After a fantastic UFC 189 event, we head for Rio, where the UFC odds are overwhelmingly on the side of Ronda Rousey in her title bout against the undefeated Bethe Correia.
There are two top dogs in mixed martial arts right now. One is Conor McGregor, who knocked out Chad Mendes (+165) in the second round Saturday night to win the Interim Featherweight title victory at UFC 189, just like he said he would. The other is Ronda Rousey, who will defend her Women's Bantamweight title against Bethe Correia at UFC 190. They'll be in Correia's yard at the Arena Olimpica in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, Aug. 1 (10:00 p.m. ET).
The difficulty with betting on rising phenoms like McGregor and Rousey is that we don't quite know where their performance ceiling lies. McGregor got a bit of a test from Mendes this past Saturday, but came through with flying colors. Rousey (11-0 lifetime) has yet to be seriously challenged in the Octagon. We know Correia (9-0 lifetime) is good, but is she even in Rousey's league? The UFC odds suggest otherwise; at press time, Correia is priced between +730 and +1000.
In theory, the undefeated Correia should bring some value to your UFC picks. Rousey is the clear public favorite, and figures to carry too much chalk into the Octagon. But again, we don't know what Rousey's ceiling is, so there's a chance we're severely undervaluing her, even at these chalky UFC odds. Our last attempt to collect on undefeated underdog Cat Zingano obviously didn't turn out too well.
None of this means Correia should be overlooked. She's risen quickly through the ranks since turning pro three years ago, combining Brazilian jiu-jitsu and kung fu techniques with her current training at Pitbull Brothers MMA, under the tutelage of Patricky and Patricio Freire. Correia is a lethal striker who practices good Octagon control; in her most recent victory against Rousey sidekick Shayna Baszler (+123), Correia landed 68 strikes to Baszler's eight before securing the second-round TKO.
Yo Gabba Gabba
What Correia doesn't have is Rousey's ground game. Rousey is a fourth-degree black belt in Judo – those things don't get handed out like “Participant” ribbons at a spelling bee. She's so far advanced in her craft that she's become something of a division killer. Correia has a blue belt in BJJ, which is nothing to sneeze at, but that's the equivalent of six levels below Rousey in the ranking system.
Rousey also has a two-inch height and four-inch reach advantage in this matchup, and she's four years younger at age 28. But the thing that gets overlooked the most is the sheer number of judo competitions Rousey attended from age 11 onward. All those hours of combat, all that training – no matter how talented Correia may be, she hasn't had the opportunity to put in the same work that Rousey has. Something out of the ordinary will have to happen for Correia to win this fight.
Free UFC Pick: Take Rousey –1053 at Marathon