UFC 170 marks the first time that the main event features two olympic medalists. Ronda Rousey earned a bronze model in judo at the Beijing games in 2008 and Sara McMann holds a silver medal in freestyle wrestling from the 2004 games in Athens. The timing couldn't have been more perfect for these two to face off as the Sochi winter olympics comes to an end this weekend. The card has been littered with injuries up and down and with Rashad Evans having to pull out of the match against Daniel Cormier, it was looking like Cormier might have to wait to make his light heavyweight debut. The UFC found a late replacement, in Patrick Cummins who was working at Starbucks when he got the call from UFC president Dana White. Cummins will now jump out of the fryingpan in to the fire, as he takes on a super motivated Daniel Cormier. While i'm not crazy about this new co-main event, I am interested to see how Cummins will look, especially since he hasn't had a training camp to get ready. Other interesting bouts on the card are MacDonald Vs. Maia, a bout with possible title contender implications. Eye Vs. Davis should be a great bout as we have the pleasure of watching two women's bouts on the card. A lot of young talent is featured on the card and while it may not be the best card for a PPV, we should be in for some entertaining bouts. I break down all 11 fights on the card, giving you my best bets and predictions.
"Rowdy" Ronda Rousey (8-0) Vs. Sara McMann (7-0)
In the main event of the evening we have the battle of two undefeated olympic medalists, with UFC gold on the line. Ronda Rousey looks to defend her women's bantamweight title for the third time and in her way is the olympic silver medalist, Sara McMann. Many people believe that this will be Rousey's toughest test to date, and that McMann's wrestling could match that of Rousey's high level judo. In my opinion, I believe this title shot for McMann has come too soon, whether it's because the women's bantamweight division is shallow or this was the UFC's way of using some of the olympic hype to sell this fight, it's too much and too soon for McMann. Rousey is simply on another level when it comes to the competition in the women's bantamweight division. McMann has only one UFC bout under her and it was a mauling over Sheila Gaff back in April 2013, I guess the UFC believed that was enough to award McMann with the title shot next. If they fight stays on the feet, which I doubt it will, Rousey has better striking, if the fight goes to the mat, I believe Rousey's judo will trump McMann's wrestling. Rousey opened at -400 and is currently at -470, while McMann stands at +375, I think the line will move up come fight night and rightfully so. There's nothing McMann can do that Rousey can do better, and when the fight hits the ground, which I predict it will, Rousey's armbar setups are amazing and if McMann hasn't been training her armbar defenses, she'll be tapping out in no time. I really like Rousey in this matchup and I would even consider this a lock, there's a reason why Rousey is 8-0 with all fights ending in armbar, this fight should be no different. You can find a prop bet that Rousey wins via submission at -175 or Rousey within the distance at -212, I doubt this fight even goes into the third round.
Ronda Rousey -470
Daniel "DC" Cormier (13-0) Vs. Patrick "Durkin" Cummins (4-0)
In the co-main event of the evening, Daniel Cormier makes his light heavyweight debut, Rashad Evans was originally slated to fight but had to pull out of the fight 10 days before the fight due to a knee injury. In his place will be Patrick Cummins, who makes his UFC debut, and he gets the opportunity to fight in the co-main event and the chance to knock off the undefeated Daniel Cormier. Cummins is a high level wrestler and has trained with Cormier in the past and he has gone on the record claiming he made Cormier cry in previous training sessions, something that hasn't settled well with Cormier. After the Rashad Evans injury I assumed that they would just take "DC" off the card but the UFC has opted to give Cummins the chance and "DC" has everything to lose. Cormier comes in as the biggest favourite on the card at -1375 and Cummins the biggest underdog at +900, I haven't seen much of Cummins but I think Cormier should be able to run right through him. If Cormier can ragdoll guys like Josh Barnett and Frank Mir, I don't see why he shouldn't be able to do the same to Cummins. Even if Cummins can out wrestle Cormier, can he outstrike him? I doubt it. I like Cormier to win this fight but the absurd line drives me away from even making a play. Don't forget that this is MMA and anything can happen, not saying Cummins is going to win but he has a chance to make this competitive. How competitive is the question, Cummins is coming into this fight with no training camp and that makes things even harder on him, I hope he can make this a fight or else it could be back to serving starbucks if he doesn't.
