Fight Analysis Video: Why Ronda Rousey Couldn’t Take Holly Holm Down

Firas Zahabi is the head coach at Tristar Gym, so he knows a thing or two about technique. He recently broke down the Rousey-Holm fight and what went wrong for the former champ. In essence, Zahabi mentions that Holm controlled Rousey in the clinch. Holm was prepared for Rousey’s favored moves and tendencies throughout the match.

Since Rousey couldn’t get Holm to the ground, Holm had the advantage with control and strikes. From there, everyone knows what happened, and that kick to Rousey’s neck will forever haunt people’s dreams. The Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm – Post Fight Analysis – Coach Firas Zahabi is worth a listen.


  1. In my opinion Ronda needed someone to humble her she has always been to cocky and when she behaved the way she did at the weigh in I knew she was going to lose. There is always going to be someone better than you. There is a difference between being confident and being cocky.

  2. Great breakdown! You know your stuff for sure. Holly controlled the fight, but unlike all the talking heads who said his wasn’t a close fight, you showed numerous times Rhonda could of won…

    • Anthony did you see the fight? It wasn’t close, not by a long shot. Holly had her from the opening bell, Ronda (who I’ve like very much) never caught her balance, never followed any kind of a plan unless you call swinging wildly and charging like a bull a plan. Ronda could have won had she trained to fight a southpaw boxer with a lot more experience than she had. Had she had any kind of a professional strategy, or, or, or, or, any number of things that she didn’t do to prepare. She was outclassed, out boxed and out smarted at every turn. Advice to Ronda: “Find some class”, “Find another trainer”….good luck.

  3. I must start by saying I didn’t get to hear the breakdown above as it was removed before I got here.
    Regardless I know for sure it was wrong if the title represents the content. There was no “couldn’t”.
    I boxed and was in karate (useless) and have 4 top athlete adult kids who have been trained in Judo, BJJ, Boxing, Muay Thai, etc Some training with the likes a Matt Huges.
    I’ve known Ronda and watched her fight in person for about a decade. She has always been arrogant.
    But the ONLY reason Ronda didn’t take Holly down is because she chose not to. She (like MANY other stupid MMA fighters before her) was making noise about being a great striker when she is ONLY a great Judoka.
    If you do a lot of research on martial arts you will find that Boxing is superior to every striking art.
    Professional boxers will beat the rest the VAST majority of the time…BUT…they have almost nothing if they are taken down.
    In MMA you see a plethora of ex-wrestlers who have 2 basic take downs; single and double leg. Some of the better ones will throw in a sweep and rarely a suplex.
    But Judoka have 66 basic throws and countless variations.
    I will state this plainly and dare anyone out there to prove it wrong:
    No one trapped in a ring can stay on their feet if they get grabbed by a top Judoka EVEN if they have 50 to 75lbs on the Judoka.
    *NOW* if they are men *in a fight* it is certainly possible the Judoka could be knocked out coming in, but if he is not the other guy is hitting the mat. My 115lb daughter threw pro-MMA men on Matt Hughes team who all SWORE that she could never get them off their feet. The “sprawl” is useless when faced with Judo.
    My point?
    If RR had decided to fight with her strengths from the very start, before she was damaged the fight would have ended in the 1st 70 seconds (which was her average before this bout).

    But Ronda imagined she was a big bad striker and she fell further in to this deception because she ended Correia with striking. But Rousey is a rank amateur in boxing and Holm is 19 time world champ.
    It takes some mighty delusions of hubris to imagine she could stand toe to toe with that and have any other outcome than she did. Too many sycophants whispering how great she was in her ears, Telling her she had “heavy hands”. Heavy is good but they need to be fast and esp accurate, and you MUST remember the boxers #1 job is to avoid being hit!

    Rousey wasn’t even well trained enough to keep her mouth clamped shut when getting hit!
    If you have boxed you know that the only two worse things you can do is put your hands behind you back or keep your eyes closed.

    Ronda CHOSE not to come out and use her real skills, the ones that got her to the top.
    I was sad to see it but it was just as I had predicted when I wrote about it before Correia and again before the Holm fight.

    I LOVE Judo and it’s the 2nd most practiced sport in the world because it is amazing ans superior to all other marshal arts. Ronda made me look like a prophet because yrs before she went into MMA I wrote this: If any top level Judoka enters MMA they will cut through their weight class like butter.
    Guys on Sherdog said I was crazy and they were all proved wrong.
    And I’ll say it again; As long as they don’t have a glass jaw, any top Judoka who enters MMA will wipe out most anyone they fight AS LONG as they stick to Judo.

