Is it the End of the line Rowdy Ronda?

Ronda Rousey fell victim to another elite striker. Rousey cameback from a 13-month hiatus to face Amanda Nunes, the women’s bantamweight champion, in the main event of UFC 207 at Las Vegas, Nevada last December 30. She lasted only 48 seconds of the first round against a barrage of punches rained by Nunes and had to be saved from further punishment by referee Herb Dean who stepped in to stop the fight.

It was the second devastating loss of her career. MMA fans are probably aware that Holly Holm’s head kick and punches were the reason why she absorbed her first loss in just 59 seconds also of the first round and was absent from the cage for so long.

Questions on whether “Rowdy” (She adopted it in honor of the former WWE star Roddy Piper) can continue his fighting career after these two crushing defeats suddenly are floating.

Rousey’s woeful defeat in UFC 207 got me reminiscing how Eduard “Landslide” Folayang dealt Shinya Aoki a beating, how a young Manny Pacquiao stalked opponents because of a punch that can floor an opponent, and by being an NBA and MLB fan also, that of how Laker Kobe Bryant and Red Sox David Ortiz sailed into the retirement sunset.

Folayang showed how a striker always has an inherent advantage against a pure grappler. If a grappler is going to have a chance to stand against a striker, the grappler has to first defend against the onrushing hits and take the fight on the ground.

(See releated article: Folayang defeats a legend)

Once Folayang deployed his striking skills while ably defended against his ground attacks, Aoki never stood a chance. The end lurks in the horizon when Aoki was consistently hit and could not take the fight to the mat.

If there was an application of the axiom “offense is the best defense”, it was the young Pacman. He showed why having a devastating punch was an automatic advantage to a brawler over a pure boxer. If a pure boxer has to have a chance against a slugger, the boxer has to defend first against the onrushing punches before countering with his own bombs.

Before hitching with Freddie Roach, Manny used to have only his lethal left as his one and only weapon. But what a weapon it was! The opposition could not touch him with impunity simply because they had to provide cover against his left hand.

Pacquiao was really never tested for decision wins early in his boxing career because once his left found its mark, it seldom fails to floor an opponent. He was 32-2 before his partnership with Roach. Of his 32 wins, 24 came by knocking out opponents, including 12 consecutive, his 21st-31st wins.

Although Rousey improved her striking ability through the years, she was still well known for her grappling skills. Rousey has typically brought the fight down and sought a quick submission, mainly through an armbar, her go-to move. In fact, 9 of her 12 wins came via armbar submissions.

But her grappling skills had to be set-up by strikes. During early fights, she did used striking to set up her judo moves. But her being a grappler didn’t work against elite strikers Nunes and Holm.

She did not have the chance to take the fight to the ground because, like Aoki, she got hit consistently before she had the chance to clench. And, like Pacquiao’s opponents, she felt the sting of those punches. Punches connected by elite strikers will surely take their tool, especially if connected consistently.

If Rowdy doesn’t adapt her game to defend against these attacks, she could not take on certain opponents, specifically strikers, and retirement might be the only way to stop the further tarnishing of her fighting reputation. Should she bid adieu?

Rousey is a tremendous fan favorite. The proof: I bet there more articles like these than those which talks about the winning fighter, the champ, Nunes.

If Rousey will truly retire, the way she will go out will surely broke her fans heart cause this is just ain’t the way to go.

Many athletes envy how Ortiz ended his career: “riding the sunset on a horse” and wish they could, at least, be given Kobe’s victory lap to end theirs.

Big Papi went on to establish probably the best final season of a professional athlete, especially those who are at retiring age.

In the final season of his career, Ortiz led the Major Leagues with a 1.021 OPS and 48 doubles. He is tied for tenth in home runs, tied for second in runs batted in, and batted .315. He finished in the top 10 in the American League in home runs and RBIs for the ninth time in his career.

He was awarded the 2016 Esurance MLB Award (Best Hitter) and (Best Player-Fan Interaction) as well as the 2016 Hank Aaron Award and the 2016 Silver Slugger Award, American League.

His Boston Red Sox finished first in the American League East and advanced to the playoffs.

On the other hand, Kobe Bryant’s last season is bitter-sweet.

In his final season, the Black mamba recorded some of his worst statistical performances of his career. Most notably was his scoring, the third worst of his career (only edged out by his first and second seasons in the league), field goal shooting, career-worst, and three-point shooting, also a career-low.

His Los Angeles Lakers were even worse. The team can only muster 17 wins in 82 games. That was the worst record in the Western conference and second worst in the entire league. It is also the all-time worst season of the Lakers, which just broke the previous 21-61 it record just a year before.

Bryant’s last season, however, has some luster in it. He surpassed John Stockton’s league record of 19 for the most seasons with the same team.

Bryant scored 38 points to beat the Minnesota, making him just the fourth NBA player over 37 years old to ink at least 35 points, five rebounds, and five assists in a game.

Bryant scored a season-high 60 points in his final NBA game. That total also eclipsed the most points in a final game, Reggie Miller’s 27, and the most points scored by a player 37 and above, Michael Jordan’s 45.

Bryant also got the leading overall votes for the 2016 All-Star Game.

The way it is now, Rousey is the example of the worst kind of retirement possible if she decides to hang it, that which was forced towards the exit because deficiencies were by the exposed by an opponent and these cannot be corrected in order to continue to compete.

How I wish Rousey leave the fighting game in another way. She may not go out the way Ortiz did but at least she should go out in a similar manner like Bryant did. As to how, only she can answer it.

Can she take to heart the words “make peace with your defeats” and “bounce back”? Or is “The Rock” Hollywood blueprint too much to pass up?

BY: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS.

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