NEWARK, NJ -- Tossing her hat into the ring of women's bantamweight contenders, Sara McMann showed off her wrestling chops and then closed with ground strikes, efficiently dispatching Sheila Gaff via first-round technical knockout in a UFC 159 prelim bout.
After action stalled on the ground after McMann's first takedown, the pair restarted and McMann took her down again. She quickly trapped Gaff in a mounted crucifix and hammered down right hands from the top position until referee Gaspar Oliver determined that Gaff had enough.
The stoppage came at 4:06.
McMann, who was an Olympic freestyle wrestling silver medalist in 2004, is considered by many to have the raw tools to challenge champion Ronda Rousey, herself a former Olympic medalist, though in judo.
McMann said that all week, she had prepared herself for the debut by telling herself it was no different than competing in a wrestling world championship.
"That helped me deal with my nervousness and the size of the crowd," she said. The win improved her record to 7-0, with four wins by stoppage.
Gaff (10-5-1) has a reputation for fearsome standpoint, but McMann never gave her the space to get her offensive rhythm, and once the American found her dominant position, the fight was over.
"I was trying to get some elbows in there, too," she said. "My coaches are always telling me to throw more elbows because they're so brutal, but I didn't have the right range. I just thought if I keep executing, she can't roll through and they're going to stop it."