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UFC 170: Rousey vs McMann


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PPV MAIN CARD

Ronda Rousey vs Sara McMann - UFC Womens Bantamweight Title

Daniel Cormier vs Patrick Cummins

Demian Maia vs Rory MacDonald

Mike Pyle vs TJ Waldburger

Robert Whittaker vs Stephen Thompson

 

FOX SPORTS 1 PRELIMS

Alexis Davis vs Jessica Eye

Raphael Assuncao vs Pedro Munhoz

Aljamain Sterling vs Cody Gibson

Zach Makovsky vs Josh Sampo

 

FIGHT PASS PRELIMS

Erik Koch vs Rafaello Oliveira

Ernest Chavez vs Yosdenis Cedeno

 

This is now less than three weeks away. Only seems like five minutes since Ronda's last fight and she's back for what I think will be her hardest test yet.

 

Rousey vs McMann is a historical fight for a few reasons. For one, it will be the first time in UFC history that two Olympic medalists face each other in the Octagon. And unless I'm remembering wrong it's only the second time in the history of MMA as a whole that two Olympic medal winners are facing off. You have to go way back to 2004 to find another example, when Hidehiko Yoshida fought Rulon Gardner in Pride. Maybe there's another example but I can't think of one.

 

Also, both Rousey and McMann are undefeated in MMA. So this is the first time two undefeated female fighters are headlining a UFC card. And if you include the men, I think it's still only the second time two unbeaten fighters headline a UFC. The first was Rashad Evans vs Lyoto Machida back in 2009. Can't be arsed to check through every UFC but I think that's right.

 

So yeah, with these two main eventing, another former Olympian Daniel Cormier on the card, and the event set to coincide with the Winter Olympics, it's got the MMA Olympics feel about it.

 

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Sara McMann won the silver medal in Freestyle Wrestling at the 2004 Athens Olympics. She's the first American woman to win an Olympic silver medal in wrestling. She's got a big fuck off list of championships and trophies and all that. It would take up half the page to list them. Among her biggest achievements as a grappler though, besides the Olympic silver - she's won gold at the 2009 Grappling World Championships and a bunch of golds, silvers and bronzes in everything from the Pan-Am games to the ADCCs. Stretching right back to 2000. Basically she's a fucking beast of a woman and a seriously high level athlete.

 

In MMA she's unbeaten at 7-0. And she's beat some solid veteran opposition like Tonya Evinger, Shayna Baszler and Hitomi Akano. And she easily beat Sheila Gaff in her UFC debut last April, taking her down and stopping her in the first round.

 

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Built like a shithouse made entirely of bricks as well.

 

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Ronda Rousey won the bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games. The first American woman to medal in Judo. A second generation Judoka, and her mother was also the first American woman to win a Judo World Championship. As well as the Olympic bronze medal, Ronda won gold in the Pan-Am games and silver in the World Championships.

 

She also sometimes trains under the geriatric, pink Gi wearing, Bruce Lee associating, Roddy Piper training, Steven Seagal shitty pants causing, master of arsekickery - 'Judo' Gene LeBell.

 

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Or as she calls him, just plain old 'Uncle Gene'.

 

In MMA, it's all well documented. She's undefeated at 8-0. With all her wins coming by submission via armbar. Only one fight has gone past round 1. And 5 of her 8 wins ended within the first minute. She's been working her striking with pro boxers Victor Ortiz and the beast known as Gennady Golovkin recently. In between pissing about in Hollywood.

 

She's coming off a second armbar victory over her mate Miesha in December. And post-fight, channeled the spirit of the absent Brock Lesnar when she snubbed Miesha's offer of a handshake.

 

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Deal with it.

 

This fight should be different though. There's no real animosity between Rousey and McMann. It's a fight based on competition, and I think McMann is much better equipped to compete with Ronda than Miesha was. It's a very intriguing match. Judo vs Wrestling. Both unbeaten. Both have similar strengths. This could come down to who's the better striker. I haven't seen much of McMann's standup but if she's good and Ronda can't go to her bread and butter Judo throws and trips like she usually does, this becomes very interesting. I think I'll go back and watch some of McMann's other fights before I make a prediction. I've only seen two. But as an athlete and grappler she's far above anyone Ronda has fought to date.

 

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Which Olympian will walk away with the gold?

 

Co-main is a battle of the FOX UFC analysts. Rashad Evans vs Daniel Cormier. A battle of wrestlers as well. They're pretty friendly but they both need an impressive win here if they want to make a run at the 205 title.

