UFC 184 takes place Saturday night from the Staples Center here in Los Angeles, headlined by a UFC women's bantamweight title bout featuring undefeated champion Ronda Rousey defending against undefeated challenger Cat Zingano. Rousey is one of the biggest stars in the sport, with Olympic level judo, dangerous submissions and a rapidly improving striking game. Zingano is a dangerous fighter in her own right, with excellent striking to go with a wrestling background and great heart.
UFC women's bantamweight title: Ronda Rousey vs. Cat Zingano
Rousey is one of the UFC's biggest stars, if the not the biggest star. She has used devastating judo throws, increasingly dangerous striking and her signature armbar to finish every opponent in her career. Zingano is a legitimate challenger, undefeated in her own right with finishes in 8 of 9 fights. She has great striking, a wrestling background and has shown the ability to persevere through tough challenges.
Round 1. Zingano comes flying in with a knee and looks for a takedown but Rousey reverses her beautifully into top position and grabs an armbar from an awkward angle for the submission in just seconds. Another electric performance by the champion.
Winner: Ronda Rousey, submission, round 1.
Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington
Holm is one of the most celebrated female boxers of all time, an 18 time world champion in 3 different weight classes. She made the transition to MMA in 2011 and earned a 7-0 MMA record before signing with the UFC. This will be her UFC debut and represents a significant step up in competition. Pennington is only 5-4 in MMA but has fought a much higher level of competition throughout her career than Holm has. The big question is how far Holm’s ground game has come, because her unique background makes her a very attractive potential future opponent for champion Ronda Rousey.
Round 1. They clinch early. Pennington lands a knee but Holm follows with a nice hook on separation. They exchange from close distance with each fighter landing. Pennington goes for a takedown but doesn't come close. Holm is landing more of her punches. Pennington catches a kick and goes for a takedown but again doesn't come close. Holm lands a few additional punches late. 10-9 Holm.
Round 2. Holm connects with some straight punches early. She throws a high kick that flies over the head of Pennington as the crowd reacts big to the near miss. They clinch, with Pennington landing an uppercut and Holm a knee as they back off. Holm is generally getting the better of the boxing but Pennington is getting in her shots here and there. Pennington attempts another takedown and again doesn't come close but she does land a couple nice punches on the break. Pennington lands a few more punches a little while later. Holm lands a couple kicks late. That was a very close round. 10-9 Holm.
Round 3. Holm is aggressive with her kicks early in the final round. Pennington isn't throwing as much and early in the third appears to have lost some of the momentum she was gaining late in the second. Pennington does hit Holm with a solid punch and then moments later a hook that connects as solidly on the chin of Holm as any punch of the fight. Pennington drops Holm with a punch but it appears to have been partially a slip as Holm gets up immediately throwing heavy knees. Pennington looks for a takedown but eats some more knees and then a head kick. Pennington answers back with some looping punches. They exchange late as the crowd cheers. That was another very close round. 10-9 Pennington, 29-28 Holm.
Winner: Holly Holm, split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28).
Josh Koscheck vs. Jake Ellenberger
This is a crossroads fight for two formerly elite welterweights. Koscheck has been a star in the UFC since his notable tenure on the first season of the Ultimate Fighter. Koscheck’s feud with Chris Leben was one of the key elements in popularizing MMA on American television. He challenged Georges St. Pierre for the UFC welterweight title and has key wins over Diego Sanchez, Matt Hughes, Paul Daley and Anthony Johnson. However, he is now 37 years old and has lost three straight fights. Ellenberger rose up the UFC ranks with six straight UFC wins from 2010-2012. Unfortunately, he has also dropped three straight fights and has looked listless, unmotivated and completely unimpressive for the entirety of all three of those contests.
Round 1. Ellenberger throws a right cross and a couple jabs early. Koscheck ducks down and takes Ellenberger to the mat. Ellenberger works his way back up, eating a few punches in the process. Koscheck presses Ellenberger against the cage and looks to take him back down. They trade knees to the body and finally separate. Ellenberger looks to back Koscheck against the cage, where he has had success in the past landing power punches. Ellenberger looks for a takedown and has it defended but lands a big punch in the followup. Dull round. 10-9 Ellenberger.
Round 2. Koscheck immediately shoots in for a takedown. He can't get it and they battle in a clinch by the cage. Ellenberger lands a couple of straight right hand shots upon separation but neither man is throwing much and the crowd boos. As Koscheck dives in for another takedown, Ellenberger grabs his neck and pulls him down to the mat for a north/south choke. Koscheck taps out.
Winner: Jake Ellenberger, submission, round 2.
