Holy smokes! It’s less than two months since the UFC women’s bantamweight belt was on the line and here we go again! Undefeated Ronda Rousey is set to defend her 12 pounds of gold against her similarly undefeated foe – Sara McMann – in the first ever match between Olympic medalists in the promotion’s history.

That’s not all. Two undefeated wrestlers will go at it as late replacement Pat Cummings attempts to pull off the biggest upset in UFC history against Daniel Cormier in DC’s light heavyweight debut. Add another nine scraps into the equation and you’ve got quite the schedule of combat action in store for tomorrow night. Let’s do the breakdown thing.


UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship – Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann

First woman ever to medal in judo at the Olympics? Spoilt brat? Arrogant bitch? Forget all of the UFC’s promotional rubbish and knee-jerk reactions to Rowdy Ronda’s reactions to Meisha Tate’s taunting. This woman is a phenomenal athlete who looks pretty much unbeatable at the moment.

Rousey looked better than ever in her last fight even though it was the first time she had been taken out of the first round. That just gave her more time to throw her nemesis around like she was a rag doll for longer. Some said Tate did well to get that far. I disagree. I’d say she was lucky the champ didn’t just decide to finish the fight at any time she wanted. Sara McMann is in for a similar fate.

If the former Olympic wrestler tries to clinch with Rousey, she’s getting tossed to the mat. If she does get a takedown Rousey’s legs will be flying into the air to threaten with a submission. Every one of McMann’s strong suits can be met with a dangerous counter from the champion. Her striking is arguably not as good as Rousey’s either.

Unfortunately for all the haters out there, it will take something remarkable and out of the blue from Sara McMann to stop Ronda Rousey finishing the fight tomorrow and walking out of the Octagon with that belt once again.

The pick: What else? Rousey by armbar. Perhaps not in round one though. Let’s say round three.


Light Heavyweight – Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins

As much as it’s a wonderful story to see Patrick Cummings lifted from horriffic coffee shop work into a UFC co-main event in the space of a fortnight, not many people seem to be giving him much of a chance. There’s a good reason for that. Daniel Cormier was one of the five best heavyweights in the world and he looks set for a similar position at light heavyweight.

While DC he might not looked quite as unstoppable so far in the UFC as he did when he was destroying ‘Bigfoot’ Silva or Josh Barnett, it’s worth remembering he was up against some skilled and experienced veterans. Cummings has skills, but very little experience. Unless he can turn this fight into a wrestling match Cormier has all the tools to light him up with his lightning-quick punches that he likes to throw in combinations.

The Pick: Daniel Cormier by TKO in the first round.


Welterweight – Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia

There was a time when a fight between the fourth and sixth ranked welterweights in the world would have got MMA fans into a feverish frenzy. Not so in these days of a zillion UFC events a month, but that doesn’t take away from what an intriguing match up this promises to be – not least because it’s so tough to call.

MacDonald cannot afford to fight without urgency after his defeat at the hands of Robbie Lawler. His unwillingness to engage allowed the ‘Ruthless’ fan favourite to land counters and run away with the fight. When ‘Ares’ finally got on his bike to try and impose himself on the match it was far too late. He’s going to want to get after Demian Maia too, because that man has not waited around since his drop from middleweight.

No longer at a weight disadvantage, Maia aggressively looked for the clinch to drag opponents to the mat and begin the submission hunt at 170 pounds. He was neutralised by the grappling of Jake Shields but Rick Story and Jon Fitch were practically helpless when faced with Maia’s brand of world-class grappling.

MacDonald might be wary of using his wrestling. He’s not a power-double kind of fighter and any other sort of tie up would spell trouble for him. He does have better striking, though not with the sort of ferocity that would trouble Maia to force a stoppage.

The Pick: By a flip of a coin I’ll go for MacDonald, jabbing his way to a tepid decision though fear of losing again. Making everyone including Uncle Dana mad. I hope I’m wrong as these men are capable of an exciting grappling battle.


Welterweight – Mike Pyle vs. TJ Waldburger

TJ Waldburger is not one to hang around. He is aggressive in his hunt for submissions and given his opponent’s thrashing in seconds at the hands of Matt Brown he might well be happy to come out swinging too.

‘Quicksand’ Pyle is nearing the end of his career at 38 years old, but he’s still dangerous, especially against a young man with a fondness for submissions. Pyle has as much grappling savvy as just about anyone in the UFC, but is just as willing to get rough and ready to rough a man up and finish a fight with knees and punches. As long as he can survive an early onslaught he’s capable of taking a few more scalps. Even if the one in front of him happens to be 13 years younger than his.

The pick: This should be a fun one to watch as Waldburger goes all-out for the tap, but as long as Pyle stays calm he should be able to grind the fight into his favour and get a finish via strikes in the second or third frame.


Welterweight – Robert Whittaker vs. Stephen Thompson

‘Wonderboy’. What is the secret of your powers? That’s an easy one. Kickboxing. What is the secret to Robert Whittaker winning this fight? Take Stephen Thompson down!  

To be fair to Thompson, he has improved in his ability to stay on his feet and survive in the clinch since he was exposed by Matt Brown, but he will still be in a world of trouble if he is put on his back. While The TUF Smashes winner Whittaker has shown little interest in fighting on the mat so far in his UFC career thus far, one would have to imagine he would consider doing so this time around. Failing that, his all-round MMA approach to striking may just be enough to get the win regardless.

The pick: Robert Whittaker by unanimous decision.



There’s a few things that might be worth your time on this preliminary card, which – compared to recent UFC Fight Night outings – does not look to be filled with a great deal of filler.

Watch out for Raphael Assunção and Alexis Davis shoot for a title shot in both the men’s and women’s bantamweight divisions respectively at the top of the card, while Zach ‘Fun Size’ Makovsky looks to make it two flyweight wins out of two in the UFC and establish himself as a contender to seriously take note of.

Finally, it will be interesting to see how Erik Koch does at 155 pounds. ‘New Breed’ was touted as a title contender once upon a time but two defeats and no wins since September 2011 has put him at a crossroads in his career. He is still young though so maybe a change in weight class is the shot in the arm he needs.

Women’s Bantamweight – Alexis Davis vs. Jessica Eye

Bantamweight – Raphael Assunção vs. Pedro Munhoz

Bantamweight – Cody Gibson vs. Aljamain Sterling

Flyweight – Zach Makovsky vs. Josh Sampo

Lightweight – Rafaello Oliveira vs. Erik Koch

Lightweight – Ernest Chavez vs. Yosdenis Cedeno