It is being dubbed the battle of the Olympians.
UFC women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey is a Olympic bronze medalist in Judo, while McMann is the first American female wrestler to medal, a silver at the 2004 Athens games.
The big question is: Can McMann work Rousey on the ground?
We shall see.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman checks in with her thoughts on the card:
UFC FIGHT PASS PRELIMS (7PM ET/4PM PT)
ERNEST “THE MAD TITAN” CHAVEZ (6-0-0) VS YOSDENIS “THE PINK PANTHER” CEDENO (9-2-0)
Wiseman: There’s no secret to what the game plan will be here, stand and bang until the other fighter falls. Cedeno has more experience, but the majority of his fights have been finished via KO. Then again, that’s the same for Chevez. How do you predict this one considering it’s just a chance game that both are playing? Well, I’m basing it on movement and technique. Cedeno is better at setting up each punch, with superior combinations. Therefore, he has the edge.
Wiseman Prediction: Yosdenis “The Pink Panther” Cedeno via TKO.
RAFAELLO “TRACTOR” OLIVEIRA (15-6-0) VS ERIK “NEW BREED” KOCH (13-3-0)
Wiseman: The biggest different with these fighters is the takedown defence and the ability to control where the fight goes. Koch will mix strikes in there to begin the fight, but only to set up the takedown. Oliveira does have a ground game, but nothing in comparison to Koch. As soon as the gap closes, it’s all Koch.
Wiseman Prediction: Erik “New Breed” Koch via submission.
SPORTSNET 360 PRELIMS (8PM ET/5PM PT)
#10 “FUN SIZE” ZACH MAKOVSKY (16-4-0) VS “THE GREMLIN” JOSH SAMPO (11-2-0)
Wiseman: A ground game chess match is what can be expected here. Neither fighter is known for their striker, but on the mat it’s a different world. Sampo is stronger on the mat, but will eat a few strikes from Makovsky before he is able to transition. Makovsky will also be able to counter several submission attempts, but in the scoring department it will be Sampo winning.
Wiseman Prediction: Josh Sampo via decision.
CODY “THE RENEGADE” GIBSON (11-3-0) VS ALJAMAIN “FUNKMASTER” STERLING (8-0-0)
Wiseman: You could say this is a striker vs. grappler match, but that wouldn’t be quite right. Gibson does have superior striker and power when compared to Sterling, but that doesn’t mean he is a fool on the mat. Sterling is a superior fighter on the mat and he will want to drag the fight there to stand a chance, but Gibson will be able to stay out of danger to keep things standing.
Wiseman Prediction: Cody “The Renegade” Gibson via TKO.
#3 RAPHAEL ASSUNCAO (20-4-0) VS PEDRO ” THE YOUNG PUNISHER” MUNHOZ (10-0-0)
Wiseman: Munhoz may be coming into this fight with a undefeated record and a sick ground game, but he isn’t in for a joyride against Assuncao. No matter which way I try to see Munhoz winning this fight, it just doesn’t add up to be a good night for him. Assuncao can match him on the mat and he has the power and striking advanage. Experiencewise, there is no competition.
Wiseman Prediction: Raphael Assuncao via TKO.
#3 ALEXIS DAVIS (15-5-0) VS #5 JESSICA “EVIL” EYE (11-1-0)
Wiseman: Let’s be honest here: Davis is a savage. She is a striker with proficient on the mat. Regardless of how much blood she loses, she isn’t going to back down. Eye will challenge most in the striking department, but the experience, skills, and heart of Davis will open the eyes of Eye.
Wiseman Prediction: Alexis Davis via submission.
