UFC 159 fight card primer: Sara McMann vs. Sheila Gaff

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The Bloody Elbow team previews all 11 fights from UFC 159 tonight in Newark, New Jersey, including this key women's bantamweight fight between Sara McMann and Sheila Gaff.

The 3rd ever women's MMA fight in UFC history will take place on the FX preliminary card of UFC 159 later this evening, as undefeated Sara McMann (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) takes on Germany's Sheila Gaff (10-4-1). McMann and Gaff are ranked #6 and #9 respectively in the official UFC women's bantamweight rankings.

It's an interesting clash of styles, as McMann is a decorated wrestler while Gaff likes to take out her opponents within 2 minutes. The FX preliminary card special starts live at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT and leads up to the PPV main card at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.

How do these two stack up?

McMann: 32 years old | 5'6" | 69" reach
Gaff: 23 years old | 5'5" | Unknown reach

What have these two done recently?

McMann: W - Shayna Baszler (UD) | W - Hitomi Akano (UD) | Raquel Pa'aluhi (SUB)
Gaff: W - Jennifer Maia (KO) | W - Aisling Daly (TKO) | Hanna Sillen (KO)

How did these two get here?

McMann is the first and only American Olympic silver medalist in women's freestyle wrestling. She earned the silver in the 2004 Athens games, the first Olympics to include women's freestyle. McMann's incredible wrestling credentials stretch beyond just Olympic competition, as she's won 5 medals between the FILA World Championships and the Pan American Games. Sara turned to pro MMA in 2011, where so far no one has been able to solve her wrestling and grappling prowess, and tonight she's a big favorite against Gaff.

Gaff is Germany's top female fighter, and is known for her aggressive and early stand-up attack. All of her 6 knockout wins have come inside 2 minutes, including a controversial 10 second stoppage of Jennifer Maia at Cage Warriors in Dubai. The controversy stemmed from her not touching gloves with Maia to start the round, but instead immediately throwing punches and ending Maia's night in a flash. It should be noted that the two touched gloves in the introductions. As much as Gaff has been able to overwhelm the majority of her opponents, she holds only one victory outside of the 2 minute mark. Another major talking point for Gaff's debut is her move to bantamweight after spending much of her career at flyweight.

Why should you care?

Because every women's fight in the UFC has title implications, and McMann is one particular fighter some fans and media members alike believe can challenge Ronda Rousey and possibly defeat her.

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