Retired former world champion Laila Ali was shocked when fellow former boxer Holly Holm finished Ronda Rousey with a head kick at UFC 193. "I was like, 'whoah!' I didn't think it was gonna happen like that," she recently told Chael Sonnen (above).
Ali says that she did, however, always pick Holm to beat Rousey even if she didn't predict the end would come from a head kick. "But I did know that Holly Holm was going to win," she said.
Ali went on to say that she knew Rousey would be in trouble against a skilled striker like Holm after watching her UFC 190 KO win against Bethe Correia. Rousey won, yes, but Ali correctly observed that Rousey never moves her head off the center line, making her a good target for elite strikers.
"I noticed right away when the fight started, I was like, 'She doesn't have any head movement,' " the boxer said.
"She came straight in and she got busted in the face so many times where she had a bloody nose."
According to Ali, Rousey was never really tested until she fought Holm. The boxing great said that Rousey was simply running over much less skilled opponents and athletes up until she faced Holm.
"I saw that the girl she fought wasn't really a challenge for her, but I was able to see her mistakes. Not moving your head is a big mistake when you're getting into the ring with someone who has a boxing background," she said.
"I saw Ronda Rousey kind of act like she really does believe that she's the best female fighter in the world. I was thinking, 'wow, she hasn't even faced some of the other girls that are considered to be the best.' "
Ali doesn't think Rousey will fare any better against Holm should they rematch, either. "I think that if she fought her again, then the same thing and worse will happen," she predicted.
"Holly Holm was just getting warmed up. She was just getting warmed up. She had nerves, too. This was her big moment."