Rousey armbars Zingano in just 14 seconds

Published on Sunday, 3/2/15, at 5:55 p.m. Eastern.

The legend of Ronda Rousey grew Saturday night when she put on a Hollywood-worthy performance at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Rousey, fresh off an appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, needed only 14 seconds to put away previously-unbeaten Cat Zingano by armbar.

Zingano stormed across the Octagon after Rousey and landed a big knee, but she found herself taken down by the champion, who quickly got control of Zingano’s arm and cranked on it until the challenger tapped.

Zingano was supposed to provide Rousey with her toughest challenge to date. Instead, she became her quickest victim. Rousey needed only 16 seconds to finish her last opponent (Alexis Davis) and she’s basically cleaned out the 135-pound women’s loop in two years and five fights.

Only Miesha Tate has taken Rousey beyond the first round in her 11-fight career (Rousey finished her with an armbar in the third round).

So what’s next? Well, Rousey is off to make another film while Dana White is left to figure that out. Assuming Zingano’s arm is ok (and all indications are that it is), she could be matched up with Tate in a title eliminator. Tate, who has won three fights in a row and isn’t currently booked, lost to Zingano by third-round TKO in a Fight of the Night performance in April of 2013 at TUF 17 Finale.

There’s also the possibility of Cyborg, who fights with the Invicta promotion at 145 pounds. But Cyborg would have to get down to 135, a weight she’s never competed at previously. The Gina Carano ship has seemingly sailed after prolonged negotiations late last year never resulted in a deal.

In the co-main event, Holly Holm beat Raquel Pennington by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28) in her much-anticipated UFC debut. Holm still needs a lot of work and despite her outstanding striking skills (she’s a former boxing champion), she needs at least two more fights (assuming they’re impressive victories) to created enough street cred to challenge Rousey for her belt.

In a welterweight scrap, Jake Ellenberger earned his first career submission win by choking out Josh Koscheck late in the second round. Ellenberger ends a three-fight losing streak, but he still appeared a bit hesitant to engage with his striking.

The Omaha product was fortunate to be facing a 37-year-old Koscheck who hadn’t fought in well over a year. Koscheck has lost four in a row and didn’t resemble that two-time No. 1 contender at all. He looked slow and was again bothered by his left eye that took significant damage in his second fight with Georges St. Pierre.

At the post-fight presser, White didn’t verbally send Koscheck into retirement as he’s done many times in the past with other fighters. He said Koscheck’s future would be decided by the long-time contender in the 170-pound loop.

Tony Ferguson joined Rousey, Ellenberger and Tim Means in earning Performance of the Night bonuses (50 large apiece). Ferguson improved to 8-1 in the lightweight division with a dominant performance over veteran Gleison Tibau, who was choked out by rear naked at the 2:37 mark of Round 1. Tibau had won three fights in a row and took the bout against Ferguson on short notice.

Ferguson, who has won five straight since losing a decision to Michael Johnson, should get a shot at a big name in the lightweight loop next.

In the top fight on the prelims card, Roan Carneiro returned to the Octagon for the first time in more than six years and submitted middleweight veteran Mark Munoz. Like Koscheck, Munoz has got to give retirement some thought after losing a third straight fight.

In a development coming out of Friday’s weigh-ins, rumor has it that long-time UFC employee Burt Watson has either quit or been fired by the promotion (or maybe not). There are varying and unconfirmed accounts about what happened, but there was apparently some sort of disagreement between Watson and UFC executives on Friday. Let’s hope the issued is resolved and that we see the electric Watson back at the next UFC event.

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