With Ronda Rousey beating Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 going in the books as the first ever UFC women’s match a solid success, there is no reason for the UFC to not continue and expand the women’s divisions. It is reported that Rousey-Carmouche did in the neighborhood of 500,000 PPV buys which makes Rousey one of the top 7 or 8 PPV attractions the UFC has, already! The UFC has two more women’s matches in the works, so perhaps the plan is for the first woman two win two matches in the UFC to face Rousey towards the end of 2013. Let’s look at the two bouts coming up in the UFC’s Bantamweight Women’s Divisions.
First up on April 13th in Las Vegas at ‘The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale’ event, Cat Zingano will take on Meisha Tate in a battle that could get the winner a title shot if the UFC gets in a hurry to get Rousey back in the ring. Tate has faced Rousey before and is hungry for a rematch, as she was the first girl to push Rousey into the late first round before succumbing.
Tate will likely be favored at the sports books, as she is considered one of the top performers in the division. She has a lot of experience and holds wins over several of the other top names in the division. Tate won’t be favored by much however, as Zingano is a perfect 7-0 and brings a solid Jiu Jitsu game. But Tate is the more experienced opponent and has the extra motivation of wanting to get her hands on Rousey again, and the line will reflect that.
Two weeks later, at the UFC 159 even t on April 27th, Sheila Gaff will take on Sara McMann. The presence of McMann is the one to watch. McMann is 6-0 (like Rousey was) and has an Olympic Wrestling pedigree (like Rousey, whose background is Olympic Judo), making a logical progression into an eventual showdown with the champion something the UFC can work with.
Gaff is tough, but no European men have broken through to win a title fight in the UFC yet, despite some great performances. The point is that MMA is further behind in Europe and it must especially be so for women. Additionally, Gaff is a smaller girl, having competed at 125 lbs, and she brings a power game, so look for McMann to have a big edge that reflects at the sports books. McMann doesn’t have Rousey’s knack to finish or her charisma outside of the ring, but athletically, she is Rousey’s equal.
If Rousey is going to wait until the end of the year to fight again, the UFC could conceivably pit the winner of Zingano-Tate and McMann-Gaff against each other in a title eliminator this summer. Whatever happens, Ronda Rousey’s next opponent is likely to come from this group of four women.