UnderGround Forums nice judo breakdown of rousey/carmouche

2/25/13 11:30 AM
Posts: 22401


Yesterday was the debut of Ronda Rousey, Olympic bronze medallist, in the UFC. It was also the most attention in recent memory focused on a MMA fighter with a distinctively judo style, and I think it warrants a /r/judo community discussion and analysis of Rousey's toughest challenge to date. Please chime in with any comments or analyses of your own! It should be interesting and educational.

The match starts off by Rousey trying to jab her way into a clinch, and Carmouche presumably trying to implement her game plan by breaking off the clinch and moving away. However, the forward pressure of Rousey backs Carmouche into the cage and allows a stronger clinch and headlock by Rousey, albeit by eating a couple of hooks.

Against the cage, Rousey puts her lead left leg in between Carmouche's legs, and pulls Carmouche's head forward. What I believe was Rousey's plan at this point was to do exactly what she did to every other fighter she has dominated in the standing game: a basic combination attack of a forward throw (e.g. koshi guruma, hip wheel) and a backwards leg technique (e.g. ouchi gari, major inside reap). Carmouche, to my eye, seems prepared for this kind of clinch fighting as she resists a low commitment kouchi gari (minor inside reap) at -4:40 and a probing uchimata (inner thigh throw) at -4:37. However, Rousey manages to do a weak koshi guruma at -4:35 and the fight is now on the ground.

What I think Carmouche could have done better in this sequence was to recognise that she could have potentially countered Rousey backwards. Specifically when Carmouche was dropping her weight, pulling her hips back, and trying to pull her head out of Rousey's headlock, that momentum could have been used to drag the fight down into a position favourable to her (e.g. tani otoshi, valley drop). From what I've seen of Carmouche, her best work is "ground and pound" from top position. Instead, her instinct to pull her head and hips out and stay that way for a prolonged period broke her balance, and allowed Rousey to wrench her down with koshi guruma. Carmouche did better than any other opponent of Rousey in maintaining her balance, but she still made a mistake.

The koshi guruma lands straight into hon kesa gatame (basic "scarf" hold) with Rousey on top, and then quickly into makura kesa gatame (pillow "scarf" hold). There's already been some discussion about what happened here, so I'll probably be repeating some things I've opined about. Carmouche walks on the wall and does use it as leverage later for a back take. However, I believe the large part of why Rousey had her back taken was because she sacrificed her pin security for an attempt at a leg-entanglement armlock variation (ude hishigi ashi gatame) from kesa gatame at -4:25. In trying for the submission, she momentarily gave up secure arm control by feeding Carmouche's arm to her right leg. Another consequence of trying for ashi gatame was that Rousey narrowed her kesa gatame leg base, making the pin more susceptible to reversals. Carmouche showed excellent awareness of Rousey's vulnerability by kicking off the wall and taking Rousey's back at -4:22.

2/25/13 11:30 AM
Posts: 22402

What happened next gave me heart palpitations. Carmouche spent around 45 seconds backpacking a standing Rousey and put Rousey into a very precarious situation. At -4:08, Carmouche applies a face lock. These are unpleasant, and fortunately illegal in judo randori and competition. For one, a facelock low on the face can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the jaw, which is not only painful but potentially bone-breaking. Facelocks can also be leverage to slip an arm under the chin; an instructor of mine once demonstrated a dirty trick where one slips the radius-wrist junction under the nose and pull up to expose the neck. In any case, I genuinely thought that Rousey would have tapped either to pain from the facelock or from a follow-up hadaka jime (naked choke). Rousey instead gritted through the facelock, and neck crank at -3:47 as Carmouche started falling off to the side as a result of Rousey's grip breaking and positional wiggling, and shakes Carmouche off at -3:33. For me, this was the moment where I was rapidly revising my expectation that this would be a one-round fight.

After some wardrobe adjustments, and I think Rousey really needs to rethink her fight wear, Rousey tries to land body punches while standing in Carmouche's guard. Carmouche effectively responds with kicks, then reaps Rousey's leg at -2:53 for a leg lock attempt. Rousey spins and slides out of the reap, and slickly lands back into makura kesa gatame. Rousey again fixates on trying to get ashi gatame, but Carmouche counters well by connecting her hands whenever Rousey tries to feed the arm to her legs. Rousey repeatedly punches Carmouche, presumably to force Carmouche into either eating punches or leaving her arm vulnerable to ashi gatame; this does not work. Carmouche, in between connecting her hands and punching back, tries to escape kesa gatame by framing Rousey's head with her arms and bringing her legs up to try to pry Rousey's head off. This was almost effective, especially at -1:03. Carmouche's other kesa gatame escape technique was to chase Rousey's hips to hook the far leg, like at -1:51. What was a missed opportunity for Carmouche, since Rousey was riding high on her chest after chasing her hips, was this very standard newaza reversal.

At -0:54, Rousey transitions to kata gatame (shoulder hold, AKA arm triangle), then to uki gatame (floating hold, AKA S-mount), then into her signature crossed-ankle ude-hishigi juji gatame (cross-body armlock). Carmouche defends against juji gatame by crossing her arms over and hiding the wrist of the nearside arm to Rousey. Carmouche tries to escape juji gatame by sitting up and stacking Rousey (-0:45), but Rousey reverses it by doing a modified Iatskevich roll. Rousey is having some trouble digging Carmouche's nearside arm's wrist out even while pulling back Carmouche's fingers, so she presses up into uki gatame at -0:21. This manoeuvre straightens out Carmouche's crossed-over arms, exposing the wrist. Rousey hugs that wrist to her body, then falls back down for the final, beautiful juji gatame at -0:13, with the tap coming split seconds later.

I actually expected that Rousey would spin to attack the other arm when she pressed up to uki gatame, so I was surprised by her falling back into juji gatame.

Summary: it's troubling that Rousey has had her back taken twice in two fights, with this time being in serious danger. Her mistakes this fight may potentially stem from her instincts from competing in the judo rule set. Moreover, there's enough footage of her MMA judo game that people can really start dissecting and potentially find more weakness to exploit. While her overall grappling game is still leagues better than any one else in her division, as Carmouche has demonstrated I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss future challengers. Hopefully Rousey can evolve her grappling game and minimise those holes.

Carmouche was a very pleasant surprise. Unlike Miesha Tate, she clearly came prepared for Rousey by defending so well and even threatening offensively. However, she really could have worked more on her standing balance and kesa gatame escapes. But honestly, superb effort for someone with fewer resources and whom most people wrote off.

This was a super fun fight to watch though. Holy smokes.


2/25/13 12:27 PM
Posts: 4026
Nice Breakdown!
2/25/13 12:36 PM
Posts: 1399
JudOWNED - Nice Breakdown!

Ditto! VTFU!
2/25/13 12:59 PM
Posts: 8860

that was awesome.

2/25/13 1:30 PM
Posts: 1229
pretty good
2/25/13 2:06 PM
Posts: 487
BshMstr -
JudOWNED - Nice Breakdown!

Ditto! VTFU!
X 2 sir Phone Post
2/25/13 2:09 PM
Posts: 8059
Mix6APlix - "a dirty trick where one slips the radius-wrist junction under the nose and pull up to expose the neck."

Who considers that dirty? That's 'get the choke' 101.

Judoka. Cross-facing is against judo rules.