Daniel Cormier -1375
Rory "Ares" MacDonald (15-2) Vs. Demian Maia (18-5)
A battle of two top 10 welterweights has #4 Rory MacDonald taking on #6 Demian Maia, a win for either fighter could get them closer to a title shot. Both guys are coming off losses as they look to get back on track and move up the welterweight ladder. MacDonald is coming off a split decision loss to Robbie Lawler and Demian Maia is coming off a split decision loss to Jake Shields. Rory MacDonald comes in the favourite at -280 and Maia the underdog at +240, I like MacDonald in this matchup and I think if he can utilize his jab and keep Maia from being a backpack to him for three rounds, he can out point him through three rounds. One would think that MacDonald would want to keep the fight standing but I think he'll be mixing it up and going for takedowns and while Maia will be dangerous on his back, I think MacDonald will have the wherewithal to avoid his submission attacks and keep pressure on Maia using his ground and pound. I'm not in love with his fight and I have a feeling that this one could be a snoozer but my lean would be towards a Rory MacDonald decision victory.
Rory MacDonald -280
Mike "Quicksand" Pyle (25-9-1) Vs. TJ Waldburger (16-8)
In our second bout in the PPV portion we have Mike Pyle taking on TJ Waldburger in a welterweight matchup. Both fighters are coming off first round losses via KO and look to get back on track, Pyle was stopped by Matt Brown in only 29 seconds and Waldburger was stopped by Adlan Amagov at 3:00 into the first round. Both guys are really good on the ground and as far as standup goes I think Pyle might have a slight edge. This is an interesting matchup and could possibly win a performance of the night bonus for either a KO/TKO or submission. If the fight hits the ground, which i'm assuming it will, I can see a back and forth affair with either guy attempting submission while trying to control the fight on the mat. Pyle comes in the favourite at -185 and Waldburger the underdog at +160, I believe this fight is a pick'em so there's definitely value in Waldburger at +160, but I belive Pyle will find a way to win this fight. The better bet I like in this would be the over 1.5 rounds at -155, especially if the fight hits the ground, I can see both guys scrambling for ground control and that would give it a good chance of getting into the later rounds. I like Pyle but i'll probably stay away from picking a side and go for the over.
Over 1.5 Rounds at -155
Robert "The Reaper" Whittaker (11-3) Vs. Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson (8-1)
Kicking off the PPV portion of the card is a welterweight battle between Stephen Thompson and Robert Whittaker. Thompson is coming off consecutive victories over Nah-shon Burrell and Chris Clements, while Whittaker is coming off a split decision loss against Court McGee. This is an intriguing matchup as Thompson's karate goes up against the unorthodox approach Whittaker. This is the closest line on the card as Thompson is the slight favourite at -135 and Whittaker the underdog at +115, I believe this fight is a pick'em and because of that I see some good value in Whittaker at +115. I see Thompson using a lot of kicks in his attack and this might leave him prone to takedowns which Whittaker should be able to get and probably control Thompson on the ground. I imagine Whittaker will be using his jab to create distance and I could see him out-pointing Thompson throughout the fight. Whittaker seems to always come in with interesting gameplans and I think if he can stick to what works he will come out on top.
Robert Whittaker +115
Alexis "Ally-Gator" Davis (15-5) Vs. Jessica "Evil" Eye (10-1-1)
In our final preliminary fight on Fox Sports 1, we have two top 5 women's bantamweights facing off in which the winner could possibly be next to fight for the title. Davis ranked third and Eye ranked fifth, both are going to try to put on an impressive performance to prove that they are worthy of the title. Alexis Davis is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Liz Carmouche, in which Davis was almost a 2 to 1 underdog going in. Jessica Eye is coming off a bout against Sarah Kaufman in which she was awarded the split decision victory but has since been overturned into a no-contest by the Texas State Atheletic Commission due to Eye testing positive for marijuana. I believe Sarah Kaufman actually won that fight against Eye, but the incompetent judges awarded it to Eye. Davis comes in the favourite at -145 and Eye the underdog at +125, the line seems about right as I believe Davis should be the slight favourite. I think that this fight will be a war and has the chances of being fight of the night, both women matchup really well and it should be a hell of a fight. While I think Davis will win this fight via decision, I believe the best bet would be on over 2.5 rounds, we've seen the judges favour Eye in close decision and I wouldn't be shocked if that happened again here, because of that I feel safer betting on the total rounds.
