UFC 170 Predictions: How Each Main Card Fight Will End
UFC 170 hits pay-per-view on Saturday night with a five-fight main card. Ronda Rousey defends her title against fellow Olympian Sara McMann while Daniel Cormier takes on his newfound nemesis Pat Cummins in the co-main event.
The rest of the main card is rounded out with a series of welterweight bouts, including a competitive scrap between Rory MacDonald and Demian Maia.
Here are some predictions on how these fights, and the rest, will end.
Robert Whittaker vs. Stephen Thompson
Whittaker is coming off a loss after a step up in competition, while Thompson has rebounded from the only loss of his career with a pair of UFC wins. Both men are still prospects, however they're seasoned enough at this point that they should put on a pretty good show.
The striking edge has to go to Thompson, a 20-0 kickboxer who has transitioned to MMA and shown some prowess. Whittaker has more raw power and is definitely more of a bully.
All things being equal, this one should be Whittaker's to lose. He's got more physical tools and a little more of a roughneck approach. As Matt Brown showed, that's the way to give Thompson a hard time.
Prediction: Robert Whittaker via unanimous decision.
Mike Pyle vs. TJ Waldburger
Pyle is a veteran gatekeeper, taking on Waldburger at a time when the young Texan must have motion sickness from all the bumps in his UFC road. Any time he gets some momentum he ends up on the wrong side of a KO and it's back down the ladder he goes.
Coming off a loss to Adlan Amagov and sitting at 4-3 in the UFC overall, it's not likely that he'll get another shot if he loses to Pyle. For his part, Pyle hasn't lost to a lower-ranked fighter in five years and might be the best he's ever been at 38 years old.
Sorry TJ, but this is the wrong guy at the wrong time.
Prediction: Mike Pyle via unanimous decision.
Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia
This one has been under the radar, save for the few hours where it looked like it might be your co-main event of the evening when Rashad Evans went down. It's the classic grizzled vet against the young buck, and it basically breaks down in two ways.
If MacDonald is going to win he has to keep the fight standing and stay out of Maia's unorthodox clinch to keep from being tripped or thrown. The risk of winning a fight from within Maia's guard isn't worth it, and if he's on bottom...well...the less said about that the better.
Maia needs to close the distance and drag MacDonald to the ground, where he can bully the Canadian and work for submissions. He'll win a ground fight on points even if he can't finish, whereas MacDonald will win a fight on the feet the same way thanks to his persistent jab.
Overall it's an appealing fight on paper, but it may be less interesting in the cage. Look for the occasional booing fit from the fans and the judges to get a little work in.
Prediction: Rory MacDonald via unanimous decision.
Daniel Cormier vs. Pat Cummins
It's probably safe to say that this one will play out in the cage the way it looks to play out on paper. Cormier, coming off a full camp and a weight cut that seems to be going swimmingly, will take on Cummins, who was foaming lattes this time last month and is an inexperienced mixed martial artist, to be kind.
Cummins is to be commended for taking this one on short notice and doing an excellent job selling the fight, but he'll need something special to beat Cormier. Many are tapping the AKA product as the next new challenge for Jon Jones, and it's hard to see him letting that slip by here.
Prediction: Daniel Cormier via TKO, Round 1.
Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann
There's a real sense that this is going to be a romp for Rousey, another arm to throw in the pile she's collected at this point in her career. That's ignorant to the skills that McMann possesses and oblivious to her own Olympic credentials.
McMann is a bulldog, a woman who has endured things that most people couldn't dream of. She's tough and durable and she will absolutely not be broken. Those who know her best insist she'll rise to the occasion, and the track record is there to suggest that's possible.
Rousey, for all her bravado, is still a work in progress who has a handful of attacks that she'll always rely on when the going gets tough. She doesn't like to be hit and she's not great at hitting herself, and her bread and butter is wading into clinch range, throwing her opponent, and grabbing an arm—perhaps after establishing positional dominance, perhaps not.
Stardom doesn't make the fighter, and having your face on the poster doesn't entitle you to win. McMann is going to pressure Rousey, she is going to put Rousey on her back (perhaps more than once), and the world is going to see what Rousey's made of with someone bigger, stronger and of equal athleticism in her face and pressing the issue.
It's incredibly tough to call, but this will be the biggest test of Rousey's career by far. She takes it, but only because her main tool to finish is more potent than any that McMann has at this stage in her career.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey via Submission (armbar), Round 4.
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