Masio Fullen vs. Alex Torres
Torres is a 2-1 Colombian fighter while Fullen is 8-4 and hails from Mexico. Both fighters have only competed on the lower levels of the sport, as UFC looks to establish more of a presence in Latin America.
Round 1. Fullen moves in and looks to push the action early, but eats a hard straight right hand that knocks him off balance. Torres attacks aggressively with punches and looks to finish the fight. Fullen is finally able to land a counter that forces Torres to back off and show more respect. Moments later, Fullen hurts Torres with another shot and looks to swarm again. Torres gets a brief takedown but they quickly return to the feet. Torres hurts Fullen again with a hard punch and looks to finish before Fullen lands a flying knee and scores a takedown. They return to the feet and the round concludes. Very exciting round. 10-9 Torres.
Round 2. The fighters clinch by the cage. Fullen lands a few punches and Torres attempts a takedown. Fullen blocks that and staggers Torres with another punch. Fullen follows with a crisp three punch combination and a hard knee by the cage. Fullen continues landing shots by the cage. Torres is reduced to mostly backing off and defending at the round concludes. Fullen took over the fight handily in that round. 10-9 Fullen.
Round 3. Fullen moves in and looks to reestablish his dominance from the second round. He is able to connect at will with his punches to the chin of Torres and referee Herb Dean appears to be considering a stoppage by the cage. Torres is able to get out of danger and then looks for a takedown. Fullen defends the takedown attempt but Fullen continues to work by the cage for most of the round. Torres keeps going for the takedown and they are stalemated by the cage. Fullen briefly gets Torres down but Torres pops back up and the round comes to an end. Torres held Fullen by the cage a while but it shouldn't be nearly enough to negate the damage and offense of Fullen early. 10-9 Fullen, 29-28 Fullen.
Winner: Masio Fullen, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
James Krause vs. Valmir Lazaro
Krause is a well traveled veteran of the sport, having fought for most of the top MMA organizations in the world at one point or another. However, he has lost most of the time when matched with upper echelon opposition. He has lost 2 of 3 and needs a win here. Lazaro is a 12-3 Brazilian fighter who trains out of the respected Nova Uniao camp. He lost his UFC debut and looks to rebound.
Round 1. They trade kicks and jabs early. Lazaro looks to land a power shot. Krause goes for a takedown and gets it momentarily, only to see Lazaro pop right back up. Lazaro then lands a huge right hook, the best punch of the early fight. Lazaro starts to take over as the round goes on, landing punches to the chin of Krause regularly. Krause goes for a takedown that is stuffed late. 10-9 Lazaro.
Round 2. Krause gets a takedown 30 seconds in but Lazaro gets back up in a hurry and lands a few hard punches that back up Krause. They exchange jabs. Lazaro continues to land better punches and adds a hard knee to the body. Krause looks for another takedown with a minute left but it is again blocked. Lazaro lands a couple punches and a leg kick as the round ends. Lazaro is the better striker and Krause can't get it to the ground. 10-9 Lazaro.
Round 3. Lazaro lands a body shot early and Krause uses the opportunity to attempt a takedown. He can't get it. Lazaro connects with a hard body kick. They fight from range as the round wears on, with Lazaro maintaining his advantage in the striking department. Krause gets his best flurry late, landing a few solid straight punches but it is too little, too late. 10-9 Lazaro, 30-27 Lazaro.
Winner: Valmir Lazaro, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Derrick Lewis vs. Roan Potts
Lewis generated a lot of attention following a pair of first round knockouts to start his UFC career. He is a powerful, devastating striker. However, he stepped up in competition for his third fight and was knocked out by Matt Mitrione. He looks to rebound here. Potts is a 37 year old South African fighter who has shown little in his two UFC appearances, both losses.
Round 1. Lewis comes out looking to land big punches and a head kick but then surprisingly switches tactics and uses a trip takedown. Lewis lands a series of shots from the top but Potts attacks the leg and looks to submit Lewis. Lewis finally rolls out of danger to the roar of the crowd and marches back towards Potts. Potts ducks down and gets a takedown. Lewis works his way out of bottom position and takes the top. He then starts dropping own huge punches looking to finish the fight. He follows with elbows but Potts survives.
Round 2. Lewis looks to have a lot of energy left given how big he is and how hard he fought in the first round. He moves in for power punches and a wild scramble ensues. Potts ends up covering up on the bottom while Lewis throws hard punches to the side of the head. Lewis ends up in Potts' full guard and rests there for a little while. He then opens up with punches again and begins dropping down bombs. He moves into full mount and keeps landing big punches. Potts is forced to just hold on and then cover up. The referee finally and mercifully calls it off.
Winner: Derrick Lewis, TKO, round 2.