 

After a crappy spell, Rashad got back on track in his last two fights. Beating Dan Henderson fairly comfy on points in June, then absolutely crushing another of his FOX buddies Chael Sonnen in November. It was the best showing he's had in years so he'll be looking to build on that here.

 

Cormier is another Olympian. He's a NCAA Division I wrestler, brown belt in BJJ, has shown KO power as an undersized heavyweight and trains with Cain Velasquez on a daily basis at AKA.

 

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The x-factor here is that this is his debut at 205. With his team mate Cain ruling at heavyweight, he's not going to be challenging him for the title. So he's taking a run at 205. There's been some trash talk between him and Jon Jones as well so if they both keep winning that could be a big fight later this year.

 

But can he make 205 and still fight to his best? He's had trouble in the past cutting weight. He's been weighing in lighter his last few fights so he's done it gradually, but what will he have left by fight night?

 

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Maia vs Rory is a weird fight to pick. Both can be hot or cold. Maia has been in better form recently. Before the narrow points loss to Jake Shields in October, he was on a tear at 170. Rory had a shite 2013. He was being touted as the next GSP and all that, which is a tough expectation to live up to, and last year he fell way short. Winning an abysmal decision against Jake Ellenberger, then getting beaten up by Robbie Lawler. It'll be interesting to see how he approaches this one because Maia is a fucking lethal grappler, the likes of which Rory has never dealt with before. If he can keep it standing he should win but Maia has such an imposing grappling style if he gets hold of Rory it could be a miserable night for the weirdo.

 

Whittaker vs Thompson could steal the show. Two guys with really unique striking styles and both exciting to watch. Whittaker in particular has been a highlight for me on the cards he's been on over the last year. His fights with Court McGee and Colton Smith were great fun. Wonderboy Thompson has a style that should match up perfectly with him as well. Thompson was actually brought in by Ray Longo to spar with Chris Weidman before his first fight with Anderson Silva, to mimic Anderson's style.

 

Prelims are a good bunch.

 

Davis vs Eye might actually end up being a title eliminator depending on if/when Cat Zingano returns after her horrible last 6 or so months. Alexis Davis has to be close to the title shot and if she wins this I'd say she's earned a go at the Rousey-McMann winner, if Zingano doesn't come back soon.

 

Pyle vs Waldburger has the makings of an absolute grappling war if they both go that route. I've got high hopes for that one. Makovsky is coming off a cracking fight with Jorgensen and Koch is usually in good fights.

 

Looks a really solid card top to bottom to me. Then we've got 171 in March with Hendricks vs Lawler, 172 in April with Jones vs Glover and 173 in May with Weidman vs Belfort and Chael vs Wanderlei. Plus Pettis vs Aldo and possibly JDS vs Overeem on the horizon. Fucking hell! 2014 is shaping up to be nearly as good as last year even with the big names fucking off.

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Wow, Cormier does look good. Wonder if in addition to losing 30 pounds, if he's lost his penchant for being boring. I enjoyed his fights in Strikeforce with Bigfoot and Barnett infinitely more than Mir and Nelson.

 

This card is more loaded than I realised. You've got the top 3 fights, and that Olympic connection actually makes this feel like a big mainstream sports event for me. You can't really miss a Rousey fight, and while I don't think McMann will do much to her, there's always the intrigue of how long Rousey's opponents can survive before she crushes them. McMann will look good on Rousey's resume as she moves towards the Zingano fight, which should be brilliant.

 

MacDonald tends to kind of bully his opponents as a larger WW, but I don't think he can do that to Maia. I'm seeing this fight going a bit like Maia vs. Fitch, except Rory's defense isn't as good. That boy's getting choked out (hopefully).

 

And of course, seeing Rob Whittaker again is a huge plus. It turns out not taking a short notice fight in Australia worked out great for him, as now he's on the main card of a Rousey PPV while coming off a loss. Of course, that loss was kind of dodgy. Whittaker is more well rounded and has the chin to take Wonderboy's attacks, so I see him emerging victorious in violent fashion. Should be brilliant while it lasts.

 

I'm getting a little murky with all these new Russians coming through, but is Khabilov the one who scored a German suplex KO in his debut? If so, I'm massively looking forward to his fight with Dos Anjos.

 

The Fox Sports 1 prelims don't really jump out at me. It's nice to see another women's fight on the card, I think there should be a bit more than what we're currently seeing. We're starting to get quite a few flyweight fights, but I feel like I haven't seen a women's fight since the last Rousey fight.

