Rousey vs. McMann: A Complete Guide to Full UFC 170 Fight Card

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAMMA Lead WriterFebruary 17, 2014

Rousey vs. McMann: A Complete Guide to Full UFC 170 Fight Card

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    It's Olympian vs. Olympian when 2008 judo bronze medalist and best female MMA fighter on planet Earth Ronda Rousey defends her UFC title on Saturday against Sara McMann, who won a silver medal for wrestling in 2004.

    The timing is appropriate, given that the Winter Olympics are now in full swing in Sochi. Will UFC 170's main event honor its monolithic bloodlines? Rousey is a heavy favorite to retain the women's bantamweight strap, even if McMann has the talent to pose a threat to just about anyone.

    The evening's co-main event features Daniel Cormier, a member of the 2004 and 2008 Olympic wrestling squads. His bout lost a lot of its world-class burnish when Rashad Evans pulled out last week with an injury and was replaced by Patrick Cummins.

    There are plenty of other intriguing bouts up and down the card. Here is your complete guide, including information capsules on each fighter and matchup, predictions and viewing coordinates. 

Ernest Chavez vs. Yosdenis Cedeno

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    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Ernest Chavez (6-0), Yosdenis Cedeno (9-2)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    I enjoy the prospects as much as anyone, but these guys are anonymous even to me. 

    Cedeno is the more well-known of the two, as a mainstay of Florida's Championship Fighting Alliance promotion. He's definitely aggressive and likes to throw the spinning stuff, that much is for sure. He doesn't seem to prefer ground action but isn't incompetent there, either.

    Regardless of phase, he's trying to knock your head off. Check the highlight reel for more.

    Chavez likes to strike, too, though in more of a muay thai point-fighting context. He comes from the BAMMA USA promotion, where he held the lightweight strap.

    This one should make for a tasty little appetizer, with Cedeno closing the distance, making the clinch uncomfortable and eventually pounding Chavez out.

    Prediction: Cedeno, TKO, Rd. 1

Erik Koch vs. Rafaello Oliveira

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    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Rafaello Oliveira (17-7), Erik Koch (13-3)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    I get that the UFC is dangling Koch behind the Fight Pass wall to entice more subscriptions. And hey, that's fine; I hear tell this is a business that is designed to make money.

    Still, Koch, in my opinion, has no business this far down the card. This bout carries extra importance for him, who after two straight losses as a featherweight is making his UFC debut at lightweight.

    Oliveira is a solid grappler, but his striking needs work. That spells trouble against the hard-hitting Koch.

    Preview: Koch, TKO, Rd. 2

Zach Makovsky vs. Josh Sampo

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    Division: Flyweight
    Records: Zach Makovsky (17-4), Josh Sampo (11-2)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    I hate cliches, and yet I feel an uncontrollable urge coming on.

    They're two flyweights who love to get after it. They leave it all in the cage. They give it 110 percent.

    Both men are standout grapplers with a penchant for takedowns and submissions from the top or bottom. Expect lots of transitions and scrambles coming your way. Makovsky is a future contender in this division, and the former Bellator bantamweight champ should get the W in his second UFC contest.

    Prediction: Makovsky, unanimous decision

Cody Gibson vs. Aljamain Sterling

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    Division: Bantamweight
    Records: Aljamain Sterling (8-0), Cody Gibson (11-3) 
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    No disrespect to Gibson, but this fight is noteworthy because it marks the UFC debut of Sterling, a decorated amateur wrestler and one of the brightest prospects in the entire sport.

    He has powerful takedowns and strikes, and his submissions aren't bad, either, to say the least. He has had his way on the ground with just about everybody he has faced.

    Gibson is to be commended for taking this fight on less than two weeks' notice after Lucas Martins fell injured. But Sterling should make short work of him.

    Prediction: Sterling, Submission, Rd. 1

Raphael Assuncao vs. Pedro Munhoz

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    Division: Bantamweight
    Records: Raphael Assuncao (21-4), Pedro Munhoz (10-0)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    As evidenced by Sterling and now fellow UFC debutant Munhoz, the bantamweight division has one of the deepest farm leagues in MMA. 

    But Munhoz will have a much harder test than his co-prospect. The Resurrection Fighting Alliance champ got the call just a week ago, following news that Francisco Rivera had broken his hand. That fight was very likely a title eliminator bout for the division.

    So, yeah. Munhoz's calling card is a quick guillotine choke, which he used to subdue three of his last five opponents, most recently in 41 seconds. It won't be so easy against a stud like Assuncao, who has top-notch jiu-jitsu and will want to make this a battle of position control.

