Olympic bronze medallist in judo “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey was victorious in her Strikeforce Challengers 18 debut tonight, though her win did not come without controversy. Rousey defeated Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio with an armbar in just 25 seconds, but confusion followed as D’Alelio did not tap.
After applying the armbar, Rousey indicated to referee Steve Mazzagatti that she had heard a verbal submission from D’Alelio, who denied submitting but did admit to making a pained sound. Mazzagatti did not hear the sound, but stopped the fight anyway at Rousey’s behest and drew the ire of the crowd.
Rousey (3-0-0) closed the distance right away in the fight and twice tried to throw D’Alelio (4-2-0) to the mat. When her initial efforts failed, Rousey used a flying armbar to get the fight to the canvas. D’Alelio appeared to make a brief sound, which, according to instructions given to fighters before they compete, will typically be deemed as a verbal submission, but she did not tap. Mazzagatti initially did nothing, but after Rousey looked at him and stated that D’Alelio had submitted, he stopped the fight.
Confusion followed as cageside personnel attempted to determine whether D’Alelio had indeed tapped. Replays showed that she did not, and the audio on the replays did not indicate what sound D’Alelio may have made when the armbar was first applied. A dejected D’Alelio was clearly disappointed following the brief bout, but Rousey was deemed the victor nonetheless.
Winner: Ronda Rousey by Technical Submission (Armbar) at 0:25 of round one. She improves to 3-0-0.
With the quick victory, Rousey moved her professional record to a perfect 3-0. She previously earned three wins as an amateur. Her longest fight to date lasted just 57 seconds and her combined fight time through six bouts is just three minutes and 23 seconds. Four of her bouts, including tonight’s win, have ended in 25 seconds or less, with all foes to date surrendering to armbars.
Despite the post-fight controversy, Rousey remains arguably the top female prospect in the 145-pound division and one of the premier prospects in any of the sport’s women’s divisions today.