 

Seeing Erik Koch in the Fight Pass opener is weird to me considering how high up he was just a couple of fights ago. I understand he's moving up to 155, I hope that's a positive move for him, I enjoy his style.

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Wow, Cormier does look good. Wonder if in addition to losing 30 pounds, if he's lost his penchant for being boring. I enjoyed his fights in Strikeforce with Bigfoot and Barnett infinitely more than Mir and Nelson.

 

I think that's a tad harsh. His last two fights haven't been great yeah, but I don't think he should be given the boring label based off two fights. For one, Roy Nelson for all his faults is tough as nails. He's got a head like a fucking bowling ball and Cormier has a history of breaking his hands. I don't blame him for not killing his hands going for a KO that was never going to come. He schooled Nelson in all areas but didn't get the finish. Wasn't a super exciting fight but it wasn't that bad. It didn't help that they also had to follow Melendez vs Sanchez.

 

The Mir fight could be chalked up to the old 'Octagon jitters'. That's a fight I think he maybe should've finished but Mir's showing an oddly increased ability to weather big shots lately. Mir ate some good shots that night.

 

I think there's better to come from DC. Maybe not in this fight though. Rarely does anyone look good coming out of a fight with Rashad. Even Jones, despite dominating, had maybe his least impressive fight against Rashad. Only Machida has looked great against him really.

 

You can't really miss a Rousey fight, and while I don't think McMann will do much to her, there's always the intrigue of how long Rousey's opponents can survive before she crushes them. McMann will look good on Rousey's resume as she moves towards the Zingano fight, which should be brilliant.

 

I think people are massively underestimating McMann. As a Rousey fan, I'm slightly cacking it. I think Ronda can pull it off but McMann is no joke. People are writing her off because of Ronda's run so far and just assuming she'll be like the others but she's unlike anyone Ronda has fought before.

 

Take a look at McMann's grappling credentials on Wikipedia. Yeah Ronda could catch her, but on paper it's going to be a lot tougher than people seem to think. Ronda is unbeaten, but so is McMann. Ronda is an Olympic calibre grappler, so is McMann. I know you haven't said this but for people to assume she'll just mongily take Ronda down and not have a clue what she's doing on the ground is silly talk.

 

This is a fight where Ronda is facing, for the first time, someone she mightn't be able to Judo throw if things start going wrong on the feet. Just say McMann is giving Ronda a clobbering on the feet and Ronda doesn't have the option of falling back on her Judo like she usually does, what the fuck does she do then? This is the first time Ronda might not have the grappling advantage. That's huge.

 

For a while I was of the belief that Cat Zingano would be the one to test Ronda. Maybe she could I don't know. But realistically, if she ever fights Ronda now she'll be coming off this knee injury plus all the mental baggage around her husband's suicide. On top of that, Miesha Tate was schooling her for two rounds when they fought. If Miesha's grappling was overwhelming her then she'd be in deep shit once Ronda started launching her through the air. I really like Cat Zingano and I'd love to see her do well. But I don't really see what she troubles Ronda with outside of the old 'punchers chance'. I think she's more a threat than Miesha was for sure, but not as risky as McMann for me.

 

McMann has a skillset that could be Ronda's kryptonite if she gets her tactics right. She could be catching Ronda at a good time as well because, like Faber, she didn't even get to rest really after UFC 168.

 

And of course, seeing Rob Whittaker again is a huge plus. It turns out not taking a short notice fight in Australia worked out great for him, as now he's on the main card of a Rousey PPV while coming off a loss. Of course, that loss was kind of dodgy.

 

Was the McGee loss dodgy? I don't remember thinking that at the time.

 

I'm getting a little murky with all these new Russians coming through, but is Khabilov the one who scored a German suplex KO in his debut? If so, I'm massively looking forward to his fight with Dos Anjos.

 

Yeah that's Khabilov. He also had a tremendous fight with Jorge Masvidal at the Troops show a few months back where he cracked Masvidal with an incredible spinning back kick. I still don't know how Masvidal is alive now much less how he saw the final buzzer that night.

 

Seeing Erik Koch in the Fight Pass opener is weird to me considering how high up he was just a couple of fights ago. I understand he's moving up to 155, I hope that's a positive move for him, I enjoy his style.

 

I think a positive move for Koch would be to lay off the fucking sunbeds. The man is pinker than my helmet. If he wore Phil Davis' shorts people in the nosebleeds would probably think he was fighting naked.

