Holly Holm fought the perfect fight.
Holm (10-0, 3-0 UFC) knocked out Ronda Rousey with a second-round head kick and follow-up punches, as she captured the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight crown in the UFC 193 headliner on Saturday at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. The shocking end came 59 seconds into round two, with Rousey (12-1, 6-1 UFC) supine on the canvas.
The tone was set early. Holm circled away from the champion throughout the first round, countering with accuracy and power. She tipped her spear with a surgical left cross but also mixed in a beautiful stepping standing elbow and a surprising takedown. Rousey returned to her corner after the first five minutes with a bloody lip and reddening around the nose and mouth, a look of bewilderment on her face.
Early in the second round, Holm clipped the judoka with another straight left. Rousey briefly turned her back and let down her guard. A kick to the neck came next and put Rousey on the canvas in a semi-conscious state. Holm pounced with punches and hammerfists, leaving referee Herb Dean no choice but to intervene.
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Jedrzejczyk Turns Away Letourneau Challenge
In the co-main event, Joanna Jedrzejczyk retained the UFC women’s strawweight championship with a five-round unanimous decision over Valerie Letourneau. All three cageside judges scored it for Jedrzejczyk (11-0, 5-0 UFC): 49-46, 49-46 and 50-45.
Letourneau (8-4, 3-1 UFC) stood her ground and put up a noble fight. The American Top Team standout delivered a first-round takedown, landed her share of punches and was particularly effective with kicks to the body. Nevertheless, Jedrzejczyk’s excellence shone through. The champion slammed a front kick into Letourneau’s face in the first round, turned her hands loose with accurate, rapid-fire punching combinations and tore into the Canadian’s lead leg with one kick after another. Damage accumulated over the course of 25 minutes, and it became increasingly clear that a Letourneau upset was not in the cards.
Jedrzejczyk continued to target the leg in the championship rounds, limiting the challenger’s mobility and leaving her vulnerable to the combinations that often followed.
Hunt Dispatches ‘Bigfoot’ in Rematch
Mark Hunt disposed of former EliteXC champion Antonio Silva with first-round punches in their long-awaited heavyweight rematch. Silva (19-8-1, 3-5-1 UFC) wilted 3:41 into round one, as he lost for the third time in four fights.
Hunt (11-10-1, 6-4-1 UFC) stalked “Bigfoot” for the duration of their encounter, which served as the follow-up to their unforgettable five-round battle that resulted in a majority draw in December 2013. The sequel was far less memorable. A straight right above the ear sent a stunned Silva to the mat on all fours, and Hunt pounced with punches for the finish, prompting referee John Sharp to action.
Surging Whittaker Outduels Hall
The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes winner Robert Whittaker recorded his fourth straight victory, as he captured a unanimous verdict over Uriah Hall in a featured middleweight clash. Whittaker (15-4, 6-2 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 marks.
It was not a blowout. A replacement for the injured Michael Bisping, Hall (12-6, 5-4 UFC) bloodied Whittaker’s nose and did some nice work in the third round, where he rattled his counterpart with a head kick, a flying knee and a front kick to the face. However, it was not enough to deny the Aussie. Whittaker mixed leg kicks with aggressive punching combinations and also scored effectively in the clinch, with short punches, foot stomps and knees to the legs.
The defeat snapped Hall’s two-fight winning streak.
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Rosholt Suffocates Struve, Extends Streak
Three-time NCAA All-American wrestler Jared Rosholt took a unanimous decision from Stefan Struve in a three-round heavyweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for Rosholt (14-2, 6-1 UFC), who finds himself on a three-fight winning streak.
Struve (26-8, 10-6 UFC) yielded takedowns in all three rounds and did little with his opportunities on the feet. Rosholt bled the clock with his top game, often working mild ground-and-pound from side control and half guard. The Team Takedown rep ran out of steam in the third round, giving Struve a brief glimmer of hope. The towering Dutchman landed a few jabs but never sniffed the finish he needed.