100% Takedown Success Rate & Southpaw Approach Makes Zingano a Dangerous Dog Over Rousey

Jason Lake

Monday, February 9, 2015 6:16 PM GMT

So far, nobody’s been able to hold a candle to Ronda Rousey in the Octagon. But Cat Zingano is undefeated, and the MMA odds for their UFC 184 main event may be tilted too heavily in Rousey’s favor.

It almost happened. Nick Diaz looked pretty spry at UFC 183 against Anderson Silva, putting up enough of a fight to make us feel justified in adding him to our MMA picks. at +320. But Silva smartly stuck with his counter-attacking style, and his conditioning was good enough to earn a unanimous decision. Turns out Silva tested positive for steroids. Oh well.

We might have another opportunity to ride with the underdog at UFC 184 on Feb. 28, when Women’s Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey puts her strap on the line against Cat Zingano. Rousey has been absolutely dominant in her 10 MMA fights, winning eight of them by armbar and rarely needing more than one minute to finish off her opponents. But is Rousey carrying too much chalk at between –780 and –1429 on our MMA odds board?

 

De Mars, Bringer of War
You can certainly make the argument that Rousey’s UFC odds have been inflated by her immense popularity. She’s appeared in various states of undress in magazines and movies, and as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 18. Aside from Silva, Rousey might be the most famous fighter there is today.

But there’s no denying her ability. Her mother, AnnMaria De Mars, was the first American judoka to win the World Championships, back in 1984. Rousey ended up winning the silver in her weight class in 2007, then took home the bronze from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Four years later, Rousey was the Strikeforce Bantamweight champion after submitting Miesha Tate. Rousey was named the UFC champion after the sport’s leading promotion closed Strikeforce down; four people, including Tate, have failed to take the belt off Rousey.

 

Cat People
Zingano (9-0 lifetime) was supposed to get her shot in 2013, after beating Tate at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale. The plan was for Zingano to coach opposite Rousey at TUF 18, but Zingano ended up needing surgery on both her knees, so Tate got the nod instead – and did a pretty good job of it, becoming the only person to extend Rousey beyond Round 1 when they fought at UFC 168.

Tate may very well have paved the way for Zingano to win the title. We’ve seen Rousey have at least some difficulty against Tate and Liz Carmouche, two fighters known for their wrestling skills. Zingano was on the wrestling team in high school and in college, where she was a two-time national champion in freestyle. Then she took up Brazilian jiu-jitsu and kept winning. Eventually, Zingano worked her way up through the indies to Invicta FC and then the UFC itself. Her victories haven’t been as dominant as Rousey’s, but of her nine pro fights, only one went the distance.

Join Fellow Bettors Discussion on Rousey vs. Zingano's Fight

Take it to the Left
This is where it gets difficult to handicap the two fighters in question. They only have the one common opponent in Tate, who was a +550 underdog in her UFC bout against Rousey, and –130 against Zingano before that. Based purely on those MMA odds, it seems perfectly reasonable to grab Zingano at +800 to pull off the upset later this month at Staples Center.

The challenger brings a few other wrinkles to the Octagon. Her southpaw stance and her two-inch reach advantage could give Rousey some difficulty; Zingano also has a 100-percent takedown success rate, and according to FightMetric, her 73-percent striking accuracy is 10 points better than Rousey’s. But how well do these numbers translate when they were racked up against fighters who are clearly not at Rousey’s level? We simply don’t know. And it’s the unknown that makes this fight so compelling, both from a competitive and a handicapping standpoint.

Free UFC Pick: Take Zingano

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