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Rousey/McMann is going to be very difficult to call, for the reasons wand laid out. Given the calibre of both, I think there's a very good chance they could become each other's career bogey/rival, like Ali and Frazier, or Hagler and Leonard - though more in grappling terms, obviously.

 

All in all, I'm surprised they decided to make this match so early in these ladies' respective careers - I know they've had quite a few fights already, but I'd have thought they'd want to give both of them the chance to rack up some wins under the UFC aegis before facing each other; after all, it's not just the individual fighters, but the fledgling women's division that has something at stake here.

 

I'm not saying that either woman losing would hurt the division, but I suspect they could be missing out on the potential for more money and bigger cache for it by not waiting just a little longer.

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I think that's a tad harsh. His last two fights haven't been great yeah, but I don't think he should be given the boring label based off two fights. For one, Roy Nelson for all his faults is tough as nails. He's got a head like a fucking bowling ball and Cormier has a history of breaking his hands. I don't blame him for not killing his hands going for a KO that was never going to come. He schooled Nelson in all areas but didn't get the finish. Wasn't a super exciting fight but it wasn't that bad. It didn't help that they also had to follow Melendez vs Sanchez.

 

The Mir fight could be chalked up to the old 'Octagon jitters'. That's a fight I think he maybe should've finished but Mir's showing an oddly increased ability to weather big shots lately. Mir ate some good shots that night.

 

I think there's better to come from DC. Maybe not in this fight though. Rarely does anyone look good coming out of a fight with Rashad. Even Jones, despite dominating, had maybe his least impressive fight against Rashad. Only Machida has looked great against him really.

 

Yeah, that's fair, he's not a boring fighter per se, but I've been pretty underwhelmed by his UFC run so far. I remember being really excited about him when it was first announced he was joining the UFC. He delivered an epic five round beating on Barnett- I think with the aformentioned broken hands. He should get a pass on the Nelson fight I guess, Big Country either scores the quick KO or has a snoozer of a decision where he looks like a Biggest Loser contestant after a minute on the treadmill. I really don't think Mir's taken that many big shots well, he was bounced around a bit by Reem, and the only reason he didn't get put away was because Overeem was saving himself like a Catholic school girl.

 

I think people are massively underestimating McMann. As a Rousey fan, I'm slightly cacking it. I think Ronda can pull it off but McMann is no joke. People are writing her off because of Ronda's run so far and just assuming she'll be like the others but she's unlike anyone Ronda has fought before.

 

Take a look at McMann's grappling credentials on Wikipedia. Yeah Ronda could catch her, but on paper it's going to be a lot tougher than people seem to think. Ronda is unbeaten, but so is McMann. Ronda is an Olympic calibre grappler, so is McMann. I know you haven't said this but for people to assume she'll just mongily take Ronda down and not have a clue what she's doing on the ground is silly talk.

 

Admittedly, I haven't seen much of McMann, just the Sheila Gaff fight. My thinking on it is that judo and wrestling are two vastly different grappling disciplines, and while I haven't seen it in practice that often in MMA, judo is about using the opponent's weight and momentum against them, much different takedown style than traditional wrestling. And Rousey's been on her back probably not even an entire minute in her career. She has an uncanny ability to turn takedown attempts into top position for herself. And wrestlers in general are notoriously bad off their back.

 

I think, besides getting clipped in a striking exchange, the way Rousey could be bested in a grappling exchange is if she encounters a skilled BJJ player with a great bottom game. Looking at McMann's Wiki, she doesn't appear to have any BJJ achievements, and her submission wins are top position ones, like americana and RNC.

 

And of course, seeing Rob Whittaker again is a huge plus. It turns out not taking a short notice fight in Australia worked out great for him, as now he's on the main card of a Rousey PPV while coming off a loss. Of course, that loss was kind of dodgy.

 

Was the McGee loss dodgy? I don't remember thinking that at the time.

 

It wasn't a total robbery, hence me saying "kind of", but it was considered a bit controversial at the time as Whittaker had caused a lot of damage striking while McGee was just pressing forward more than actually scoring much with his strikes. Obviously the loss didn't hurt him all that much in the UFC's eyes.

 

I'm getting a little murky with all these new Russians coming through, but is Khabilov the one who scored a German suplex KO in his debut? If so, I'm massively looking forward to his fight with Dos Anjos.

 

Yeah that's Khabilov. He also had a tremendous fight with Jorge Masvidal at the Troops show a few months back where he cracked Masvidal with an incredible spinning back kick. I still don't know how Masvidal is alive now much less how he saw the final buzzer that night.

