UFC 159: What We Learned From Sheila Gaff vs. Sara McMann
At UFC 159, Sara McMann and Sheila Gaff squared off in the UFC's third-ever women's match. Consistent with expectations, McMann (7-0) left Newark with the victory, which she earned with a TKO at 4:06 of the opening round.
Gaff (10-5-1) began the fight with something of a personal trademark: rushing forward and throwing a heavy hook when most fighters are looking to touch gloves. McMann, however, anticipated the move, easily ducked the punch and landed a double-leg takedown.
The fight briefly returned to the feet before McMann landed another takedown. This time, McMann moved into the mounted crucifix position and pounded the face of the defenseless Gaff until referee Gasper Oliver stopped the match.
What we'll remember about this fight:
McMann's cakewalk of a takedown. Gaff literally ran into it, and it came about three seconds into the fight. It had to be one of the fastest takedowns in UFC history (I checked, but didn't see a place that actually kept that record). The easy takedown set the tone for what was a rather easy fight for McMann, an Olympic wrestling silver medalist.
What we learned about Sara McMann:
Her strength as a fighter is unquestionably wrestling. But she's no lay-and-prayer. In the bright light of her first UFC fight, McMann could have ridden Gaff to a low-risk decision win. But instead she stayed aggressive and worked to advance her position. It paid off with a first-round stoppage.
What we learned about Sheila Gaff:
She either doesn't know how to wrestle, doesn't own a video playback device or both. How do you enter a fight with an Olympic wrestling silver medalist and be that unprepared or unconcerned about a takedown? I don't know. Hopefully someone asks Gaff at the press conference.
What's next for McMann:
She can't be that far from the top of the division. I'd give her the winner of Alexis Davis and Rosi Sexton, who fight at UFC 161.
What's next for Gaff:
Fast-rising Amanda Nunes was quietly added recently to the UFC roster. She's coming off a loss in her last fight, which took place under the Invicta banner. The loser would make a good test for the 24-year-old.
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