According to a March 1 report from MMA Junkie, the UFC has its third women's bout as Olympian Sara McMann (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and fellow bantamweight Sheila Gaff (10-4-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) have agreed to meet on Apr. 27 at UFC 159, in a fight that may determine who is next in line for a shot at Ronda Rousey's belt.
Many expect one of the winners of McMann vs Gaff or Miesha Tate vs Cat Zingano to receive the nod for a title fight against Rousey, but there's a wild card pick that people seem to forget about - Invicta FC bantamweight star Sarah D'Alelio.
"The Monster" already had her chance to duke it out with Rousey at a Strikeforce event in 2011, and the star judoka needed just 25 seconds to earn a ref stoppage from Steve Mazzagatti.
However, the story of the fight is that D'Alelio never tapped.
Rousey utilized her superb judo technique to take "The Monster" to the mat and sink in an armbar in the opening frame, but D'Alelio seemed more than willing to hang in and at least try to fight through it.
Surprisingly, Rousey looked up to Mazzagatti and told him that D'Alelio verbally submitted, which resulted in the ref calling a stop to the bout.
Afterward, Rousey and D'Alelio offered differing accounts of what happened: Rousey claimed that D'Alelio verbally submitted by saying, "tap, tap." D'Alelio said she yelled “Ahhhhh!” in response to the pain, but that she never verbally submitted.
The ref on duty did not give a post-fight interview to explain what happened.
UFC President Dana White, along with MMA media members and fans, have bashed Mazzagatti for questionable stoppages, and the Rousey vs D'Alelio finish did nothing to quiet the critics.
"Mazzagatti, as a referee?" White said. "This f**king guy shouldn't even be watching MMA on TV, let alone refereeing it. I think he's the worst ref in the history of any fight business, ever. He's horrible. We don't pick the refs. The athletic commission does. Those guys are picked by the government. It's not that I don't like him, he's a nice guy. He's an absolute nice guy, he has no business whatsoever being anywhere near mixed martial arts."
Since that night, D'Alelio won three of four to climb the bantamweight ranks all the way to the No. 8 spot, according to MMA Rising rankings.
The No. 8 bantamweight spot puts her ahead of Zingano, Gaff and Julie Kedzie, each whom are considered at this point far more likely to fight Rousey in the near future.
The UFC will likely wait until the outcome of the Tate vs Zingano and McMann vs Gaff fights before announcing who Rousey will fight next, but it seems clear that D'Alelio's name should at least be thrown into the mix for consideration.