UFC 170 more than made up for the previous two UFC events which were bursting at the seams with uneventful decisions. From Erik Koch’s first round destruction Rafaello Oliveira, all the way up until Ronda Rousey’s first-ever TKO victory, a knee that wilted Olympic silver medalist wrestler Sara McMann upon impact, the card was filled with impressive performances. It was UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey’s first opportunity to truly establish herself as a top draw on PPV, after a co-headlining spot underneath the highly anticipated Weidman/Silva, and being featured in the UFC’s first women’s fight prior to that. Both of her previous fights had some added selling power provided by the context in which they were fought in, but this one was just Rousey.
It was up to her to prove right all of Dana White’s hyperbole about her being the “biggest star we have”. Only time will tell if Ronda did actually move the needle, and if her performance resonated to the outward reaches of the mma fanbase, but she sure made a statement to the rest of the female bantamweight’s that making it out of the first round with her entails more than just drilling your armbar defense.
Davis Gets Past Eye
This was a close fight that could have gone to either girl. Eye proved to have superior hands and footwork, while Davis proved to be too much for Eye on the ground. What essentially mattered was who did what for more often within the 5-minute parameters that we decide to judge them by. Davis got a takedown midway through the first round that most likely decided the fight. Eye had been in control on the feet until that point, and then ate some shots while on her back as the round closed. Round two was pretty much all Alexis Davis, as once she took Eye down she did not get back up. The third was also a close one, with Eye keeping it in her realm and doing some damage with her jab and some hooks. It could have gone either way, and it went to Davis, via (split) decision. She is now 3-0 in the UFC, and has won eight of her last nine fights. She’s close to a title shot, right behind Cat Zingano, who is currently sidelined after knee surgery and dealing with her husband’s suicide. Davis very well may be the next person to face Rousey for the title, but she didn’t show in her fight with Jessica Eye that she has the level of skill perceived to be needed to stop Ronda. She has great jui jitsu, which is what some people feel is the answer to Rousey’s judo, but the athleticism just didn’t appear to be on Ronda’s level.
Wonderboy: High Above the Mucky-Muck?
We knew this fight wouldn’t last long, with two hard hitting, dynamic strikers like Robert Whittaker and Stephen Thompson. Whittaker cracked Thompson a few times, but might have gotten a little overconfident, as “Wonderboy” caught the Whittaker with a serious straight right that floored him, and he didn’t relent until Mario Yamasaki jumped in to call of the contest. Thompson’s only loss is a decision to Matt Brown, and now rides a three-fight win streak. He seems to loosen up more every time we see him, and I think he’s ready to get back in there with some of the upper-echelon welterweights.
Maia & MacDonald Battle for Contention
Demian Maia took Rory MacDonald down with the first twenty seconds of this fight. He held Rory there until about the 4:10 mark of the round. MacDonald turned in up in the second round, and Maia looked gassed out completely after the energy expenditure required to keep MacDonald down throughout the opening frame. MacDonald picked Maia apart for the remainder of the fight, with Maia looking out on his feet on several occasions, but still trying to fire back against MacDonald’s diverse offense of jabs and kicks. Maia took a lot of hard shots in this fight, and MacDonald left with the unanimous decision win. They earned ‘Fight of the Night’ bonuses, and both proved that they belong in the top 10 of the welterweight division. I like the idea of Rory facing off with the winner of Condit vs Woodley in a title eliminator.
Rousey Vanquishes McMann Sans Armbar
No armbar this time around for Ronda Rousey, but she got a quick finish nonetheless. Rousey showed the seeds of a striking game in her defeat of Sara McMann. McMann was the closest thing to Rousey’s equal in the UFC’s women’s bantamweight division, and when Ronda couldn’t out muscle her fellow Olympian, she decided to try to bust her up on the feet. McMann was only briefly paralyzed from the vicious knee landed by the champ, but Herb Dean had seen enough and waived it off as McMann crumpled to the floor holding her abdomen. I wouldn’t mind seeing these two do it again someday, but for now, Ronda is the best and off to Hollywood she goes to film the “Entourage” film. Who knows when she’ll be back, or who it’ll be against. Cat Zingano’s return timetable is still up in the air, so the shot may go to Alexis Davis, however a Rousey vs Davis pay-per-view doesn’t exactly scream dollar-signs. Neither Holly Holm nor Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ are apparently good enough to be discussed in the same sentence as Rousey, so the future of the UFC’s “biggest star” isn’t known at this point. What is known though is that her finishing instinct is as unstoppable as Mike Pyle’s mullet.