    Both of my daughters rolled with Raquel Pennington more than once. The girl 3 weight divisions under her held her own and the girl two divisions under her beat her soundly. And they didn’t use their Judo throws..
    Pennington lost to Holm because she decided to put little effort into taking her down. Pennington has no Judo but go look at the fight and see how little she tries. (

    The last really great thing for Rousey and all Judokas is they can be fearless and completely offensive with their judo. The likelihood of anyone countering one of their throws is insignificant if the opponent isn’t trained in Judo. This is another proof that if Ronda had decided to use her judo before she was beaten up she would have won easily.

    Unless Ronda got permanent brain damage the other night the rematch will be a VERY different story.

    • Well, you are partially right in my opinion. RR was too arrogant that she opt to strike against a world class striker. Got too many hits before she realized that there’s no other way to win but grapple HH.

      It was a little too late.

      When it was clear to RR that she needed to take HH down, she’s already destroyed mentally and her body could no longer execute.

    • Interesting opinion, but like many others you are missing one point: RR actually tried to use Judo as usual. Holly just didn`t give her a chance to do this. I don`t know, why the opposite opinion became so popular. Watch the fight carefylly, at hands and movements of RR – there simply was no chance to close the distance. But since people were 100 % confident that HH will loose – nothing seems really surprising for me any longer…

      How many successfyl Judo fighters in mma you know? Karo Parisyan comes into mind and he wasn`t great at all.

      Judo isn`t some secret-CIA technique these days (or KGB… I`m from Russia, and all asian martial arts used to be forbidden here in late 80`s). So why the heck best top players in UFC don`t eager to become proficient in all these hip-throws and win matches by the armbar? Why current judo-competetitors (incl. those who beat Ronda on the Olympics) are not rushing into mma?
      The answer is simple: the art is good, but not so efficient like it seems from RR fights. Her previous wins are explained by EXTREMELY low level of female mma fighters and that`s it.
      I`ve been comparing HH tactics with Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano (who are most tough players in Bantamweight in line): they have got completely nothing like HH has shown on Satruday, no distance, no speed, no sharp punches, no fighting IQ at all. They are making some catfight, spectacular, but absolutely sloppy. If RR wants to grapple – Miesha is TOO slow to react to say NO and to step aside and accepts this easily. She has got no devastating punch combination that may stop Ronda from slamming her. She is even standing on straight legs in clinch, which is stupid enough to be mentioned. Finally, Holm is bigger and taller than anyone else in division.
      So the defence from Judo is not some “sprawling” that you mentioned. It is footwork and punches, weight control, reaction.
      Judo is not some magic pill: Judoka needs close distance and pretty unbright opponent (like drunken idiot on the street who is bothering you or any naive girl from female division, which is a NEW SPORT, that men had somewhere between 1993-early 2000s). Worked well for Rousey, got into right place on the right time.

      And the possible defence is not limited to running away like a scared kid.
      I also doubt that all these throws would work against some really good wrestler. Some next newcomers into female divisions will prove that. For now there was only Sara McMann – Olympic medalist (who lost by unlucky liver kick, not a throw and had lots of life problems in her past, which damaged her). Other girls beaten by Ronda are nothing. Ronda started at 11 and went to Olympict at the age of 21. While Miesha started practicing grappling somewhere at 18 just for fun. That`s laughable…

  4. Rousey own hype went to her head. She felt she could pull off a jon jones and beat Holm where she is strongest. She couldn’t and when she needed to revert to her judo it was too late.

  5. The fact of the matter is both opponents had equal and ample time to train, devise the best strategy, study film, learn weaknesses, and obviously Holm camp did a better job, could of, would have, should have the outcome remains the same unfortunately.

  6. I was able to use fear this time, in this fight. Some kind of alchemy. Fear can be an asset, if you control it. This was my second fight. Kirkland, Washington. 5 fights or less to compete. 1983.

    The lighter weights always fight first. The place was filled up now. My coach holds the ropes open and I step into the ring. He tells me this, “He didn’t warm up. He’s cold. Knock him out.”
    The ref asks me how I feel. I tell him I’m dying. He laughs and says, “You’ll be all right.”

    Now all this time, the fear is indescribable. It had nothing to do with this kid or anything. There is something about getting into a ring surrounded by people watching you and fighting.

