Long since removed from her title shot against Ronda Rousey in 2014, Olympian Sara McMann, at age 41, entered UFC Columbus for her first fight in over a year opposite Brazil’s Karol Rosa.
McMann’s last fight had ended a submission defeat at the hands of Julianna Pena. But given Pena had gone on to dethrone Amanda Nunes, that loss suddenly had a little less sting to it.
Rosa, meanwhile, had yet to lose in the UFC, winning four straight fights inside the octagon prior to Saturday.
It was Rosa getting her hands going early on Saturday, but McMann landed a solid right of her own after closing the distance early in the fight. And not surprisingly, a takedown attempt came not long after, with McMann powering through the attempt. Rosa made it back to her knees, only for McMann to drag her back down. In half-guard, McMann looked to isolate an arm, then switched to setting up an arm-triangle choke with softening up the body.
With plenty of time to work, McMann stayed heavy on top. The punches to the body got heavier, and McMann then went to work on an americana. It wasn’t there, and she instead fell back on her ground n’ pound, riding out the round on top.
Rosa fanned on a front kick to open the second round; McMann then clinched, but not much came of it. Rosa fired a combo, punctuated with an uppercut, but hit air again. McMann hit a takedown moments later, and there was no mistake on that one. McMann quickly took the back, with Rosa on top of her. Both hooks were in, and later a body lock; Rosa would defend, fighting the hands, as McMann sat back and looked to find a way under the neck.
Since the choke wasn’t there, McMann went the arm-bar route, with Rosa stacking the Olympian up against the fence to defend. They’d finish out the round in that position.
— UFC (@ufc) March 26, 2022
McMann took the fight right back to the ground off a double-leg takedown just seconds into the third. The shot came in answer to Rosa looking to draw her into a brawl; Rosa would get back to her feet, but when she did, she was wearing McMann like a backpack. Rosa would get her off, but they landed with McMann right back in control. On the feet, she controlled with a body lock, landing knees to the thigh. Another takedown followed — but it was Rosa landing on top, then having to dodge a couple of upkicks from McMann.
Rosa found herself in dominant position for the first time in the fight — but with time a factor, and in need of a finish. McMann opted to stay on her back, and Rosa bewilderingly chose not to force her back to her feet, eating more clock. When McMann did get back up, she went right to a single-leg takedown attempt, landing it, locking on with a front headlock, and running out the clock.
Wrestling was the key, and for Sara McMann, it was back in the win column when the scorecards were read.
Official Result: Sara McMann def. Karol Rosa by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)