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Former U.S. Olympic wrestlers 1-1 as Cormier wins, McMann falls at UFC 170

Daniel Cormier (left) and Patrick Cummins are separated by UFC President Dana White at during UFC 170 weigh-ins
Daniel Cormier (left) and Patrick Cummins are separated by UFC President Dana White at during UFC 170 weigh-ins

Two-time U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestler Daniel Cormier knocked out Patrick Cummins, while 2004 Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann was knocked out by Ronda Rousey in the two top-of-the-card bouts at UFC 170 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas Saturday night.

Cormier and Rousey made short work of their opponents, with each match lasting a bit more than a minute.

Cormier, making his debut as a light-heavyweight (205 pounds) after having competed in Ultimate Fighting Championships at heavyweight, scored a TKO over Cummins, who replaced an injured Rashad Evans just ten days ago, and had claimed in the media that, as 2004 Olympic training partner for Cormier, “broke” the former Oklahoma State 2001 NCAA finalist and made him cry.

In its play-by-play of the match between the two former college wrestlers, MMA website wrote, “Cormier lands an uppercut on the end of the second shot, then adds on a couple more punches which have Cummins sprinting across the cage. Cormier chases him down and sends Cummins to the mat with another uppercut. This time, Cormier unloads with heavy ground-and-pound on his kneeling opponent, and referee Mario Yamasaki steps in to halt the bout.” The match ended with a TKO at 1:19 of the first round.

"It had to happen this way," Cormier said in the post-match press conference. "It could not have gone the distance. I'm mad he even hit me twice because of all the talking he did.

"When you talk, you've got to be able to back it up. That's what I do."

“When you start hearing things about what happened in the wrestling room... I like to keep that stuff personal. I was going through a lot of things at the time,” Cormier said, referring to, in part, the death of his daughter one year earlier in a car accident.

“It did upset me, but once I get into the cage, my emotion doesn’t drive me. I fight how I’m going to fight, regardless. He can make me mad, and we can fuss at the press conference, but I’ll never let that carry me in the cage. By the time I got to the Octagon, I was fine. He could have been anyone else, and nothing would have changed. I would have competed the same exact way that I did.”

Despite getting knocked out in 79 seconds, Patrick Cummins – a two-time NCAA All-American for Penn State who made it to the heavyweight finals of the 2004 NCAAs -- still has a future in UFC.

“Yeah, we’ll give him another fight,” said UFC President Dana White said at the post-event news conference. “We’ll give him a fight he can prepare for.”

White continued, “Cormier needed to come out and treat him like that. He needed to do what he did to him. But the question was, could he? The fight was intriguing. These guys had competed together before and wrestled and trained. I wanted to see it. Better than pulling it off and not having the fight.”

With the win, Cormier is now 14-0 overall in MMA, and 3-0 in UFC, while Cummins is now 4-1 overall, and 0-1 in UFC.

Rousey vs. McMann

Ronda Rousey retained her UFC women’s bantamweight title with a TKO at 1:06 of the first round of their match at UFC 170.

Here’s how described the action in its live play-by-play:

“McMann lands the first punch of the fight, a right hand which catches Rousey ducking in. McMann keeps the punches coming as Rousey grabs hold and shoves the challenger’s back against the fence. McMann sends a knee up the middle as the women separate, but Rousey comes right back in, looking for a trip. Rousey scores with an elbow in the clinch, then a knee that drops McMann to her knees. Rousey only lands one follow-up punch before referee Dean steps in to call an end to the fight.”

In discussing her win over McMann, Rousey said, “We studied her videos and noticed that no one ever really tries to hit her to the body. Since she’s a wrestler, she has that bent posture, so we felt like it was the best thing to concentrate on the liver shot for this camp. The left knee has been working for me the most during this camp, and I thought if I stayed consistent on that one spot that it would eventually work.”

After the match, McMann, who was the first U.S. woman to earn a medal wrestling at the Olympics, said, "Looking back, it did seem kind of quick on the screen. Things are kind of slowed down in my head in the cage. I felt it connect, and my body just flew to protect itself. I heard [Dean's] voice, and I immediately tried to get back up. I'm not going to blame a referee for something I feel like I should be able to control. I should get up quicker. If you want to win fights, you just have to do it, regardless of what's going on."

With the loss – the first of her professional career -- McMann is now 7-1 overall, and 1-1 in UFC, while Rousey improves to 9-0 overall, and in UFC, 3-0.

Rough weekend for ex-Olympic wrestlers

Sara McMann wasn't the only former U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestler-turned-MMA-fighter to lose this weekend. Steve Mocco, 2008 Olympic wrestler, suffered the first loss of his pro MMA career Friday night at the World Series of Fighting in Canada.

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