From the back of Argosy Casino’s Music Hall, I watched the screen intently as two brave women entered the Octagon. It felt as if they were crossing a frontier. Anticipation moved through the air. I remarked to another fan how I was sure this one would get out of the first round. It didn’t. Four minutes and 49 seconds—that’s how long it would take Ronda Rousey to achieve dramatic victory over Liz Carmouche in last night’s main event and to claim rightful ownership of the belt she’d been gifted by UFC President Dana White. And it all played out exactly as MMA fans and pundits around the world had predicted. Only completely different.

The bell rang and Rousey blasted out of the gates with her usual untamed aggression. Carmouche matched her fury ounce-for-ounce, showing no signs of backing down. After a brief firefight, the two women moved into a clinch and everyone awaited the final sequence: judo throw, top control, armbar, tapout.

Less than thirty seconds had elapsed before Carmouche was on her back and things looked bleak for “Girl-Rilla.” But to everyone’s surprise, the script then revealed a radical twist, as Carmouche shimmied her way around to Rousey’s back and went to work. Unable to find a choke, Carmouche locked in a neck crank, bringing fans to the edge of their seats. You could almost hear the voice in the back of Rousey’s head saying, “This isn’t how it’s supposed to end.”

By virtue of some brilliant defense, Rousey was able to shake off her assailant, sending Carmouche tumbling to the canvas, where she’d spend the remainder of the fight. It was one of MMA’s great escapes, and one that effectively set the stage for another signature Rousey finish. After pouncing and securing a headlock which allowed her to issue some unfettered ground-and-pound, Rousey moved into position to work her magic. Carmouche would display great heart and determination, warding off her impending doom for over half a minute. But in the end, Rousey was simply too much.

The casino crowd erupted as the “Rowdy” one collected lucky number seven—both her seventh armbar and her seventh MMA victory—with 11 seconds remaining in the opening round. However, there was no luck, bad or good, present in the cage last night, only the skills and intrepidness of two premiere athletes seizing the spotlight and ushering in a new era of women’s mixed martial arts.

Rousey, in victory, cemented her place in MMA history and banished the skeptics who’d felt that a handful of fights couldn’t legitimize an undisputed champion. Carmouche, in defeat, showed the world her warrior spirit and made the first dent in her opponent’s image of invincibility.

In her post-fight interview, Rousey amped up the charm, smiled her patented smile and even conjured up a line that left Joe Rogan speechless, saying that “there’s no amount of press that can save these girls from me.” Carmouche took her defeat gracefully and held her head high, knowing she’d performed at a level to make her fellow Marines proud. As the saying goes, “In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.”

Right now, the Honda Center in Anaheim stands empty, with little sign of the history that was made there just hours ago. The curtain is drawn and the players have all gone home. The air is still and silent. But for those who witnessed last night’s historic main event, the sights and sounds linger on vividly and the moment retains its luster—all four minutes and 49 seconds of it.

Photo: Ronda Rousey an armbar against Liz Carmouche (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Robby Collins

Robby Collins considers himself a johnny-come-lately to the sport of MMA. He was introduced to it less than three years ago but has since delved into the sport at all levels. As an aspiring fiction writer, Robby adapted his skills to promote his latest passion and landed with The MMA Corner by way of personal initiative and auspicious timing. Robby has dabbled in karate and wrestling, and is currently learning to kickbox.

  • What a lame,lame,lame, fake picture! If she would actually step in to the cage with cyborg! Would it really happen?Gina didn’t get it back then! The pattern for the arm bar is not impossible to defend, (Gsp) vs (D.hardy) ? And what ever else you have won’t be greater on the feet,than cyborg! What if she beats you in your own game via rear naked chocked! The person who has bjj,stand up,is one to be a hard gladiator to beat. Ronda all you have is grappling ground,you’re striking is very similar to a person who swings as to not know how? Soon you’ll be exposed to the stand up! And that my friend is where your weakness is, not to mention u look winded in first round by five and slippery??? You don’t have wind…