Morning Report: Julianna Pena talks road to recovery, believes Sara McMann's wrestling too much for Ronda Rousey's judo

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Just weeks removed from a catastrophic knee injury suffered during training, TUF 18 season winner Julianna Pena says she's dealing with rehab through gritted teeth.

"The Surgery was a four-hour procedure," Pena tells FOX Sports. "It was very painful. I'm in a lot of pain now. I'm only about a week out from surgery so it's still really fresh. But everything went as expected. When you're taking and using your own patella for a reconstruction of an ACL there's going to be a lot of pain as opposed to if you used a cadaver. So I'm in a lot of pain but I just get better every single day. I'm looking forward to more days going by so I can get better and get healthy and get to where I want to be and feel comfortable."

Pena suffered a torn ACL, MCL, LCL and meniscus Jan. 29 while training for her fight against Jessica Andrade at UFC 171. Furious, UFC president Dana White went as far as to say she was 'attacked.'

"I've accepted the fact that it's happened now and the recovery process is the only thing I can focus on. Staying positive has definitely played a key role in my day to day life.

"I suffered a knee injury before on my other knee and I came back from it after recovery to win The Ultimate Fighter. Everything happens for a reason. This is just a minor setback and I can't wait to see what's going to happen when I come back after this surgery and what I'm going to be able to overcome."

As for this weekend's main event between UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann, it sounds like the wrestlers are sticking together.

"'Wrestling beats Judo every singe time.' I think if there's a wrestler out there to do it Sara McMann is the one to be able to put it in motion. She's a silver medalist in the Olympics and she's as good a wrestler as you're going to get. She's a worthy competitor and as ready for competition as anybody. I think she stands a really good chance of winning this fight. If anyone has a good chance of winning it's Sara McMann because of her wrestling background.

"I don't know how good her jiu jitsu game is and I know Ronda is pretty good off her back so that might be the only thing to cause a threat to Sara but I don't see her giving up her posture and being armbarred in any sort of devastating fashion like Ronda has been able to pull off with her opponents in the past. I think she's going to do really well against Ronda. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised with how well she does."

Pena, who represented Team Tate to become the UFC's first-ever female Ultimate Fighter, doesn't necessarily believe Rousey's past success with wrestlers like Miesha Tate will translate Saturday night against McMann.

"I think [McMann] has a more solid wrestling base. She's not going to be tripped and taken down quite as easily as Ronda's other opponents. It's going to be really interesting to see the Judo vs. wrestling dynamic play out and watch the wrestling take over."

[Pena's comments begin at 1:21:00]

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

More testing. Vitor Belfort thinks Chris Weidman should also be subjected to blood tests leading up to their title bout at UFC 173.

Low blow. Wanderlei Silva takes it up a notch by slamming Chael Sonnen's use of testosterone replacement therapy.

Chat Wrap. Luke Thomas talks Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins, Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann, Gilbert Melendez and Bellator, UFC fighter pay, Dana White and more in this week's live chat.

Refocused with chicken. Daniel Cormier talks having to switch back into fight mode after having a Popeye's breakdown when he heard his fight was off.

Machida on TRT? Lyoto Machida says he'd consider the treatment. "I would do. If I was in the rules and to match with everybody else's condition, there wouldn't be a problem."

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MEDIA STEW

Make sure to check out our media workout scrum videos with Ronda Rousey, Sara McMann, Daniel Cormier and Patrick Cummins.

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Countdown to UFC 170: Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann.

Countdown to UFC 170: Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins

Countdown to UFC 170: Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia

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Rousey media workout highlights.

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New Tommy Toe Hold.

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Mike Pyle talks UC 170 fight against TJ Waldburger, entering top 10 goal of 2014 & fatherhood.

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Urijah Faber moving on from Barao loss and sticking with bantamweight.

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Free Fight: Daniel Cormier vs. Frank Mir.

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Long watches.

Fight News Now - UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann, GSP: "Things Need to Change", The DNA of GSP

UFC 170 Rousey vs McMann MMA Vivisection In-Depth preview & predictions

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TWEETS

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Closing in.

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What are the chance?

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Congrats.

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Can't tell if this is some sort of shanty town or a playground.

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Just to clarify.

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Everyone.

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Oh my.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Feb. 19 2014)

Soa Palelei vs. Ruan Potts at UFC Fight Night 40

Justin Salas vs. Ben Wall at UFC Fight Night 40

Gleison Tibau out, Michel Prazeres vs. Mairbek Taisumov at UFC Fight Night 38

Steve Bosse vs. Ryan Jimmo at TUF Nations Finale

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via EthanRubyMMA.

Breakdown: UFC 170 Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann

Never too often do two undefeated fighters meet in a UFC Championship, but never have two Olympic medallist turned undefeated MMA stars fought against each other for UFC gold or at all for that matter. At UFC 170 Ronda Rousey will put her Women's Bantamweight title on the line against fellow Olympian and number one contender Sara McMann, in a fight of the two best female fighters in the world.

Overview

Rousey is coming off of a hard fought fight against Meisha Tate where she was finally taken out of the first round. Some people's criticism of Rousey in the past has been "Well what if she goes past the first round? She'll gas" Well it didn't look that way as she never lost an ounce of steam against Tate. McMann on the other hand is coming off a first round TKO win over Shelia Gaff, but has also gone the full distance in the past without cardio issues as seen in her win over Shayna Baszler. Both of these Women are Olympic level athletes and so coming into this fight it's not going to be a difference of heart, will or cardio but rather a difference of skills, and skills make fights right?

How do they match up?

McMann

Numbers: Str. Acc. 51%, Str. Def. 55%, TD Acc. 80%, TD. Avg. 6.78

An Olympic silver medallist in wrestling, McMann has translated into MMA extremely well as seen with her suffocating top game that with a savvy submission game keeps her opponents on the defence throughout their fights. With her wrestling base McMann is able to choose where her fights take place, and against Rousey that might be a major factor as she won't be easy to takedown. McMann's physical strength is also one of her biggest attributes and when she gets under-hooks on an opponent her pure strength is really shown. In her fight against Raquel Pa'aluhi she was able to rage doll her once she got her hooks and also against Hitomi Akano. Both times in these fights her opponents were trying to hip toss her from the "Buddy system" position as I like to call it. Instantly in both cases McMann got her hooks in and took her opponent down, now Rousey is an absolute pro at throwing her opponents but against McMann she might end up on her back. McMann's wrestling game is going to be an absolute assent in this fight.

...

Check out the rest of the post here.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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