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UFC 190 Wrestling Observer Picks & Preview: Ronda Rousey vs. Bethe Correia

 Ronda Rousey

By Josh Nason, WrestlingObserver.com

Know that moment in sports when a dominant athlete or amazing team goes from becoming a media sensation to someone or something that the general public wants to see challenged? We’re two fights away from having that with Ronda Rousey.

Unless the absolutely unthinkable happens Saturday night at UFC 190, Rousey is going to annihilate Bethe Correia in Brazil. She is then going to beat Miesha Tate for the third time in either December or January. And then, there’s no more talk: it’s time to fight ‘Cyborg’ Justino at a catchweight.

Yeah, a catchweight. The belt doesn’t need to be on the line to make this a megafight and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m convinced that Justino can’t make 135 or else she would have done it already. There’s too much money for her to have avoided it thus far out of a desire not to, and with the impending restrictions on IV use, there has to be some concern for her health in attempting to cut down.

My feeling is that the paying public is going to tire of seeing Rousey crush opponents that aren’t close to her in competition. Note the ‘paying’ part of that equation. It’s awesome Rousey is getting mainstream attention, but how many of those people are actually going to plunk down cash to see her as opposed to catching a clip of the finish on Instagram so they feel plugged in? I understand that people paid to see Mike Tyson finish opponents quickly, but armbars vs. uppercuts is a completely different dynamic.

About a year from now at UFC 200, we’ll get Rousey vs. Cyborg at 140 pounds and will finally get a competitive fight for the best women’s fighter in the world as a result. Get ready.

Our Panel:

Jack Encarnacao (72-25 | .742) Sherdog Rewind host, The Lapsed Fan podcast co-chair, Steve Austin impersonator

Steve Juon (65-32 | .670) AngryMarks founder, MMA Mania writer

John Pollock (64-33 | .659) Fight Network personality, Live Audio Wrestling co-host, The MMA Report host

David Bixenspan (62-35 | .639) Figure Four Weekly writer, Observer Daily Update writer, podcast host

Mike Sempervive (62-35 | .639) Wrestling Observer Live co-host | Big Audio Nightmare

Front Row Brian (60-37 | .618) MMA newsbreaker, Twitter personality, podcast host

Dave Meltzer (58-39 | .597) Wrestling Observer founder & writer, occasional cougher

- Josh Nason (58-39 | .597) Wrestling Observer digital media and content guy, WON Twitter enabler

Mike Sawyer (56-41 | .577) Tough Talk MMA, 2014 picks panel champion 

*****

> UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey (11-0) vs. Bethe Correia (9-0)

At 28, Rousey has the world right where she wants it. Her last two fights lasted a combined 30 seconds. Her last three fights? A combined 1:36. Her last four fights? 2:34. The big question here is whether the rhetoric about taking her time with Correia was simply for show or whether there’s legs to it. My guess is the former.

Give credit to Correia who turned a hand gesture and wins over two of Rousey’s stablemates into a nice payday. She’s 3-0 in the UFC and has her shot at the best in the world just three years after making her pro debut. She’s also been out of action since last August, but as I’m quickly learning, that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to picking fights.

The big story here will be how this show does with buys. There are tons of mainstream Rousey fans but will they actually click that ‘Buy’ button on a show with a lot of busted parts? We’ll find out.

Rousey (MEGA favorite): Nason, Meltzer, Sempervive, Bix, Juon, Encarnacao, Pollock, Sawyer, FRB

> Shogun Rua (22-10) vs. Antonio “Lil’ Nog” Nogueira (21-6) II
Light Heavyweights

This is another one of those fights where both guys should have hung it up a year or so ago. ’Shogun’ is a .500 fighter and hasn’t won two in a row since 2007 when he was in PRIDE. He’s lost four of his last five, and in his two 2014 fights, he was beaten by TKO at the hands of Dan Henderson and Ovince Saint Preux. Bleh.

He fights Nogueira, who hasn’t been seen since getting knocked out in 44 seconds by Anthony Johnson a year ago. That loss snapped a two fight win streak that stretched over three years! The two fought initially in PRIDE in June 2005, a fight Rua won by unanimous decision.

- Shogun (slight favorite): Nason, FRB, Meltzer, Bix, Juon, Sawyer, Pollock, Encarnacao
- Nogueira: Sempervive

> Stefan Struve (25-7) vs. Antonio “Big Nog” Nogueira (34-9-1-1)
Heavyweights

Struve has had a very strange UFC career, especially in a division where seemingly everyone with any longevity has got a title shot. With one exception, he has never performed that well against the top competition in his long Octagon run. After a four fight win streak was snapped at the hands of Mark Hunt, Struve battled heart issues over the past two years, limiting him to one fight in which he was crushed by Alistair Overeem.

He battles Brazilian legend Nogueira who has also lost two straight and hasn’t competed in over a year. The 39-year-old has lost four of his last six and is ridiculously far past his fighting prime. I could see him retiring with either a win or a loss.

- Struve (slight favorite): Sempervive, Meltzer, Bix, Juon, Sawyer, Pollock, Encarnacao
- Nogueira: Nason, FRB

> Bigfoot Silva (18-7-0-1) vs. Soa Palelei (22-4)
Heavyweights

The only reason Silva is still around amid a four fight winless streak is that one of those fights was the Hunt classic. Sadly, Bigfoot tested positive for elevated testosterone levels after that fight, and has been knocked out quickly by Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir since then. Unfortunately, he faces the 38-year-old Palelei who has knocked people out in his last 12 bouts. Palelei is 4-1 in the UFC and being from Australia, seems destined to fight Hunt someday.

Palelei (favorite): Nason, FRB, Sempervive, Meltzer, Bix, Juon, Sawyer, Pollock, Encarnacao

> Claudia Gadelha (12-1) vs. Jessica Aguilar (19-4)
Strawweights

Many assumed Gadelha would beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk in December and move onto to a UFC strawweight title shot. One split decision later, Double J is your champion and Gadelha has been on ice ever since. She looks to rebound from her first career loss against the former WSOF strawweight champion Aguilar, making her UFC debut after eight years. She’s won nine straight in Bellator, WSOF, and regional promotions. At age 33, she’s finally getting her shot at the big time.

- Gadelha (big favorite): Nason, FRB, Sempervive, Encarnacao, Meltzer, Bix, Juon
- Aguilar: Sawyer, Pollock