UFC 170 Results: 5 Stars from Las Vegas
Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann met in a battle for UFC gold on Saturday.
Displaying her increased popularity, Rousey headlined a UFC pay-per-view for the second time at UFC 170. As an Olympic medalist in freestyle wrestling, McMann presented a legitimate threat to the queen of women's MMA, though.
With movie roles piling up, Rousey is becoming a star outside the Octagon. Was she able to remain one of the biggest stars inside the cage over the weekend?
Here are UFC 170's five best performers.
5. Erik Koch
Result: Erik Koch defeated Rafaello Oliveira by (T)KO in the first round.
Many fighters had solid outings at UFC 170.
With their victories on Saturday, Daniel Cormier, Raphael Assuncao, Alexis Davis and Zach Makovsky would have likely been top performers on most fight cards. However, all those competitors fell short this time around.
Instead, Erik Koch was the fifth biggest star on the fight card with his successful return to the lightweight division. The Roufusport fighter came into UFC 170 with two straight losses. Needing a win over Rafaello Oliveira, Koch hardly played it safe and put the Brazilian away with a straight left in less than two minutes.
4. Mike Pyle
Result: Mike Pyle defeated TJ Waldburger by (T)KO in the third round.
After he was a denied a fifth straight victory by Matt Brown, Mike Pyle returned to the win column on Saturday.
Facing a dangerous grappler in TJ Waldburger, Pyle willingly went to the canvas multiple times, securing four takedowns over less than three rounds. The veteran was able to safely pass Waldburger's tricky guard and was ultimately rewarded for his somewhat surprising game plan with a ground-and-pound finish.
While he's 38 years old, Pyle does not appear to be slowing down much. In his past 12 fights, "Quicksand" has only lost to highly ranked welterweights Brown, Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger.
3. Stephen Thompson
Result: Stephen Thompson defeated Robert Whittaker by (T)KO in the first round.
At this point, Stephen Thompson has made it clear that opponents shouldn't try to stand with him.
On Saturday, "Wonderboy" met Australian brawler Robert Whittaker, who must have thought he had the chin to force some wild exchanges with Thompson. One of the more technical strikers in the welterweight division, Thompson showed that surviving a stand-up fight with him will take more than a good beard.
He ate some jabs for keeping his hands low, but Thompson was in control from the start and took less than four minutes to become the first fighter to hand Whittaker a knockout loss.
2. Rory MacDonald
Result: Rory MacDonald defeated Demian Maia by unanimous decision.
After allowing a takedown in the first round, Rory MacDonald fought brilliantly against Demian Maia in the second and third stanzas to return to title contention.
The Canadian made the mistake of walking into a Maia takedown early on and spent a majority of the first frame attempting to work up from the bottom. Once the second round began, he did a much better job of working from outside the range of Maia's takedowns.
While defending 17 of 19 takedowns over the final two rounds, he lit Maia up with 69 significant strikes. Most of those were jabs and straights, which allowed "Ares" to remain at a safe distance while mixing in kicks en route to an important decision victory.
1. Ronda Rousey
Result: Ronda Rousey defeated Sara McMann by (T)KO in the first round.
The incredible armbar streak came to end on Saturday, but Ronda Rousey got back to finishing in the first round against Sara McMann.
After eating some significant shots while moving forward, Rousey was able to secure a clinch. While she couldn't set up a throw against McMann, a world-class wrestler, Rousey began landing knees and eventually put the challenger down with a well-placed knee to the body slightly more than one minute into the first round.
Before McMann's body allowed her to attempt to stand, referee Herb Dean stepped in and named Rousey the winner. Now 3-0 inside the Octagon, Rousey is beginning to look like a champion who could reign over her division for quite some time.
Statistics via FightMetric.com.