Over 2.5 Rounds at -225
Raphael Assuncao (21-4) Vs. Pedro "The Young Punisher" Munhoz (10-0)
We have an interesting bantamweight matchup between Raphael Assuncao, who has won 5 in a row, and the RFA featherweight champ and undefeated, Pedro Munhoz. Assuncao is currently ranked #3 in the official UFC bantamweight rankings and an impressive win here would probably get him either a title shot or a title contender eliminator bout. Francisco Rivera was originally slated to fight Assuncao, but had to pull out due to a hand injury and Munhoz steps in. I think Munhoz has a bright future but this might be too much too soon, as Assuncao has been looking very impressive as of late and is 5-1 in the UFC. Assuncao comes in the favourite at -240 and Munhoz the underdog at +200, the line continues to move up and rightfully so, as I believe Assuncao has all the tools and experience to get him the victory. I really like Assuncao in this matchup and would suggest playing him in a parlay.
Raphael Assuncao -240
Aljamain Sterling (8-0) Vs. Cody "The Renegade" Gibson (11-3)
In our second preliminary fight on Fox Sports 1, we have a bantamweight matchup between two fighters making their UFC debuts. The UFC seems to be bringing in a lot of these green fighters who we haven't seen anything from and this fight is another example of that. We have the undefeated Sterling taking on "The Renegade" Gibson, who has won his last five and looks to continue that streak in the UFC. Sterling is a Serra-Longo trained fighter and has won his last three via rear-naked choke. Both fighters are injury replacements, as Bryan Caraway pulled out due to injury and was replaced by Sterling and Lucas Martins, later got injured and than was replaced by Gibson. Aljamain Sterling comes in the favourite at -255 and Gibson the underdog at +215, I'm not sure why the line on Sterling is so high but I believe this fight will be closer than the oddsmakers think. I see this fight going back and forth and being a competitive one, and while I think Sterling wins this fight, I wouldn't rule out Gibson and I actually see some value in Gibson at +215, although i'm not confident enough to bet on him. Both guys are going to be putting it all out there as they look to impress the fans and prove that they belong in the octagon. I haven't seen enough from either fighter so I will personally stay away from this one, but my lean would be towards Sterling via decision.
Aljamain Sterling -255
Zach "Fun Size" Makovsky (17-4) Vs. Joshua "The Gremlin" Sampo (11-2)
Kicking off the preliminary card on Fox Sports 1 is the only flyweight bout on the card and both fighters are coming off victories in their UFC debuts. Sampo is coming off a win over Ryan Benoit and Makovsky is coming off a big win over Scott Jorgensen, where he was about a 2 to 1 dog. Makovsky is currently ranked #10 according to the official UFC flyweight rankings and a win for Sampo could have him ranked in the top 15. Both of these guys looked great in their UFC debuts and they both have the potential to move up the flyweight rankings. Makovsky comes in as the favourite at -175 and Sampo the underdog at +155, I think getting Makovsky at under 2 to 1 is good value as I believe he should be about a 2 to 1 favourite, with that being said, I really like adding Makovsky in a parlay or even laying it on the moneyline. I just think Makovsky has more ways to win this fight and while Sampo should give him a good fight, I see Makovsky getting his hand raised at the end of this one.
Zach Makovsky -175
Erik "New Breed" Koch (13-3) Vs. Rafaello "Tractor" Oliveira (17-7)
In our second and final fight on UFC Fight Pass we have a battle of lightweights who are both in need of a win if they want to stay in the UFC. Koch is coming of consecutive losses to Ricardo Lamas and Dustin Poirier, while Oliveira is coming off a loss to Edson Barboza. This is Oliveira's second time around with the UFC as he was cut back in 2010 after a loss to Andre Winner. I think if Oliveira loses again he'll be cut but Koch might still have a chance with the UFC depending on how he looks in this fight, considering his last two opponents were top 15 featherweights. I'm interested to see how Koch will look at lightweight, even though I believe he is better suited at featherweight. Koch comes in as the favourite at -420 and Oliveira the underdog at +340, I agree with this line and I like Koch in this matchup, he should have a little more power at 155 and should cruise to a victory. I would suggest playing Koch in a parlay.
Erik Koch -420
Yosdenis "Pink Panther" Cedeno (9-2) Vs. Ernest "EJ" Chavez (6-0)
Kicking off UFC 170 in the first of two UFC Fight Pass fights is a lightweight matchup of fighters making their UFC debuts. Cedeno is coming from CFA where he is the lightweight champ there and Chavez is coming from BAMMA, where he is the lightweight champ. Both fighters will be looking to make a good early impression to prove that they belong in the UFC. Cedeno comes in as the favourite at -300 and Chavez the underdog at +250, I agree with this line as Cedeno has almost double the amount of professional fights and one of his losses comes against TUF 12 winner Jonathan Brookins. I think Cedeno will pick apart Chavez with his striking and could even possibly finish him within the distance, if not, I see him doing enough to win this fight via unanimous decision.
Yosdenis Cedeno -300
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