Low-key Rousey ready for comeback against champ Nunes

UFC women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (right) in a face-off with Ronda Rousey after the weigh-in for tonight's fight in Las Vegas.
UFC women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (right) in a face-off with Ronda Rousey after the weigh-in for tonight's fight in Las Vegas.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Ronda Rousey will seek to reclaim the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight title today when she steps into the octagon for the first time in more than a year to battle Amanda Nunes in Las Vegas.

The 29-year-old from Los Angeles has not fought since she was pummelled to an upset defeat by Holly Holm in November last year.

The shock loss also shattered the mystique that Rousey had developed during the 12 straight wins that kick-started her MMA career.

Following the loss, she went into seclusion and kept a low profile in the build-up to the Nunes fight by declining to do interviews.

"I am very focused and I know how I am going to stop her. I can't wait," Brazilian Nunes told the Los Angeles Times.

Today's UFC contest will be just the 14th of Rousey's career while Nunes has fought 17 times, with four losses.

Rousey, a former Olympic judo medallist, is one of MMA's biggest stars who has helped widen its global appeal.

It is no surprise that her return after a protracted absence has created a huge buzz with the organisers predicting record pay-per-view buys.

Her rise through the ranks of MMA earned her comparisons to Mike Tyson's emergence in boxing's heavyweight division during the 1980s, with the fighter generating excitement after a string of whirlwind knockouts.

However, unlike Tyson, who had fought 37 times before suffering his first loss, Rousey had fought just a dozen times as her boxing inexperience was woefully apparent when she was beaten by Holm.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

RONDA ROUSEY V AMANDA NUNES, Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch208, tomorrow, 11am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2016, with the headline 'Low-key Rousey ready for comeback against champ Nunes'. Print Edition | Subscribe