Ronda Rousey will defend her UFC Women’s Bantamweight title for the third time against a former Olympic Silver Medalist and undefeated opponent in Sara McMann. But as we evaluate the UFC odds in this match, where does the value lie?

Sara McMann (7-0, 1 KO, 3 Subs)

Image previewSara McMann is hoping to be the first woman to defeat Ronda Rousey and claim the women’s UFC bantamweight strap for herself. However, before she can think about victory she knows she must first focus on escaping the first round. Rousey has submitted all her opponents in the opening frame (with the exception of Meisha Tate in her last match) and will undoubtedly look to do the same against the highly decorated Sara McMann.

McMann, like Rousey, uses her standup game to take the fight to the mat where she lives and breathes. Striking is merely a means to work her way inside an opponent in order to gain the takedown. She won’t be worrying about trying to stun Rousey with a knockdown as she knows exactly where this fight will be won and lost. McMann is used to imposing her will against her MMA opponents but this fight will be a brand new world for the former Olympian.

Once the fight inevitably hits the floor McMann will feel completely at home but this is where the fight will be decided. For all of McMann’s stellar grappling ability she will be hard pressed to defend the devastating armbars and submissions that Rousey has in her wheelhouse. But if anyone is poised enough to defend against Rousey’s world class skills and tactics, McMann is it.

Ronda Rousey (8-0, 0 KO’s, 8 Subs)

What more can you say about Ronda Rousey that hasn’t already been said in her relatively short but spectacular tenure in women’s MMA? Perhaps the only chink in her armor was in her last fight when she took several shots by Meisha Tate and couldn’t put her away until the third-round. How dare she take that long to finish an opponent?! It’s kind of like criticizing Gisele Bundchen for having a small tear in her nylons. Nobody’s perfect but Rousey (and the extraordinary Ms. Bundchen) come pretty damn close.

What Rousey did get from Tate in her last match was experience. She knows what it’s like to go beyond one round and take a few clean shots in the process. She also knows that her legendary skills can be thwarted, though in the end Tate went the way of all the rest. Ronda Rousey came along at the perfect time for Dana White and the UFC. She is not only a superior tactician but she’s got the looks and her patented baby faced pout that complement her rather mercurial personality. It’s all good theater for a division that would most likely be struggling for an identity without her.

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Free UFC Pick:

There were actually more than a few offshore books that opened up with Rousey as a -700 favorite in UFC odds but that was just a bit too much bait to offer the value bettors who decided for that price McMann was worth a few bucks. The current odds have Rousey somewhere in the neighborhood of -450 depending upon where you shop. 

Once again, we are faced with the dilemma of having to either hold our nose and bet the underdog just because there’s perceived value or being the ultimate square and laying a ridiculous number for the opportunity to cash with the favorite. Such are the choices for a UFC punter.

But the bottom line is that Rousey is simply too much. Her judo is better than McMann’s wrestling simply because the UFC allows - no check that - encourages submissions. This may be a push in terms of pure grappling but Rousey works just as fine from the bottom as the top and she can sink in those deep armbars from any angle.

Play Rousey -450 in a UFC parlay in your UFC picks at Bet365.com.