 

Oh yeah, I remember that. Didn't the kick strike the neck? Probably the only reason Masvidal survived, if that connected on the jaw, it'd be right there with Barboza on highlight reels.

 

Seeing Erik Koch in the Fight Pass opener is weird to me considering how high up he was just a couple of fights ago. I understand he's moving up to 155, I hope that's a positive move for him, I enjoy his style.

 

I think a positive move for Koch would be to lay off the fucking sunbeds. The man is pinker than my helmet. If he wore Phil Davis' shorts people in the nosebleeds would probably think he was fighting naked.

:laugh: You're not wrong, the Oompa Loompa motherfucker. He also looked very Jersey Shore when he grew his hair out for the fight with Poirier. Great fighter though.

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My thinking on it is that judo and wrestling are two vastly different grappling disciplines

 

They are, I'm not disputing that. But that works both ways. There's no guarantee that McMann will be able to overpower someone with the Judo base of Rousey. But there's also no guarantee that Ronda will be able to use her Judo techniques anywhere near as effectively on a real powerhouse Olympic calibre wrestler like McMann either. Judo and wrestling being different doesn't necessarily mean Ronda has the advantage.

 

And wrestlers in general are notoriously bad off their back.

 

But that's assuming Ronda can put her on her back. The best wrestler Ronda has faced so far is Miesha Tate. Miesha was a high school wrestler. McMann's an Olympic medalist. And people can only base Ronda's previous success against wrestlers on the Tate fights. That has no real bearing on how she'll do against McMann because Tate isn't even close to McMann's level as a wrestler. It's like comparing a Friday Night Fights level boxer to Floyd Mayweather. So all bets are off. Ronda might've been able to throw Tate about but that doesn't mean it'll be as easy with McMann.

 

I think, besides getting clipped in a striking exchange, the way Rousey could be bested in a grappling exchange is if she encounters a skilled BJJ player with a great bottom game.

 

Maybe but the thing with a wrestler is that a really good one, like McMann, could theoretically fend off Ronda's Judo attempts. People are assuming that just because she's a wrestler she's going to try to take Ronda down and fall into an armbar. A wrestler can also use their wrestling in reverse like Chuck Liddell used to do and keep the fight standing. And that's where Ronda is least effective.

 

I'm not for one second picking McMann to submit Ronda or anything. When I talk about her being a test for Ronda in the grappling I'm meaning more in the way of her likely being hard to take down and that she's way more experienced and athletic than Ronda's previous opponents. That goes both ways as well of course.

 

Looking at McMann's Wiki, she doesn't appear to have any BJJ achievements

 

Not straight BJJ no. But she's not just a wrestler either. She's competed in plenty of no-gi grappling competitions. The ADCCs are all about submission grappling and she took silver there. She took gold in the FILA World Championships as well which combines a mix of BJJ, Judo, Catch Wrestling, all sorts. I'd say these are possibly more useful for MMA than just straight BJJ in some ways because it's a blend of many grappling styles, much like you'd see in MMA.

 

Now, I'm not saying she's as advanced a submission artist as Ronda. Of course she's not. Wrestling is still her main base. But I don't think it's quite as black and white as just a pure wrestler vs Judo match. McMann isn't a submission novice if it does go to the ground, but I really don't see her playing the guard game much at all with Ronda anyway. Everyone knows striking with Ronda is the easier path but up to now no-one has had an answer for her throws. McMann might have the game to turn this into a striking battle. Then fuck knows what happens.

 

This post has gone on longer than I intended. I hope you're right and the Ronda reign continues. I've just got this feeling this is going to be a really, really hard fight for her. I could see this being the first proper competitive womens rivalry in MMA. Maybe the first womens trilogy or something. Not that that would be a bad thing for womens MMA at all. I think they're just very well matched. I could be totally wrong and it could be another one of those sub-1 minute armbars again but I'd be very surprised.

 

Daniel Cormier summed the fight up pretty well from a fellow Olympian's perspective, I thought;

 

"When she feels Sara, she's going to feel the type of power, and the type of athlete she felt in her judo competitions. It's not like grabbing someone you can just throw down. It's like, now I'm grabbing someone who is on the athletic level I am.

 

I don't know how the fight is going to play out, but physically it will be different, because Sara's base is different because she competed her entire life. And Sara will feel with Ronda, she's never felt anything like this outside of wrestling. She usually just double legs them and throws them down. That's going to be a lot harder to do against Ronda, because Ronda is an Olympian."

