Ronda Rousey makes very fast work of Cat Zingano in UFC title bout
Ronda Rousey is making an impressive shambles of the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight division, repeating her dominance at home Saturday night in a record-setting 14-second dismissal of No. 1-ranked contender Cat Zingano.
Venice’s Rousey, boosted by the home-arena advantage at Staples Center, took a sudden rush by Zingano in stride even after the champion was flipped over.
Equipped with great poise, Rousey, a former Olympic bronze medalist in judo, calmly used her right arm to trap and lock Zingano’s arm, causing the pained challenger to tap out.
Rousey (11-0 in mixed martial arts) has needed a total of just 96 seconds to win her last three title defenses.
Her victory Saturday was the fastest ever in a UFC title fight and the second-fastest submission in the organization’s history, behind Oleg Taktarov’s nine-second victory over Anthony Macias at UFC 6 in 1995. Rousey had shared the previous title-bout record of 16 seconds with Frank Shamrock.
“We expected she might do something like flying right at me . . . but I have faster transition than anyone because my mom taught me,” Rousey said in the octagon afterward, referring to her decorated judo-fighting mother.
Zingano (9-1) was at a loss for words after pursuing the bout for more than 18 months.
“I want to do it again. . . . She had my arm, I saw her leg, went to grab it, and all of a sudden, I’m tapping [out],” said Zingano, near tears. “I just want to do it again.”
She’ll have to get back in line.
Rousey, 28, is quickly cleaning out the division. She won her two 2014 title defenses, against Sara McMann and Alexis Davis, in 66 and 16 seconds, respectively.
A fighter long considered a potential Rousey opponent, Cris “Cyborg” Justino, was impressive in her first-round stoppage Friday night, fighting for the Invicta organization.
But Justino has said it would be extremely difficult for her to make the 135-pound weight limit at which Rousey fights.
In the octagon Saturday night, Rousey didn’t mention Justino and said she has her eyes on the co-main event winner, Holly Holm, and Bethe Correia.
“I’ve always wanted to test myself against a champion boxer and [Correia] is unbeaten,” Rousey said of the Brazilian, who has defeated two of Rousey’s close friends.
Holm (8-0 in MMA) didn’t meet the skyscraper-high expectations thrust upon her UFC debut.
“I’ll try to get better,” Holm told the crowd after claiming a split-decision triumph over Raquel Pennington (5-6).
Holm, from Albuquerque, flashed rapid side-kicking skills from her kickboxing days, but was also surprisingly struck by some Pennington punching combinations in toe-to-toe action.
That’s not a positive precursor to a date with Rousey.
Holm’s punching power was hyped before the bout, but Pennington absorbed it and answered before losing by judges’ scores of 29-28, 28-29 and 30-27.
“Because of all the hype, I didn’t think I [could] live up to it,” Holm said. “I hate that it’s a split-decision.”
Pennington, in the third round, pushed Holm down and clocked her with a right hand.
While Holm did enough, answering with a left kick to the head and a hard right punch to the face that softened Pennington, she didn’t produce the impressive finish everyone sought.
“I want that fight, obviously, who wouldn’t?” Holm said earlier this week of Rousey. “If they say let’s do it, I say let’s do it.”
Bring a stopwatch.
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