    He'll stay clear of Munhoz's tricks and rely on his experience to get a decision. Munhoz will have his day, but it won't be at UFC 170.

    Prediction: Assuncao, unanimous decision 

Alexis Davis vs. Jessica Eye

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    Division: Women's bantamweight
    Records: Jessica Eye (10-1), Alexis Davis (15-5)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Eye and her drug-test fiasco have cast a pall over an intriguing matchup that might have contender implications for the winner.

    Davis will be looking to go 3-0 in the UFC, and her smothering ground game will lead that effort. Eye is also a grappler who has more of a ground-and-pound bent to contrast with Davis' position control and submission-hunting game.

    Will all the external distractions, the more seasoned veteran in Davis should win the day.

    Prediction: Davis, unanimous decision 

Robert Whittaker vs. Stephen Thompson

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    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Stephen Thompson (8-1), Robert Whittaker (11-3)
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    Someone in the UFC really likes "Wonderboy" Thompson. Maybe several someones.

    And hey, I get it. The camera-ready kickboxing prodigy has been on full display since moving to MMA in 2012. He has notched a 3-1 record since then, thanks largely to matchups with guys who aren't exactly gold medalists in grappling.

    That trend continues with Whittaker, even though he will be Thompson's toughest test to date. Whittaker has decent wrestling to complement his knockout power, even if no one will confuse him with Demian Maia anytime soon. 

    But he should be able to stifle Thompson's creative striking in the clinch or on the ground.

    Prediction: Whittaker, unanimous decision

Mike Pyle vs. T.J. Waldburger

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    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Mike Pyle (25-9-1), T.J. Waldburger (16-8)
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    So Mike Pyle finally got himself on a pay-per-view card. We'll see what he does with the opportunity.

    He took four in a row over some stiff competition before finally being stopped by the freight-training Matt Brown in August. But the veteran is still looking better than he has in quite some time and appears to be better than ever at the age of 38.

    His bread and butter is a tried-and-true submission game. But Waldburger may be one of the most underrated grapplers in the UFC who can tap out an opponent eight different ways from Sunday.

    Pyle has also shown a propensity to bang, even as Waldburger has shown a propensity for getting knocked out (six of his eight pro losses have come that way). It may not be the most picturesque thing, but Pyle should outbattle Waldburger on the feet and notch the W.

    Prediction: Pyle, TKO, Rd. 2

Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia

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    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Rory MacDonald (15-2), Demian Maia (18-5)
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    A lot of the starch went out of that Rory MacDonald game after he lost to Robbie Lawler. He seemed to be thinking too much during the effort and was almost afraid to attack at times.

    If he shows that same hesitance against Maia, he's a dead man, metaphorically speaking. MacDonald has never faced a grappler in the Octagon with the credentials of Maia. Few have, actually, except the ones who have faced Maia.

    The bout is no gimme on the feet for MacDonald, but that's where he'll have his best chance. He'll need to deploy his excellent balance and takedown defense to keep things vertical and throw combinations and kicks at distance to slow Maia's roll.

    If Maia can drag MacDonald down, there's a good chance the action will stay there. But if MacDonald is anything, he's a sound defensive fighter. He'll keep Maia at bay and do just enough to win.

    Prediction: MacDonald, split decision

Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins

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    Division: Light heavyweight
    Records: Daniel Cormier (13-0), Patrick Cummins (4-0)
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    Huge props to Patrick Cummins for not only stepping up on short notice to replace Evans but also to generate a little bit of heat around the matchup

    He is a nice prospect too, with legitimate finishing power. But he has nary a chance against Cormier. "DC" should keep Cummins pinned to the fence, punish him with knees and short elbows and cruise to an easy decision win. It won't advance him to his coveted title shot, but it won't move him backward, either.

    Prediction: Cormier, unanimous decision

Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann

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    Division: Women's bantamweight
    Records: Ronda Rousey (8-0), Sara McMann (7-0)
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    I love the Olympic angle here, especially as the Winter Games are happening. I love Sara McMann as a competitor and as a personality for the sport. She seems like a genuinely good person, and I wouldn't mind my daughters looking up to her.

    But I don't see her having much of a chance here.

    We haven't ever seen a submission machine quite like Rousey. Say what you want; I prefer to let her record—eight wins, all by armbar, all but one in the first round—do the talking.

    McMann might score a moral victory of sorts by getting out of the opening stanza. But she won't go much further. Rousey is an irresistible force until further notice.

    Prediction: Rousey, Submission, Rd. 1 


    Scott Harris writes about MMA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter