By The Numbers
If you haven't heard yet, Ronda Rousey has barred more arms than federal gun laws. She's 8-0 and has a 100% submission by armbar ratio. She averages around 8 takedowns per fight, mostly by a judo trip or toss. The same judo skills earned her an Olympic medal in 2008. McMann may be Rousey's most complicated opponent yet. The 33 year old took home a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in the senior women's wrestling freestyle competition. Rousey averages 8 takedowns per fight and is usually able to skillfully execute her submissions once she has top control. McMann is a world class wrestler averaging nearly 7 takedowns of her own per fight. She has never been taken down and uses relentless bursts of strikes from the top position to set up advancements in position.
What's At Stake
Now that Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre are on the sidelines, Ronda Rousey is the new biggest star the UFC has ever had. Ever. That puts a lot of pressure on the Women's Bantamweight champ considering the way some of UFC 170's top fights fell apart. With a decimated co-main event and a less than promising undercard, the strength of the card now largely rests on the shoulders of Rousey and McMann. The sales of this card will somewhat reflect the direction of the company through the rest of of the first half of 2014. Rousey has a phenomenal streak and so does similarly undefeated Sara McMann. One of the two will receive her first loss tonight in a championship fight in one of the youngest and fastest growing divisions in the sport. If the fight is close, we may see a sequel somewhere in the near future.
Road to Victory
I've detailed before how Rousey uses her flurried form of striking to get close enough to grab and throw her opponents. If she can't throw, she opts instead to trip. She used both of these methods to control Miesha Tate multiple times in their last fight. Once she gains a favorable enough position to mount, she's usually set to go for her signature submission. The problem with this method is that she doesn't really settle in and put much torque into her shots. They're not meant to end the fight, just to cause enough distress to allow her access to her true goal.
McMann provides an interesting challenge to Rousey in that she has shown multiple times that she will at least partially eat a shot or two in order to get inside. McMann will take whatever limb you threw at her and use it to drag you down. Once she gets inside of her reach, McMann has multiple routes to get her opponent down. Her single leg takedowns are top tier and she frequently utilizes double underhooks to control her opponent to obtain a trip or slam of her own. Rousey tends to back away when she gets hit.
If McMann can come out on top of the exchange when they eventually try to take it to the ground, she stands the best chance of winning this fight. She can either ground and pound it out from the top position or wear down Rousey's cardio to make stealing the decision easier in the later rounds. Rousey's best chance is also to come out on the top of a throw, but she favors the quick submission route.