UFC 170 Preview
Friday, February 21
UFC 170 Preview by Adam Curley Ronda Rousey vs Sara McMann It seems we’ve finally found a genuine threat to the reign of Women’s champion Ronda Rousey; it’s Olympian versus Olympian, judo versus wrestling, when Sara McMann hits the Octagon in Vegas.The face of women’s MMA has faced willing challengers in her two UFC appearances, but McMann, a silver medallist at the 2004 Athens games, is a lifelong athlete who knows weight cuts, training camps and competing like the back of her hand.Rousey is used to throwing opponents around the Octagon at will, but she won’t have that luxury when she locks onto McMann, so this could be the first time the title holder is pushed into the championship rounds.‘Rowdy’ says her striking is now as good as any woman on the planet and with both women undefeated in their MMA careers, she might need it to keep her streak alive. Prediction: Rousey by split decision. Daniel Cormier vs Patrick CumminsAs if the weight cut wasn’t tough enough for Daniel Cormier, he’s now in a lose-lose situation against Patrick Cummins, after his original opponent Rashad Evans went down with a knee injury. If ‘DC” wins, he merely did what he was expected to do against the debutant, if he somehow loses, his title aspirations are in tatters.Cummins’ pre-fight barbs have shown a different side to Cormier than we’re used to seeing, usually one of the nicest guys in the sport, the Olympian is fired up and angry, which is not a good thing for the underdog.Personally, I’m excited to see this version of Cormier in his light heavyweight debut and I expect Cummins to be anything but chirpy once the fight is over.Prediction: Cormier by TKO round two.Rory MacDonald vs Demian MaiaWith the shake-up of the 170-pound division of late this fight has genuine title implications. While a win for either man won’t get them an immediate shot at the belt, it will move them one step closer, especially with an impressive finish.MacDonald will be seething knowing the man who beat him last start, Robbie Lawler, is now fighting for the vacant welterweight title against Jonny Hendricks at UFC 171 in less than a month. The Canadian looked sluggish and disinterested in that loss and will need to start well against Maia.The Brazilian’s loss to Jake Shields in October halted the momentum of three straight wins, and he’ll be looking to take this one to the mat where he’s as dangerous as anyone in the sport. It promises to be a tough, grinding affair, and not exactly one to get the fans out of their seats.Prediction: MacDonald by unanimous decision.Robert Whittaker vs Stephen Thompson The Aussie finally gets his chance against someone other than a fellow TUF winner, and in Stephen Thompson, Robert Whittaker faces the toughest test of his career. This one will be a stand-up battle worth the pay-per-view dollars on its own.Thompson was undefeated as a kickboxer and his only loss in four UFC fights was to highly rated welterweight contender Matt Brown. If not for a knee injury which cost him 12 months on the sidelines after that loss, ‘Wonderboy’ would be amongst the division’s top ten.Whittaker is coming off a tough split decision loss to Court McGee, and will enjoy taking on a fellow striker. Frustrated at missing out on a chance to fight at UFC Fight Night 33 in Brisbane, I’m tipping the 22 year-old to let his hands go early in what should be a ‘Fight of the Night’ contender.Prediction: Whittaker by unanimous decision.