RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — It’s not a good idea to give Ronda Rousey some extra motivation.
Hurt by comments about her family and moved by the death of a close friend and idol, Rousey got off to a quick start and knocked out home-crowd favorite Bethe Correia only 34 seconds into the first round at UFC 190 on Saturday night.
Rousey defended her bantamweight title by throwing a rapid sequence of punches at the Brazilian’s head, landing a combination of right and left strikes that sent her opponent face-first into the ground and disappointed the local fans packing the HSBC Arena.
It was yet another impressive performance by Rousey, who improved to 12-0 in her incredible MMA career.
She has been crushing her opponents inside the octagon, but this victory seemed special.
Rousey came into the fight upset with Correia after the Brazilian made a comment apparently referencing to Rousey’s father’s suicide. Rousey said Correia crossed the line, so she would try to embarrass her in front of her fans.
“I hope that nobody really brings up my family anymore when it comes to fights,” she said. “I hope this is the last time.”
Before the fight, Correia had said she didn’t know about what happened to Rousey’s father and never intended to attack her personally.
Rousey also was extra motivated after the death of Hall of Fame wrestler Roddy Piper, who was one her greatest idols and inspired her to take the “Rowdy” nickname. She had said she would be fighting for him.
“We’ve lost a really close friend, ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, who gave me his permission to use his name as a fighter, so I hope he and my dad had a good time watching this today,” Rousey said.
The UFC’s biggest star, Rousey arrived in Rio as the overwhelming favorite against Correia (9-1) after winning her previous three title defenses in a combined 96 seconds. She needed only 14 seconds to beat Cat Zingano at UFC 184 earlier this year.
“It kind of went how I expected it,” Rousey said. “I planned to instead of trying to force a clinch, overwhelm her (by) striking first so that she would want to clinch first, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Rousey, who has been redefining the sport, has won 11 of her fights in the first round while being taken to the third round once. She has finished most of her opponents with her signature armbar, but this time it was her striking force that made the difference.
“I guess she can’t really say anything about my hands anymore,” Rousey said of Correia.
Rousey’s next opponent will likely be fellow American Miesha Tate.
In the second-to-last fight on the main card on Saturday, Mauricio Rua topped Rogerio Nogueira with a unanimous decision in a fight between veteran Brazilian light heavyweight fighters. It was a rematch of fight between the two in 2005, when Rua won a contest that lasted 38 minutes.
“I knew he was going to be well prepared, but I won, I got the victory,” Rua said.
In other fights Saturday, top-ranked strawweight fighter Claudia Gadelha of Brazil defeated Mexican-born Jessica Aguilar with a unanimous decision after three rounds; heavyweight Antonio Silva of Brazil beat Soa Palelei of Australia with a second-round knockout; Stefan Struve of the Netherlands beat Brazil’s Minotauro Nogueira with a unanimous decision.