One of the UFC biggest stars Ronda Rousey returns to the octagon in the early hours of Saturday morning looking to avenge the worst night of her MMA career.
13 long months have passed since Rousey last made the walk into battle as champion, defending her title in Melbourne, Australia against Holly Holm.
At that stage she was arguably the biggest star the sport has ever seen (a certain Irishman holds that distinction these days), was undefeated, feared by her peers and was taking up options for major roles in Hollywood productions.
With 12 utterly dominant wins on the bounce under her belt, Rousey must have wondered where it all went wrong as she stared up at the lights after being taken apart and KO’d by a Holm kick to the face that night.
The ‘Rowdy’ one took herself into isolation after that defeat and the question on the MMA world’s lips was what toll has the loss taken on her?
Such has been the length of Rousey’s absence that since then the UFC Women’s Bantamweight title she’s fighting to regain in tomorrow’s early hours has changed hands twice more in her 13-month hiatus.
Her arch rival Miesha Tate took great pleasure in downing Rousey’s conqueror Holm in her first defence, before losing the title similarly herself to current champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 in July.
The Brazilian Nunes is a ferocious striker, something Rousey failed to deal with against Holm, and finishes nearly all of her bouts by stoppage or a devastating rear naked choke.
Despite this Nunes still comes in as an underdog, while her challenger is our favourite. For this contest those looking for a bit more value should look for Rousey to go back to her roots.
Eight of Ronda’s 12 victories have come from first round armbar submissions and you’d fancy her to return to that comfort zone with an opening round tap out coming in at . For Nunes you’d believe cardio issues will prevent her from winning in any other method than a knockout/TKO, and that wager may worth a sniff if you think Rousey is still damaged goods.
Not only do we get a main event loaded with intrigue at UFC 207, the undercard is more stacked than your fridge on New Year’s Eve.
Yesterday, we told you about the history of the event’s other title bout for the UFC Men’s Bantamweight title between bitter rivals, the champion Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt.
This one’s got personal very quickly, but even though Garbrandt is undefeated at 10-0, you can only predict another masterclass from Cruz and punt on him winning by decision at .
The final match-up that’s peaked our interest sees former Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw grapple with Brazilian buzzsaw John Lineker.
Dillashaw – once a target of Conor McGregor’s barbs – has the greater credentials on paper, but Lineker has been in a frightening streak of late and we’re going to tip the an upset for the Brazilian at .