UFC 184 Preview and Predictions – Rousey vs. Zingano

UFC 184 in Los Angeles (February 28, 2015) is headlined by the Women’s Bantamweight Title fight between Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano. The main card also features unbeaten Holly Holm facing Raquel Pennington in another Bantamweight bout and Jake Ellenberger battling Josh Koscheck in the Welterweight division.

UFC 184 was originally supposed to feature Chris Weidman defending his Middleweight Title against Vitor Belfort. But, like the champ’s fights at UFC 173 and 181, the bout has been postponed due to injury. Even with Weidman on the sideline, though, fans can still expect a solid night of action at UFC 184.

Below, we preview the main events.

Rousey vs. Zingano

Rousey is as dominant a champ as there is in the UFC right now. She is 10-0 (with eight submissions) and has ended nine of those bouts before the second round. In July, she knocked out Alexis Davis in 16 seconds; that followed her 66-second TKO of Sara McMann in February. Her only fight that lasted more than a round came at UFC 168 in December 2013, when she subbed Miesha Tate via armbar in the third. This will be the fourth title defense for Rousey, who is a massive 1/12 favorite.

Zingano, the number three pound-for-pound female in MMA, is 9-0 in her career. The Colorado native has suffered had to overcome significant turmoil in her personal life; this will be her second match since her husband committed suicide 13 months ago. In the first, Zingano earned a third round TKO (elbows and punches) over Amanda Nunes in September.

She also kneed and elbowed her way to a third round TKO of Meisha Tate in April 2013, and five of her nine career wins have been by knockout. Though Zingano’s record is perfect thus far, she is a 9/1 dog and she’s never been in the octagon with a fighter anywhere close to Rousey’s caliber.

Prediction: Zingano will be lucky to make it to a second round.

Holm vs. Pennington

Holm is an accomplished boxer. She went 33-2-3 in her career and collected belts in three different weight classes.  Since making the switch to MMA, Holme has racked up a 7-0, most recently TKOing Juliana Werner in April. But this will be her first fight in the UFC. (Holm was supposed to debut in November, but pulled out with an injury.)

Pennington is just 5-5 in her career, but has faced stiff competition. She lost a narrow split decision to Jessica Andrade at UFC 171 in March, but rebounded with a submission (bulldog choke) of Ashlee Evans-Smith in December. Pennington’s UFC career started on TUF 18, and she earned a unanimous decision over Roxanne Modafferi in the finale.

Prediction: Holm is pretty new to the MMA game. She’ll have the advantage in striking and is seen by most as the favorite. But Pennington will have the edge in both experience and grappling. We see Pennington getting this fight to the ground – where Holm will be out of her element – and taking the W.

Ellenberger vs. Koscheck

Ellenberger (29-9) has lost three straight and likely needs a win to keep his UFC career alive. His last win came against Nate Marquardt in March 2013. He subsequently lost to Rory MacDonald (unanimous decision), Robbie Lawler (TKO), and Kelvin Gastelum (submission – rear naked choke). His loss to Gastelum came at UFC 180 in November, and “The Juggernaut” failed to jugger his naut out of the first round.

Koscheck, the consummate UFC veteran, hasn’t fought since November 2013. The now 37-year-old returns to the ring sporting a 17-8 record but, like Ellenberger, has also lost three straight. His last win came three years ago over Mike Pierce at UFC 143. In his last fight, Koscheck was knocked out by Tyron Woodley.

The loser of this match will be saddled with four-fight losing streak – which is almost unheard of in the UFC – and will likely have stepped into the octagon for the last time.

Prediction: Ellenberger (29) is younger and has fought more recently. It wouldn’t be surprising if he wins in the opening round against a sure-to-be-rusty Koscheck.

(Photo credit: Zennie Abraham (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode].)