UFC 170 opened with a clash between Ernest Chavez and Yosdenis Cedeno, which was exclusive to UFC Fight Pass members. The night got off to a quick start, as Chavez blasted his opponent's ribs with a flurry of punches throughout the opening round, to ensure the first frame was scored in his favor.
Chavez came out swinging in the second stanza, and he found himself far ahead on the judge's scorecards after 10 minutes of action.
Cedeno bounced back with a nice third round, but Chavez earned the decision victory after three fast-paced rounds.
Next up on the UFC Fight Pass portion of the UFC 170 card, Rafaello Oliveira took on Erik Koch.
Following the UFC 170 prelims on Fox Sports 1, the main portion of the card opens with a key tilt between Robert Whittaker and Stephen Thompson.
Whittaker said heading into UFC 170 that he plans to stand and trade punches with his opponent, and Thompson is more than happy to oblige.
“It makes me feel good that [Whittaker] says he is going to stand there and bang with me,” Thompson said. “He is a striker, but he trains at Tristar, and those guys have awesome wrestling, awesome jiu-jitsu, so I’m not going to take that away from him.”
A win by Cormier moves him closer to a light heavyweight title fight against Jon Jones, although he doesn't quite see it that way. Cormier says Cummins hasn't fought a high-quality, top-ranked athlete such as him.
"I'm not fighting a guy that's been in the top five for the last seven years," Cormier said of Cummins. "I'm fighting a guy that's just getting here. He doesn't know what he's in for. He hasn't done this. He hasn't danced this dance before."
Rousey, 27, has been penciled in to fight three times this year, and a win over McMann would set her up for a fight this summer against the winner of Jessica Eye vs Alexis Davis.
Rousey is also likely to fight on the UFC's year-end show in December. Rousey knows McMann is a highly-skilled athlete, so she's not taking her for granted.
“She’s an Olympian, a different level of athlete, like [UFC debut opponent and U.S. military veteran] Liz Carmouche … that level of mental capacity, that level of pressure you’ve already been trained to deal with is special," Rousey said.
“Sara will not come in having already defeated herself. I’m not counting on her to beat herself. I’m counting on me to be the fighter that’s more technical, more skilled and wants it more. I know I want it more than her.”
Rousey says her extensive judo experience will play a key factor in the fight with McMann.
“All the throws that exist in wrestling exist in judo,” Rousey said. “There’s a lot of things in wrestling that don’t exist in judo -- submissions being one of them. Those are brand new to her. Transitioning from a throw into a submission is new to her. The gripping in judo translates more to the clench work in MMA than wrestling does.”
McMann will absolutely be a tough test for Rousey, perhaps the most difficult challenge of her young career. A win over McMann would prove that Rousey is the real deal.
Here's a look at the full UFC 170 fight card:
UFC 170 Online Prelims (7 p.m. on UFC Fight Pass)
- Rafaello Oliveira vs. Erik Koch
- Chavez def. Cedeno, Split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
UFC 170 Prelims (8 p.m on Fox Sports 1)
- Alexis Davis vs. Jessica Eye
- Raphael Assunção vs. Pedro Munhoz
- Cody Gibson vs. Aljamain Sterling
- Zach Makovsky vs. Josh Sampo
UFC 170 Main Card (10 p.m. on Pay-Per-View)
- Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sara McMann [a]
- Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins
- Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia
- Mike Pyle vs. TJ Waldburger
- Robert Whittaker vs. Stephen Thompson