Last night (Sat., Feb. 22, 2014) history was made when Olympic medalists Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann squared off for Rousey's Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweight title in the pay-per-view (PPV) main event of UFC 170 from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
To watch full fight video highlights for Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann right now click here.
Unstoppable thus far in mixed martial arts (MMA), Olympic bronze medalist judoka Rousey had dispatched each of her eight opponents with her trademark armbar. She most recently put her most heated rivalry to bed at UFC 168, submitting Miesha Tate for a second time as the culmination of their venom-laced back-and-forth on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18.
Not to be outdone, Olympic silver medalist McMann also brought a spotless record into UFC 170. She won her only octagon bout at UFC 159, finishing Sheila Gaff with a technical knockout. McMann was billed as "Rowdy's" toughest opponent yet, and she came out looking to prove that was true.
However, like so many times before, Rousey proved that she's just a cut above the rest of her division. Let's take a look back at her "Performance of the Night"-winning effort.
McMann came out throwing heavy leather, tagging Rousey several times. "Rowdy" clinched against the cage, but McMann continued to sling punches. Rousey went for a throw and unleashed a combo against the fence. Rousey elbowed McMann and then kneed her in the body a few times. A huge left knee hit McMann directly in the liver, crumpling her to the mat and earning a quick stoppage from referee Herb Dean.
After getting a ton of praise for dropping boxers with body shots in her camp, Rousey earned her first knockout finish amidst a strong chorus of boos. Her striking looks to have progressed to a new level. "Rowdy" displayed a vicious Muay Thai gameplan and her vaunted armbar was never even close to coming into play last night.
That's quite the horrifying statement for the rest of the UFC's women's bantamweight division.
"Rowdy" has become one of the most dominant champions in UFC, and certainly its most polarizing star. With Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva on the sidelines and uncertain to return, UFC needs all the stars it can get. Love or hate her, fans are turning in to see Rousey, even if it's just to boo her latest win.
But, Rousey's own star power could ultimately be the end of her fast-rising MMA career.
She has two prominent movie roles in the films "Entourage" and "Athena Project," so we'll have to wait and see exactly when she returns to the cage.
Alexis Davis, who beat Jessica Eye with a decision on last night's preliminary card, would be a worthy contender to Rousey's belt upon her return.
And of course, a looming bout with Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino, who recently announced her intentions to meet Rousey at 135 pounds, would always be an interesting proposition.
McMann presented Rousey's toughest challenge on paper, and for a while it looked like she would live up to that billing. In a fight that was destined to be contested on the feet thanks to the grappling abilities of both women, McMann proved her striking was solid. However, she was swallowed up into Rousey's lethal clinch and destroyed by her new skills.
Even if McMann had been allowed to continue, it was probably only a matter of time before the fight was called off. Although she was decisively finished in just over a minute, McMann won't lose much footing in the still-developing women's division. She should rebound against a top 10-ranked opponent sometime soon.
Ronda Rousey showed a new wrinkle to her game in finishing Olympic medalist Sara McMann in record timing. Is "Cyborg" the only real threat to Rousey's dominant reign over women's MMA?