Ronda Rousey will look for her third successful title defense when she headlines the UFC 170 fight card against Sara McMann. It will be the first time two Olympians meet inside the Octagon, and another Olympian, Daniel Cormier, will make his light-heavyweight debut against Rashad Evans in the co-main event.
That’s all set to take place on Feb. 22 at at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
Without further ado, here are my UFC 170 predictions:
Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann (women’s bantamweight title bout)
Someone’s “0” will go when these two meet inside the Octagon at UFC 170. McMann (7-0-0, 3 submissions), who was a senior women’s freestyle wrestling silver medalist during the 2004 Summer Olympics, looked awesome during her debut with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, making quick work out of Sheila Gaff at UFC 159.
Rousey (8-0-0, 8 submissions), who was a judo bronze medalist during the 2008 Olympics, was even more impressive during her last outing, manhandling Miesha Tate during the first two rounds of their Dec. 28 encounter, then, putting “Cup Cake” away early in the third.
It’ll be interesting to see how McMann’s wrestling matches up against Rousey’s judo, but the latter is clearly the more experienced MMA fighter. More than likely, McMann will find herself overwhelmed by Ronda, like most who have dared to step inside the cage with “Rowdy.”
Prediction: Rousey wins via submission.
Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins
Cormier (13-0-0, 5 KOs) will officially begin his quest for the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light-heavyweight title when he squares off against Evans (19-3-1, 7 KOs) at UFC 170. “DC” has been dominant in his two fights inside the Octagon, defeating Frank Mir and Roy Nelson both via unanimous decision. He didn’t lose a single round on any of the Octagon-side judges’ scorecards during both fights.
Cummins is coming in as a late replacement for Cormier’s original opponent, Rashad Evans (who pulled out due to a leg injury), and he currently sports a 4-0 pro MMA record.
However, he’s never faced anyone remotely close to DC’s level inside the cage, so he’ll likely be in over his head at UFC 170.
Prediction: Cormier wins via TKO.
Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia
Redemption will be on the minds of these two when they square off at UFC 170. MacDonald’s five-fight win streak ended when he faced Robbie Lawler during his last outing, losing via split decision.
Maia’s undefeated streak in the UFC’s welterweight division ended during his last outing against Jake Shields, losing via split decision as well.
Rory (15-2-0, 6 KOs) should have the advantage striking-wise, but I’m not sure he has the grappling skills to keep an anaconda like Maia (18-5-0, 9 submissions) off him. Expect a dominant grappling clinic from Maia.
Prediction: Maia wins via submission.
Mike Pyle vs. TJ Waldburger
Both men were knocked out early in their last outings, and there’s a decent chance one of them will be knocked out again at UFC 170.
Pyle (25-9-1, 16 submissions) is the more-rounded — and experienced — MMA fighter, and that should be enough to lead him to victory against Waldburger (16-8-0, 13 submissions).
Prediction: Pyle wins via TKO.
Robert Whittaker vs. Stephen Thompson
This is an intriguing matchup featuring two excellent strikers with unorthodox styles. Thompson (8-1-0, 4 KOs) is coming off a TKO victory against Chris Clements, but he’ll be in for a much tougher test in Whittaker.
Whittaker (11-3-0, 5 KOs) lost his last fight against Court McGee, losing a controversial split decision, and he’ll be eager to get back to the winning side of things.
The striking exchanges should be pretty even, but Robert is the more-rounded fighter. That should be the difference maker at UFC 170.
Prediction: Whittaker wins via TKO.
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