MAIN CARD (10PM ET/7PM PT)
ROBERT WHITTAKER (12-3-0) VS STEPHEN “WONDERBOY” THOMPSON (8-1-0)
Wiseman: Considering anyone can be knocked out when fighting either Whittaker or Thompson means we have to take their power off the table. It’s when we compare their other skill settings that we see the winner appear. Whittaker is a versatile fighter. He can end the fight standing or on the mat. His defence, whether striking or stuffing takedowns, is amongst the best. Thompson is good in all areas, but he isn’t as good as Whittaker. Whittaker is a fighter who is continuing to evolve and find himself, so certainly someone that is going to be a threat in the future. Right now he is learning and making his way through the crowd and Thompson is a part of that.
Wiseman Prediction: Robert Whittaker via submission.
#15 MIKE “QUICKSAND” PYLE (25-9-1) VS TJ WALDBURGER (16-8-0)
Wiseman: This is going to be an entertaining fight. These guys have both power and ground games. There is no worries about whether or not they will actually fight because they both come to put on a show, so it’s all quality here. Waldburger does have a slight ground game advantage, but it is slight. Pyle is fast with powerful striking, and will certainly challenge Waldburger on the mat. The more versatile and experienced fighter is Pyle who has continued to impress me with his fights.
Wiseman Prediction: Mike “Quicksand” Pyle via TKO.
RORY “ARES” MACDONALD (15-2-0) VS #6 DEMIAN MAIA (18-5-0)
Wiseman: While GSP mentioned both these fighters as being amongst the best in the welterweight division, it’s really MacDonald who has to make an impression here. Maia has been on a rush since dropping to this division while Rory has gone from entertaining to a reserved fighter. His last fight against Robbie Lawler ended with his face rearranged, but he ultimately didn’t turn things on until the end of the fight. Maia is coming off a loss as well, but it was a split decision against Shields, the person that GSP claims is the best in the division. Either way, a split decision is stronger then a beating in my books. Whatever the case, MacDonald is going to want to use his striking and wrestling, as these are his strongest arsenals. The problem is Maia has improved tremendously with his striking. He still isn’t the sharpest by a long shot, but I see him trying to strike then closing the gap to make this a grappling match. Even if he doesn’t close the gap, MacDonald will, which leaves the doors open for Maia to enforce his submission game.
Wiseman Prediction: Demian Maia via submission.
DANIEL “DC” CORMIER (13-0-0) VS PATRICK CUMMINS (4-0-0)
Wiseman: Is this really happening? Cormier dropping to 205 is fantastic and he is going to be such a threat in this division. Patrick Cummings coming out of nowhere just so Cormier’s training doesn’t go down the crapper is my issue. It’s awesome that Cormier is going to fight after all this training, but this isn’t even going to be a test for Cormier. Not only has Cormier faced bigger and better opponents, he has completed a full training camp. What has Cummings done? He has managed to get on the main card somehow and thrown a few words around to try to create hype for this fight. Wild! Not a test a all for Cormier who is going to lay a severe beating on Cummings.
Wiseman Prediction: Daniel “DC” Cormier via TKO.
“ROWDY” RONDA ROUSEY (8-0-0) VS #4 SARA MCMANN (7-0-0)
Wiseman: This is the fight that I’ve wanted for such a long time. McMann has shown promise from the first time I saw her fight with Invicta FC. Her striking, low-wrestling stance, movement, ground game, etc. She is just such a fantastic fighter. Rousey is a different kind of machine. In her latest fight against Meisha Tate she not only shut people up who questioned her gas tank, but she blew my mind with her ground game and improved striking. McMann is still the superior striker with more power, but we’ve seen Rousey fight people like Liz Carmouche and Sarah Kaufmann, fighters known for their striking, yet she brought things into her world. McMann will want to clip Rousey with all her power for a KO finish. It’s a possibility, but you can’t put all your eggs in that basket. The other area McMann can drag this is to the mat, which while it is her strongest area, no one wants to have Rousey on the mat. I even put it out there that Rousey is better off her back than she is in top position. The ground game that Rousey has is something that I’ve never seen inside the UFC, she is just putting limbs everywhere and no one can stop what they know is coming, the arm bar.
Wiseman Prediction: “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey via armbar.