This card has taken a lot of flak for being ‘weak’ especially after former LHW champion Rashad Evans pulled out of his fight with Daniel Cormier, to be replaced by debutant Patrick Cummins.
If you believe that, you are mad.
MAD I SAY.
The main event between Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann sees two undefeated fighters with Olympic pedigrees facing off for a UFC championship, which is a first for the UFC (there have been gold medallist vs. gold medallist bouts in other promotions before) and it also marks the first time that Ronda Rousey comes up against someone who could well out grapple her in her MMA career.
Of course, this bout is undervalued by some because they are girls, because McMann isn’t a relentless self promoter, because wrestlers are perceived as dull and maybe we’ve OD’d on Rousey after TUF and a break of only two months since her last fight.
I think it’s a great fight and could be decided by the narrowest of margins.
The co-main event suffered a degrade when relatively unknown Pat Cummins got the call to replace the injured Rashad Evans, but between Cummins campaign to wind up Daniel Cormier and the UFC’s relentless promotion of this ‘Rocky story’ it’s become a heated and compelling encounter.
Of course, the more experienced Cormier with his Olympic calibre wrestling and heavy hands is a very strong favourite, but Cummins isn’t to be wholly discounted as he possesses quality wrestling himself and proven finishing ability (total fight time in his four pro fights is 11:11 from four first round finishes) to the point where he found it hard to find willing opponents in the minor leagues.
The rest of the main card has been almost wholly overlooked and quite unfairly in my eyes.
Rory MacDonald and Demian Maia would probably have been fighting for the vacant 170lb title bar the losses in their last fights and the styles clash between MacDonald’s wrestling and calm striking and Maia’s aggressive jiujitsu game makes for an intriguing matchup.
Mike Pyle is one of the most consistently entertaining fighters in the UFC with almost 3/4 of his bouts in the promotion producing a finish and TJ Waldburger is a much underrated talent.
Both guys are coming off damaging first round KO losses to genuine studs in Matt Brown and Adlan Amagov and will be keen to get back in the win column. Thats a recipe for a fun fight.
Rounding off the main card, we have TUF:Smashes winner Robert Whittaker looking to rebound from a split decision loss to Court McGee against striking sensation Stephen Thompson who is working to re-earn his ‘Wonderboy’ tag. Both fighters are aggressive and have a lot to prove, so this should be a good scrap.
The prelims aren’t short of action either, as Jessica Eye and Alexis Davis face off with the winner likely to be Ronda Rousey’s next opponent (especially if it’s Davis, thanks to Eye’s recent transgressions) in the headliner of the segment.
We’ve also got Bantamweight #1 contender-in-waiting Rafael Assuncao facing the reigning RFA champion Pedro Munhoz in yet another fight which is underrated due to the size of the participants and the fact that casual fans have no idea who Munhoz (and maybe even Assuncao) are. For shame, this fight will be awesome.
I’d also like to throw a shout out to Josh Sampo and Zak Makovsky as their match should be a barnstormer and could be a big step towards the winner getting a crack at the Flyweight title.
Why the hell are two guys who are ranked top five in their division and could well be the next challenger for a belt stuck fighting three bouts from the bottom of a card? Thats INSANE.
Headlining the Fight Pass portion of the card (which is surely the UFC’s version of damning via faint praise) we see Erik Koch – who a little over a year ago was no.1 contender to the Featherweight title, having been booked to face Jose Aldo a few months earlier – reduced to the bottom of the event following back to back losses, albeit to top level fighters Ricardo Lamas and Dustin Poirer.
With his star dimmed, he finds himself facing Rafaello Oliveira who boasts a 1-3 record in the UFC. This could easily be a loser-leaves-town sort of match.
So, yeah UFC 170 is totally weak and not in any way worth your money… if you’re the kind of ‘fan’ who is only interested in heavyweights, former champions, reality TV stars and all that jazz.
The rest of us are looking forward to an interesting night of competitive fights and compelling stories.
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sara McMann
Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins
Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia
Mike Pyle vs. TJ Waldburger
Robert Whittaker vs. Stephen Thompson
Alexis Davis vs. Jessica Eye
Raphael Assunção vs. Pedro Munhoz
Cody Gibson vs. Aljamain Sterling
Zach Makovsky vs. Josh Sampo
Fight Pass Fights
Rafaello Oliveira vs. Erik Koch
Ernest Chavez vs. Yosdenis Cedeno