When the UFC introduced women for the first time, one of the fighters I had my eye on as somebody who could potentially give Ronda Rousey trouble was Alexis Davis. On paper, Davis was a good striker who went punch for punch with Sarah Kaufman, but also a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who might have the ability to avoid being armbarred like everybody else. Unfortunately I haven’t been as impressed with Davis in the UFC as I was hoping to be. Even though Davis is 3-0, she has been far too easy to hit and her ground game hasn’t been nearly as sharp as what I’ve seen from Rousey.
If I was put in a position to argue that Davis could beat Rousey, it would be very difficult for me to figure out what my argument should be. It’s very difficult to envision Davis being able to defend Rousey’s takedowns and win with striking volume, but that’s the only realistic path to victory I can imagine. I just don’t think Davis can go five rounds without being taken down a few times.
Even if Davis is able to force Rousey into a striking match, what then? Davis has been hit by 295 significant strikes in 70 minutes of action, for an average of 4.22 significant strikes per minute. Rousey is not a master striker, but I firmly believe she would be able to match Davis’s output standing, especially if Davis had to worry about the takedown the entire time. I also believe Rousey would have a power advantage as shown when she stopped Sara McMann with a body shot.
Make no mistake about it, Rousey’s striking has improved quite a bit. Early in her career, Rousey would hold her chin very high and just wade in with straight punches. Recently, Rousey has done a much better job of keeping her chin down and throwing punches with power – although her head movement is still something she could improve. However, I think a striking match between Davis and Rousey would be, at best, a back and forth slugfest.
I have enough respect for Davis’s ground game that I think there’s a chance she could avoid being submitted on the ground. But the question isn’t one of whether Davis will survive, it’s whether she will win. For Davis to win, I think it has to be by either knockout or decision. I don’t think Davis has nearly the knockout power necessary to get the finish, so that leaves decision as the best possibility.
If I really stretch my imagination… I can see Rousey potentially trying too hard to finish Davis early and getting fatigued in later rounds. In that scenario, perhaps Davis could then defend Rousey’s takedowns, out-pace Rousey with standing strikes, and win by decision. But even that is such an unlikely way for the fight to play out. Otherwise, I simply don’t see Davis defending Rousey’s takedowns. I will be truly shocked if Davis finds a way to win this fight.
Pick: Ronda Rousey by submission