Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann: An Early Head-to-Toe Breakdown

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2014

Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann: An Early Head-to-Toe Breakdown

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    We have over a month until UFC 170, but fans and media alike are speculating the main event bantamweight title fight that will take place between Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann.

    In a bout pitting Olympic medalists against one another, the UFC has their face of women's MMA taking on likely her biggest test to date in McMann. It will be a tactical battle that will see the one with the better game plan and more well-rounded skills take the bout.

    So, who is going to win this fight? Let's take an early look at the head-to-toe breakdown and get some insight on who could be walking out of UFC 170 with gold.


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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Neither Ronda Rousey nor Sara McMann are strikers by any stretch of the imagination. McMann is an Olympic wrestler, Rousey is an Olympic judoka. Plain and simple.

    Rousey showed improved stand-up against Miesha Tate in their three-round battle, but she took some good punches to the head herself. Though improved, she is still not going to be confused with Cris Cyborg anytime soon.

    McMann uses her striking to close the distance and secure the takedown. This was seen in her most recent outing opposite of Sheila Gaff.

    It is close, but I'm pretty sure it's even here. I doubt there is a clear advantage.

    Edge: Push


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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    This is an incredibly hard category to break down, despite the fact Sara McMann is an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling.

    While McMann is probably one of the best pure wrestlers in WMMA and has the credentials to back it up, Rousey has shown that her judo is one of the most dangerous takedown weapons in MMA. Obviously, Miesha Tate is not the wrestler McMann is, but Rousey threw her around like a rag doll.

    McMann's entire game revolves around securing a double leg and pressing you to the ground. That will be tough against somebody with the balance and core strength of Rousey, as she has the skills to keep upright.

    This is another extremely close category. Rousey's judo vs. McMann's wrestling is another one that is too close to call.

    Edge: Push


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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    This may be the biggest difference in skill when it comes fight time for Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann.

    McMann is an Olympic-level wrestler, but she has only shown that she is effective from top position. She has three career submissions, even though one is by way of strikes.

    McMann also hasn't fought the level of competition of Rousey. Her biggest wins to date are over Shayna Baszler, Hitomi Akano and Tonya Evinger, all of which are by decision where she dominated from the top.

    Rousey is an absolute dynamo on the ground, whether she is on top or bottom. Even when Tate had her on her back, she worked her way to the top and made some awesome transitions.

    All of Rousey's eight wins come via armbar, seven of which are in the first round. Even if McMann does ground her, she will be fighting off a person very comfortable from the bottom who loves armbars and showed she is comfortable with the triangle choke.

    I would definitely have to give the edge to the champ here.

    Edge: Rousey


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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    This will easily be the biggest test to date for Ronda Rousey. That being said, she should still be the favorite here.

    As stated, even if McMann grounds Rousey, she can't just lay there in her guard and expect to be in control. Rousey is an incredibly gifted grappler, possibly the best in all of WMMA.

    There is also the possibility that McMann shoots and Rousey throws her with one of her patented judo moves. Either way, I think Rousey should keep her title in this intriguing fight.

    Prediction: Rousey def. McMann via submission