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Holm stuns Rousey with knockout

MELBOURNE, Australia — Down Under, the expected outcome turned upside down at UFC 193.

Holly Holm took away Ronda Rousey’s Ultimate Fighting Championship women's bantamweight belt today, turning Rousey’s aggression against her, producing a stunning upset victory and a site to be seen.

After belting Rousey with a left hand to the head that turned the former champion, leaving her awkwardly exposed as she stood from a slip, Holm followed with a knockout left kick to the right side of Rousey's head.

With the previously unbeaten Rousey briefly unconscious on the canvas, Holm unleashed a couple hammer punches toward the face that caused referee Herb Dean to stop the fight 59 seconds into the second round.

Holm expressed a look of awe as the groggy Rousey awoke and was aided to a stool placed in the middle of the octagon at Ewtihad Stadium, where a shocked crowd estimated at more than 60,000 looked on along with a pay-per-view audience expected to surpass 1 million.

“I'm trying to take it in, but it's crazy,” Holm said in the octagon after the massive upset that ranks with Matt Serra's stunning victory over former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and Chris Weidman's knockout of longtime middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

“I just felt like, ‘How could I not do this? I had the best coaching from wrestling to grappling to stand-up. Everything we worked on presented itself in the fight.”

Holm, a former boxing world champion with pro kickboxing experience, executed a technical masterpiece that exposed Rousey's vulnerability in a still-developing stand-up game.

In the first round, the southpaw Holm (10-0) artfully landed a slew of left-handed counterpunches as Rousey (12-1) continued to charge and continued to get popped.

After needing only 1 minute, 4 seconds combined to win her previous three fights, Rousey was left winded by the frustrating five-minute-long scenario.

Holm opened by retreating, but sneaking in three punches before Rousey landed a right. Holm landed a good left inside and kicked at Rousey's legs. Two straight lefts by Holm were followed by two more, causing Rousey to lose her mouthpiece and show visible signs of fatigue.

Holm's systematic attack of plotting to land the left-handed punch led the challenger to the first true victory of a round by a Rousey opponent in UFC action. She had only been past the first round in one other mixed martial arts bout.

Rousey's trainer, Edmond Tarverdyan, told his fighter in the corner that she was doing fine, but to remain aware of Holm’s left punches.

But Rousey couldn’t execute, continuing to pursue and feed what the 34-year-old Holm said she had exactly prepared for.

“I spent so much time in the gym. I (knew I) had my hands full,” Holm said.

The knockout segment was “something we worked on … it was just there. We figured that was coming. She wanted to keep putting that pressure. Lots of blood, sweat and tears, but it sure was worth it.”

Earlier, Joanna Jedrzejczyk (11-0) wore down Canadian challenger Valerie Letourneau for a unanimous decision in the five-round strawweight fight by scores of 49-46, 49-46, 50-45.

The rematch of a riveting 2013 heavyweight slugfest draw started slowly and then was quickly finished in 3:41 of the first round by New Zealand’s Mark Hunt. Hunt (11-9-1) decked former heavyweight title contender Antonio Silva with a right hand to the top of the head that fell Silva (19-8).

Australian welterweight Robert Whittaker (15-4) defeated Uriah Hall in a unanimous decision, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.

Holly Holm, left, punches Ronda Rousey during their UFC 193 bantamweight title fight in Melbourne, Australia, today. Holm pulled off a stunning upset. AP PHOTO