Ronda Rousey has finished seven of her eight foes in the first round. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Ultimate Fighting Championship history will be made at UFC 170 on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, as Ronda Rousey defends her women’s bantamweight crown against Sara McMann in the main event.
It will mark the first time two Olympic medalists have squared off inside the Octagon. McMann struck silver in freestyle wrestling at the 2004 Summer Games, while Rousey landed the bronze in judo four years later. Neither woman has tasted defeat in mixed martial arts competition.
Sherdog.com touched base with a number of professional fighters and trainers to gauge their opinions on the UFC 170 headliner:
J.J. Ambrose: I’m going to go against the grain here. Rousey wins by first-round armbar.
Jeff Hougland: I’ll pick the champ to retain her title. I think she has more ways to win.
Travis Wiuff: McMann wins this fight.
Ray Elbe: Two Olympians, wrestling versus judo. With [Cristiane] “Cyborg” [Justino] not in the UFC, this is the next best thing. Despite what UFC marketing would have you believe, Rousey is beatable and I think McMann gives her the toughest test to date. However, I think Rousey -- after surviving an early scare -- showcases her right hand for a TKO victory, leaving everyone in the crowd wishing the real super fight, “Cyborg” vs. Rousey, finally gets signed.
Zach Makovsky: I am a Rousey fan. However, I am friends and training partners with Sara. I really believe Sara has the skills, mentality and athleticism to beat Rousey. As long as she fights smart, Sara will win.
Mitch Clarke: I’m going to go out on a limb and pick McMann in an upset.
Igor Araújo: Until Cris “Cyborg” arrives in UFC, Rousey will keep that belt, but the fight against McMann will be different. This time, I think Rousey will win by submission via armbar in the first round.
Eric Prindle: Rousey wins via armbar.
Colton Smith: With this being the first time the UFC has pitted two Olympic medalists against one another, I have the wrestler taking this by a shocking five-round decision over the judoka bronze medalist. McMann wins by lopsided decision victory.
Michael Guymon: I love McMann in this matchup. Rousey is so used to being the girl on top of her opponents and getting easy takedowns whenever she gets in trouble on the feet. I laugh on her getting the easy takedowns on McMann. She’s going to have Rousey frustrated. Sara is going to beat her silly, earning the gold via TKO victory in the fourth round.
Joe Duarte: Don’t know much about McMann, but I’m going with her since she is fighting Rousey.
Jason Dent: Rousey wins by armbar (laughs). It might be her toughest fight to date, but I pick Ronda to win.
Mike Ciesnolevicz: I think Rousey is in trouble in this fight. She is fighting someone who I believe is a better takedown artist with better hands. I think Sara might have the edge in overall grappling also. Rousey obviously has the best armbar in women’s MMA. I don’t want to call her a one-trick pony, but that is her best weapon and really the only finishing maneuver she has shown. Sara will probably have to survive some armbar attempts at some point in the fight, but she is a smart girl and I think she will be prepared for that. I wrestled in college with Sara and have followed her career for the last 15 years. Sara is a high-performance athlete with a strong desire to be the best in the world. That is a dangerous combination for anyone to deal with. McMann wins by TKO.
Keith Berry: Everyone can say what they want about Rousey, but she has something special in my opinion. Rousey wins by third-round armbar.
James Vick: McMann comes through with the upset.
Tom DeBlass: Rousey wins by armbar in round two.
Mark Bocek: Sara wins by decision.
Travis Lutter: I have Rousey in this one. Both are Olympians, but I think the judo player will win this one.
Kyle Kingsbury: McMann is good, but Rousey is great. Ronda wins.
THE FINAL TALLYPros Picking Rousey: 10
Pros Picking McMann: 10
Follow Mike Sloan on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mikesloan19.