UFC 170 preview, predictions for 'Rousey vs McMann' online 'Prelims' fights on Fight Pass, Pt. 1

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

More free UFC fights are coming to Fight Pass online digital network and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sat., Feb. 22, 2014) when the UFC 170: "Rousey vs. McMann" pay-per-view (PPV) event kicks off from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. MMAmania.com's Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC 170 "Prelims" party with part one of a two-part under card preview series.

Sad that Sochi ends this Sunday? You're in luck, then.

In a clash between unbeaten United States Olympic-medal winners-turned mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters, women's Bantamweight champion -- and 2008 bronzer in Judo -- Ronda Rousey. will face 2004 freestyle wrestling silverist Sara McMann in the main event of UFC 170, which takes place this Saturday night (Feb. 22, 2014) from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The 135-pound bout will be joined by a clash between wrestling standouts Daniel Cormier -- captain of the 2008 United States Olympic wrestling team -- and undefeated two-time All-American Patrick Cummins, who replaces the injured Rashad Evans on super short notice.

That's not all.

UFC 170 features six "Prelims" under card matches, the first two of which will be available to watch online courtesy of the promotion's "Fight Pass" digital network.

Let's start there:

155 lbs.: Rafaello Oliveira vs. Erik Koch

After snapping a two-fight skid by defeating Yoislandy Izquierdo, Rafaello Oliveira (17-7) took an admirable step up by electing to replace John Makdessi against Edson Barboza in 2013. His defense against Barboza’s leg kicks was slightly less than admirable, though, as he went down to the blows in the second round.

His Octagon record now very unflattering (2-5), Oliveira undoubtedly needs a victory to stay employed.

A one-punch pasting of Raphael Assuncao and a decision over Jonathan Brookins put Erik Koch (13-3) in line for a crack at division champion Jose Aldo, only for injuries to keep him out of the game for all of 2012. His comeback tour has been less-than-successful, with a ground-and-pound savaging from Ricardo Lamas and a tough loss to Dustin Poirier comprising his 2013.

Koch is going up in weight for this fight and will have a two-inch height advantage over "Tractor."

Size disadvantage notwithstanding, Koch is not an easy man to take down, which automatically makes him a bad match up for Oliveira. Though he’s not quite as devastating a striker as stablemate Anthony Pettis, Koch is very adept on the feet and should have a sizeable advantage over Oliveira’s crude swings.

Oliveira doesn’t have the power or speed to recreate Poirier’s dominant performance and has been beaten down by the last two well-rounded kickboxers he’s faced. It’s unlikely he bucks the trend here -- Koch pieces him up for the full fifteen minutes.

Prediction: Koch by unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Ernest Chavez vs. Yosdenis Cedeno

Though three of the first four fights for Ernest Chavez (6-0) went the distance, he has been on a bit of a run lately, knocking out his last two opponents under the BAMMA banner. In fact, he picked up the promotion’s vacant Lightweight belt his last time out with a third-round stoppage.

Interestingly, both "EJ" and Yosdenis Cedeno (9-2) were booked to fight on just two weeks’ notice.

Cuba’s Cedeno likewise picked up a title in his last effort, edging Torrance Taylor for the CFA Lightweight belt. The win marked his sixth straight since a loss to Jonathan Brookins in 2010. He is a product of the same camp as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) competitors Josh Samman and Amanda Nunes.

Chavez has decent hands and decent takedown defense, but hasn’t shown anything that suggests he can handle the Cuban’s athleticism. Cedeno has good power and an arsenal of surprisingly-fast kicks, plus very solid reactionary takedowns when an opponent overextends with a punch or kick.

Plus, he’s faster than Chavez, much more experienced, and fights out of a much better camp.

Expect Cedeno to consistently land power punches and enough quick double-leg takedowns to open up a brutal head kick in the second.

Prediction: Cedeno via second-round technical knockout

We've still got four more UFC 170 "Prelims" to preview and predict tomorrow, all of them south of Featherweight and featured on FOX Sports 1.

See you there, Maniacs.

Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 170 card this Saturday night, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims," which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised under card bouts at 8 p.m. ET and then main card PPV action, which is slated to begin at 10 p.m. ET.

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