Tim Means vs. Dhiego Lima
Means is an action fighter who rides a two fight winning streak into this bout. He is 4-3 overall in the UFC. Lima is a 26-year-old prospect with a 10-2 MMA record. He lost in the finals of the Ultimate Fighter season 19 but rebounded to win his next fight. He is also the brother of elite Bellator welterweight Douglas Lima.
Round 1. The fighters feel each other out briefly, looking to establish range with leg kicks and jabs. Means backs Lima against the cage and connects with a series of big shots. He nails Lima with a hard elbow and then a massive knee that drops Lima to the canvas. Means looks to finish on the ground with additional strikes but Lima survives. Moments later, Means rocks Lima again with a punch by the cage. He drops Lima with another punch and then pours in vicious punches until the referee stops the contest. That was a terrific performance by Means.
Winner: Tim Means, TKO, round 1.
Kid Yamamoto vs. Roman Salazar
Yamamoto was at one time one of the biggest stars in Japanese MMA, a huge TV ratings and live attraction with world class wrestling and dominant striking. He was also widely perceived as the top 145 pound fighter in the world, and fans speculated about a dream matchup between him and WEC champion Urijah Faber. Unfortunately, age and injuries have caught up with Yamamoto, who hasn't fought since 2012 and hasn't won since 2010. Salazar is 9-3 and dropped his UFC debut.
Round 1. Yamamoto is showing a lot of fancy footwork early, moving about and not staying in range for Salazar. However, neither man is landing much offense. Yamamoto does land a nice counter hook as Salazar moves in. Salazar attempts a takedown but has it blocked. Yamamoto connects with a good uppercut and a low kick. Yamamoto clearly wants to fight at significant distance, moving in and then moving well out of range. Salazar is having trouble connecting, but Yamamoto isn't landing much either. The crowd boos at the end of the round. 10-9 Yamamoto.
Round 2. Yamamoto lands a leg kick but plants a little bit too much and Salazar dives in for a successful takedown. Yamamoto quickly powers back to his feet and goes back to his first round tactic of diving in and out. Salazar moves in and lands a solid left hand in one of the exchanges. The crowd begins to boo again. After an accidental eye poke by Yamamoto on Salazar, Salazar evidently decides he doesn't want to continue and the fight is stopped.
Result: No Contest, round 2.
Mark Munoz vs. Roan Carneiro
Munoz has been a middleweight contender for years, scoring wins over the likes of Demian Maia, C.B. Dollaway and Tim Boetsch. After consecutive losses to Gegard Mousasi and Lyoto Machida, his career could be in big trouble with another loss here. Roan Carneiro returns to the UFC in this fight after winning an 8 man one night tournament for Battlegrounds MMA. He was 2-3 in the UFC previously and was not impressive.
Round 1. Carneiro looks a lot bigger in the cage, although it was Munoz who struggled to make weight yesterday. Munoz shoots for a takedown but Carneiro controls his neck and takes top position. Carneiro is in side control. Munoz tries to get up but Carneiro takes his back and sinks in a rear naked choke. Munoz appeared to be unconscious for a significant period of time before the referee finally stepped in.
Winner: Roan Carneiro, submission, round 1.
Tony Ferguson vs. Gleison Tibau
Ferguson is slowly working his way into lightweight contender status, having won 10 of his last 11 fights including 7 UFC wins. He is a dangerous striker and has mixed in a crafty submission game as well. Tibau is one of the most experienced fighters in UFC history, having fought at least twice for the organization each year since 2006.
Round 1. Ferguson is the aggressor early, landing a series of leg kicks and then attacking higher. Tibau counterattacks with punches until Ferguson staggers him with a heavy straight punch. Ferguson then grabs a front choke and looks to finish. He can't so he follows with some big punches and looks to end the fight that way. He then sinks in his hooks and wraps up a rear naked choke for the win. Ferguson looked phenomenal.
Winner: Tony Ferguson, submission, round 1.
Alan Jouban vs. Richard Walsh
Jouban is a hard hitter who sports a 10-3 MMA record and is 1-1 in the UFC. Walsh, 8-2, competed on Ultimate Fighter Nations, representing his native country of Australia. He is also 1-1 in the UFC.
Round 1. Walsh moves forward, landing a few punches. He clinches but can't get a takedown. On the separation, Jouban hits him with a stiff kick to the body. Walsh a little while there responds with a body kick of his own. Jouban catches Walsh with a nasty elbow that staggers Walsh by the cage. Jouban opens up with punches and referee John McCarthy stops the fight. It could be argued that was a little early but no one seemed to have much of a problem with the stoppage.
Winner: Alan Jouban, TKO, Round 1.
Follow on Twitter at @ToddMartinMMA.