Saturday, February 22, 2014

UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann preview

The Olympics may be ending tomorrow night, but the biggest event involving Olympians this weekend is in the UFC.

UFC World Women's Bantamweight Champion, and 2008 Olympic Judo bronze medalist Ronda Rousey will defend her belt against challenger and 2004 Olympic Wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann.

It's a battle between world-class competitors who take a very different approach to the sport. Rousey is a noise-maker who loves the spotlight and wants to attract a maximum number of eyes to her fights and women's MMA as a whole. McMann is a more private individual who talks only when necessary and is strictly about the spirit of competition.

I will say that after the bad blood between Rousey and Miesha Tate, I'm excited to see two fighters go in with a healthy amount of respect for each other. Both know the other had to work themselves ragged to get where they are, and much like an Olympic contest, I expect both to be able to fight ruthlessly during the bout and be civil afterward.

As for the fight itself, usually when wrestlers and judokas face off in the UFC, the style of the UFC tends to favor the wrestler, who can close the space easier thanks to the cage. However, I think Rousey is far more competent fighting from the bottom than McMann, so the challenger can't afford to mess up.

Honestly, I see each of their defenses keeping the fight largely standing. I see the fight ending with a finish, but it's coming on the feet this time.

I trust that Rousey's striking is a little farther along than McMann, so I'm taking Rousey by 4th-round KO.

The co-main event is Daniel Cormier's light heavyweight debut, where he will fight Patrick Cummins, who is undefeated in a variety of MMA companies that few people realize exist.

I'll admit, the trash-talk between Cummins and Cormier in the past week has actually made me legitimately interested in how this real-life Rocky vs. Apollo match will turn out.

I actually expect Cummins to be able to defend Cormier's takedowns fairly well, but the problem is that I don't buy him being able to stand and bang with a man who was considered a top-five heavyweight.

As such, I'm taking Cormier to win this fight late in the first round with a knockout.

Rest of the Main Card

Rory MacDonald v. Demian Maia - Maia is a BJJ master, and if he's wise he'll get this fight to the ground. I'll trust him in this fight and give him a Round 2 submission win.

Mike Pyle v. TJ Waldburger - Both ground games are legitimately good, and in this situation I expect both to try to pull something out and getting nowhere. I'm taking Pyle by decision because at 38 he can't afford a loss if he wants a run at the title.

Stephen Thompson v. Robert Whittaker - Thompson's a better striker in a battle of strikers. I can't really say much more. I'll say Thompson by decision.

The last match I'll pick is the undercard main event between Alexis Davis and Jessica Eye. Most know Eye from the recent positive test for marijuana, but she's actually a legitimate fighter and a good striker.

However, as good a striker as she is, I don't think she holds a candle to Davis, who is quickly making a name for herself as a contender. I could see this being for a No. 1 contendership, and this could well be fight of the night.

I won't go that far, as I think the main event will be great, but I'll take Davis by Round 3 KO to earn a performance of the night bonus.

Enjoy the Closing Ceremonies on Sunday!

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