Ronda Rousey returns to the Octagon on Saturday night on an eight-week turnaround, defending her women's bantamweight title for the second time in less than two months.
Across the cage, she'll see fellow Olympic medalist Sara McMann, a bullish wrestler who has the potential to match her at every turn and provide her most competitive test to date.
With so many possible outcomes on the table in an MMA fight, the following offers some thoughts on potential conclusions to the UFC 170 main event. Odds provided are estimates for consideration; these numbers may be worth a look if you intend on wagering come fight time.
Rousey is the favorite no matter how you break it down, but it's plausible that she may not finish McMann inside the distance.
Plausible, not probable.
Her run of finishes is unmatched in women's MMA, and she's repeatedly shown that she doesn't need multiple chances to stop an opponent when the time comes.
For this bet to play, you need a Rousey win and 25 minutes of action—the former of which seems safe going in. The decision component is more up in the air, but in terms of measuring value against possible outcomes, this bet could net some income if you can get a line in this range.
McMann is a live dog in her tilt with Rousey, but she's an underdog nonetheless. Vegas has listed her as a pretty clear second-best of the two ladies entering the cage at UFC 170, but she has the tools to find success.
If she does, it's likely to come by way of a physical, aggressive performance that sees her manhandle Rousey with pace and strength. She doesn't have the finishing tools to secure a win inside the distance, but she can still impress the judges over five rounds.
If you're looking to bet the underdog, look for a good number on a decision. Most are writing her off already, but she can win this fight and win it by decision. That might get you paid.
In terms of a prop bet on a fight outcome, Rousey by armbar is not even worth your money. She's won eight in a row in that manner, largely thanks to a lifetime of practicing the move before adapting it to the fledgling sport of women's MMA.
She's already listed as the favorite, but having a defined signature move makes her odds of a submission win even less valuable to a bettor. Don't waste your time or money here.
McMann by submission might actually have some value as an outcome, depending on how adventurous you like to get with your bets. On paper, it seems highly unlikely that she could submit a submission ace, but how often have we seen a strong wrestler tap a black belt with a power move like an arm triangle or guillotine?
If McMann has one thing going for her, it's power, and if you subscribe to the idea that she'll be able to bully Rousey and put her on her back, you may also subscribe to the idea that she could submit her there.
Odds on this will offer great value, and that might be worth a look if you're interested in going big.
Despite outright silly claims to the contrary, Rousey is no striker. She looks good when hitting mitts with her coach or shadowboxing at an open workout, but she is rough around the edges in the cage. It's easy to look good throwing hands when no one is throwing any back at you, and that's very much applicable to the champion.
She's also not known for ruthless ground-and-pound or remarkable raw punching power either. It's more likely that you'll see her lunging in with a one-two-clinch with her chin up and weight thrown forward than you'll see her slipping and ripping like Floyd Mayweather.
The improbability of a Rousey stoppage from strikes of any kind makes this something to ponder depending on your betting style. If you're sure of a Rousey win, this will offer the best prop odds for the favorite, but if you're not, it might be worth keeping your money for another fight or card.
If you like the underdog and are fully committed to making some cash on her but don't want to go totally crazy, the McMann by (T)KO bet is for you. You're already getting long odds on her as she readies to face a vaunted champion, and most can't envision her stopping Rousey.
There's a serious case to be made that McMann's best avenue to victory is to take the long road by wrestling the champion all night and grinding her down with ground-and-pound and pure physical force across five rounds. Believing that to be true, it's not hard to imagine her catching Rousey with a couple of big elbows or punches on the ground and riding that momentum to a stoppage.
It's probably easiest to see her winning by decision if you see her winning at all, but from a bettor's perspective, a McMann win via (T)KO might be the most appealing look in the books.
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