowhere can any of this come together and happen more regularly than mixed martial arts.

Sure, you get upsets in every other sport, but each year in major team sports, you can name 5-7 teams with a chance to win it all and usually name the eventual champion. It takes three great sets to pull off a major upset on the tennis court and that’s only one round of a tournament and it takes 72 holes to do the same on the golf court.

In the cage, it can take as little as one perfectly placed punch to shift momentum or end a fight. Holm needed just shy of six minutes to orchestrate one of the biggest upsets in UFC history and over the years, craziness has transpired in the first five seconds, the final five seconds and all points in between in the cage. Champions are no more immune to upsets than anyone else and in recent years, some of the best to ever compete in the UFC have tasted defeat.

Holm’s win over Rousey served as a reminder that anything can happen in the Octagon and set the stage for an exciting, intriguing final stretch of action in the UFC this year.

It also reminded us once again why we love sports so much.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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