    I’m thinking it’s him or me. Over and over, like a drumbeat in my head. I felt like a cornered rat. Scared mean and viscous.
    The bell rings. Like most fights I just remember fragments. It was the same combination, the whole fight, three quick, hard jabs and a right hand. The first knock down I thought he slipped. I didn’t feel any contact. It felt like I was punching a sheet hanging on a line — I was punching right through him.
    The second knockdown was — I started to get excited. I realized that I could get out of there right now! I never wanted anything so bad in my life.

    And then it really hit me, I could win!

    This kid was backed up on the ropes getting an 8 count.

    The ref had waved me to a neutral corner. I looked to the corner where the judges were and there was a lady judge sitting there, she was blond, and good looking.

    Her lips were parted and her eyes were shiny. She looked hungry. They all did. I felt this huge rush of adrenaline. I started to jump up and down in place. The murder came up in my eyes and I turned my eyes on my opponent. I had picked up the count at five.

    The ref waved me in and as I closed the distance I felt my head lower and my chin tuck and it was like I was outside of myself and within at the same time. But the point is that I was being careful.

    I saw the brass ring. I had him on the hook and I wasn’t going to let him off, it was him or me.

    Three hard jabs and he brings his gloves in front of his face. He’s trying to hide behind his gloves.

    Now here is the peroration of my whole story. I saw an opening, a space between his head gear and his gloves. It was like the clouds parting for the sun. Time warped, slipped away, disappeared, it was a moment frozen in time. I was in hyper focus.

    I decided that my glove would fit through that little opening. I pulled the trigger and knocked him out. At the moment of impact I twisted my hip into the punch. I put my ass into it. A perfect right hand and the hardest punch I ever threw and I could really punch. That punch would have knocked out any amateur anywhere.

    He went down and his neck was on the bottom strand and his eyes were wide open but sightless, he was out cold, out of this world. The doctor came running.

  7. Yeah, @Anthony, @Verbacity, What happened to the original breakdown with the red pen circling the moves? That was an excellent breakdown. When I tried to get other people to watch, they had taken down that excellent pro analysis and substituted this cartoonish BS on here, just jumping on the put down Ronda bandwagon.

  8. Great video! Ya know a lot of hating and not a lot of understanding! I did see Rhonda doing a lot of wwe style acting! I seen hh come from boxing with a plan to win the throne! That kinda focus and drive should always be taken serious and rr just didn’t do that! Reality is rr got beat more than just physically!!

  9. In my opinion, Ronda made a big mistake: stand up from the faceplant giving her back to Holly. She lost sight of Holly for a second and didn’t see her attack.
    That’s history now.

  10. Rousey has conditioned herself to defeat her opponent in under 2 minutes. If you experts review her fights all her wins are under 2 minutes. When Holm carried her past the first 5 minutes Rousey was done. She was winded it was obvious she was sucking the O’s after the first round. She wasn’t conditioned to go the distance I don’t care what the experts and analyst’s say she wasn’t conditioned to last more than 2 minutes. And no she’s not ready for a rematch for at least a year. It’s going to take her that long to train her lung capacity to go the distance. Just like football fellas, you don’t let a tackle run the ball when running backs are conditioned for it.

  11. Don’t know anything, really, about MMA. Was a world class judoka. I thought his breakdown was spot on and honest. The stuff about anger and fear was totally correct too. If you can’t control your own emotions, you can’t control another person. Stuff about the clinch is spot on too. You can’t throw em’ if you can’t get your hands on em’. HH kept the distance. What is the formula? Force x distance = knockout. You know what I mean, I said I am judo. Guy who mentioned conditioning was right too. This was a real good thread with minimal bashing. Gotta say the weigh in stuff was bush league and the start of the loss. HH was all business, just another day at the office. They picked RR apart and stuck with the game plan. That = win almost every time.

  12. I really believe Serge was right on target too. I was a pioneer in Freestyle Wrestling, 5th in the first Worlds and 1st in the first Sombo Worlds, and I think they would tear me up today. The level of experience determines the skill level, and pioneers for woman in MMA don’t have much experience. Ronda did catapult women’s MMA to the forefront and paved the way for future female fighters to be taken seriously and get help from guys that know how to fight.

  13. all you`s should learn some about greco roman wrestling and how to deploy a hard ‘ snap down and bang collar ‘ to keep an opponent off balance and out of range.
    there is follow up foot work angle stepping after both then sanp down and bang collar which holm used as needed.

  14. holly holm utilization of bang collar ties and snap down were the key to setting up the ko.

    i saw a lot of greco roman neck – angling and distance techniques during the fight.


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