 

Ronda knows it's going to be a tough one as well;

 

"I'm absolutely positive that the way I threw Miesha when she came in for her shots, it will not be possible to do that against Sara. Just because of the time she's put in and the level of athlete she is and the technique she has. I'm going to have to approach her completely different than Miesha, the level that she's at, she has to be approached entirely differently."

 

And it's not just the fight she's approaching differently. Compare how she speaks about McMann here, to how she was with Miesha before their fight in December.

 

"I couldn't be more excited than to have an athlete on Sara's level to test myself against. It helps all of us. It can't be like one Olympian had a jump against everyone else. It raises the whole level for everyone. I don't have a bad thing to say about her."

 

For all the shit she got for the way she carried on with Miesha, she hasn't acted like that with anyone else. Not Liz Carmouche, Cat Zingano, Sarah Kaufman, none of them. She just fucking hates Miesha Tate. Miesha was the Frank Mir to Ronda's Brock Lesnar.

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Few changes to the card, with Dos Anjos vs Khabilov getting scrapped.

 

Pyle vs Waldburger has been bumped up to PPV. Makovsky vs Sampo is now going to air on the FOX Sports 1 prelims instead of Fight Pass. And Ernest Chavez vs Yosdenis Cedeno (?) has been added last minute to the Fight Pass bit. Still nothing on Assuncao's TBA opponent though. It's getting a bit late in the day now really. If they don't announce someone in the next couple of days I wouldn't be surprised if Assuncao gets taken off the card completely. Maybe he'll go straight into the Barao fight at a later event.

 

Oh yeah, look out for Aljamain 'Funk Master' Sterling on the FOX prelims.

 

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He's a Serra-Longo guy. 8-0, 24 years old and has been referred to as 'the Bantamweight Jon Jones'. Yeah, anyone who remembers when people were calling Philippe Nover 'the next GSP' will take this with a big pinch of salt. But apparently the comparisons are more in how he moves, his lanky frame, his unorthodox striking style and his wrestling background (Div III All American). It's not really that people are predicting him to do what Jones has done. Supposed to have a really solid ground game. Might be one to keep an eye on.

 

Matt Serra talks about him to Helwani here;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&a...p;v=Wfl9umTGNJ8

 

Skip to 8:40 for the Sterling comment, but fuck it, watch the whole thing, it's Serra. Good interview.

 

I'm looking forward to that fight now. His opponent Lucas Martins had a really good fight with someone on the prelims last year as well, I forget who and I can't be arsed to check but I remember it being one of the better, overlooked fights from last year. This could be a very fun fight.

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yeh i was gonna come on and give people the heads up on Sterling, i'm a complete sucker for hype so as soon as i hear shit like 'Bantamweight Jon Jones' im in. The fact that he's coming from the Serra-Longo just solidifies it for me.

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Yeah as of now he's still down as fighting the always active TBA. But I've got a feeling they might pull him from the card yet. The show is two weeks away so I guess they're not going to convince a top 135er to jump in on that notice. So it'll either be Assuncao vs some lower level late replacement, or they'll pull him from the card and re-book him.

 

The title shot could still happen. Barao only just fought so I suppose he could fight again around May/June. Even if Assuncao fought on this card and won, he should be ready to go again by then. Fuck knows, maybe they are giving someone else the shot at Barao, no-one else really springs to mind though.

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Yeah I like Assuncao. If the UFC are hesitant to give him a title shot, and I don't know if that's definitely the case, it's probably more to do with him not being that easy a guy to promote. That wouldn't be as much a problem if the champ was Faber or even Cruz. But Barao vs Assuncao headlining a show, with neither speaking English, might be difficult to promote to the US/Canada audience.

 

He should get the shot though. He's earned it more than everyone else in the division currently and there's no other obvious contender. They could easily get around the language barrier thing by sticking it on a card as co-main to a bigger title fight, so it wouldn't have to carry a show. They could even put it under Weidman vs Belfort, although I don't think they'd demote Chael vs Wand to third from top. They could stick it on a Brazil card or a FOX show as well and it'd probably do well with the right undercard and coming off Barao's recent run of form.

 

Assuncao would probably be wise to call out Barao if he fights on this card and wins. Dana has always liked when guys show they really want a fight. And although Assuncao has been on about it a bit recently, if he won a fight in impressive fashion and then calls out Barao post-fight, it'd be hard to ignore. The squeaky wheel usually gets the grease when it comes to title shots and big fights in the UFC.

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