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.
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?
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.
Numbers: Str. Acc. 61%, Str. Def. 56%, TD Avg. 8.11, TD Acc. 71%
A bronze medallist in Judo, Rousey has been able to toss every one of her opponents around like rag dolls, and ultimately has ended all her fights by her patented arm-bar. It’s hard to think of any other "one trick ponies" in mma that have had the same level of success Rousey has had. One of Rouseys biggest assets that people might not realize is her fight IQ and her ground transitions because of this. Rousey is a master at anticipating what her opponents are going to do and counters what they’re doing before they've even done it and that's why she’s so good at getting in position to get the armbar. With a 71% takedown accuracy and an average takedown rate of 8.11 its clear that Rousey likes to spend her time on the mat, but rarely is she ever on her back with only Miesha Tate being an opponent that has put her there and only done it twice in two fights with Rousey. Another one of Rousey's strengths is reversing the takedown when put against her, a clear use of her judo base, something that might come in use against McMann.
What does this all mean?
Well looking at the stats of these two you can easily see that these two like to be on the mat, with Rousey attempting 8.11 takedowns on average and McMann attempting 6.78. When looking at the striking numbers their pretty close, with each landing close to half their strikes and taking about half punches thrown at them, not so awesome but not terrible. With both of these ladies preferring to do their work on the mat it seems as this one is destined to get to the floor, and fast.
The biggest X Factor of this fight has to be the timetable these two fighters have been on. Rousey is coming of the fastest turnaround of her career and one of the fastest turnaround ever having fought at UFC 168 in late December, while McMann hasn't fought since last April because of a foot injury sustained in training. Who knows if this could be a factor but ring rust is real and could be a burden on McMann coming in this fight.
How do I see it going?
I think this is going to be the toughest challenge to date for Rousey, but with that being said I still see her winning inside the distance. Once on the ground Rousey will ultimately be too much for McMann to handle but getting McMann to the floor is going to be a huge challenge that Rousey has been craving in an opponent. After a feeling out process in the first Rousey is going to try and take it to the ground but won’t get it turning this into a clinch battle. Rousey after some time will take this to the ground though, and will end up taking an arm home.
Rousey 3rd Round Submission (Arm-Bar)