UFC 184 Preview: Women's MMA faces up to next big test

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UFC 184 takes place on Saturday and with the card headlined by women's MMA (WMMA), it will be the next big test in showing how much the young division has to offer.

It marks the first time that the UFC will feature WMMA as the main and co-main event on the same pay-per-view card and all eyes will be on their selling power, both in terms of performance and PPV buys.

Ronda Rousey, one of the UFC's biggest attractions and now a Hollywood star in her own right, will defend her women's bantamweight title against Cat Zingano in the main event.

And in the co-main event, former boxing champion, Holly Holm will face off against Raquel Pennington.

Main Event - Women's Bantamweight Championship Bout - 'Rowdy' Ronda Rousey vs. 'The Alpha' Cat Zingano

On paper, this should be Rousey's toughest fight yet and the crowd are almost certainly going to be split between cheering for these two fighters.

They're both undefeated, Rousey is 10-0 and has never gone the distance in the cage, while Zingano is 9-0, having finished all but one of her opponents.

Rousey remains favourite and rightly so

Yet despite this, Rousey is the overwhelming favourite to defend her title and maintain her dominance over the division.

Zingano had originally won a number one contender's bout in April 2013, yet wouldn't fight again until September of last year after injuries and personal reasons prevented her cashing in on that shot.

Rousey on the other hand has been fighting twice a year during that time and has seen many of the top ranked fighters in the division in dominant fashion.

In fact, Zingano is the only fighter ranked in the top five that Rousey is yet to beat.

Zingano is one seriously motivated challenger

Rousey is an explosive starter. Only once in her 10 fights has she gone past round one. Her last fight lasted just 16 seconds and the one before that 66 seconds.

Her opponent, Zingano, has been targeted as a slow starter, someone who gets better as the fight goes on and her last two fights were both finished in the third round.

So despite the records being close, this should be business as usual for Rousey and any result different from that would rock the division and Rousey's career - something that only spurs the champion more.

As one of her previous victims Sarah Kaufman can attribute to, telling press "Rousey comes in fighting for her life. You're just not ready for it."

Co-main Event - Raquel Pennington vs Holly Holm

The co-main event of the evening will see Holly Holm make her eagerly awaited UFC debut, and she'll be facing off against an opponent she should easily take care off.

Holm is a former Women's Boxer of the Year and a champion over three different weights. Since she transitioned to MMA, she's gone 7-0.

Five of those victories coming as a result of kicks, making her one of the most well-rounded standing fighters in women's MMA.

On the other side of the cage will be Pennington, who is ranked #12 by the UFC but is 5-4 in her career and has only strung together two wins back-to-back once in her career.

While MMA can throw out it's surprises, this should look like no more than an exhibition for Holm, who at 33 years of age, will be wanting to ascend through the ranks for a title shot at Rousey as soon as possible.

Will loss of Weidman-Belfort have a huge impact?

The rest of the card is pretty weak, some would even call this a one-fight card, and while there's an interesting welterweight bout between Jake Ellenberger and Josh Koscheck, the card is thread-bare for talent.

The original main event was supposed to Chris Weidman defending his UFC Middleweight title against rival, Vitor Belfort but an injury but a stop to that.

The card also lost Frank Mir vs. Antonio Silva, which was moved forward a week and then Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza was expected to face Yoel Romero in a big middleweight fight but that got stopped after 'Jacare' fell ill.

The UFC have stuck by the selling power of Rousey though and while she's lacking support on the rest of the card, she is one of the UFC's biggest attractions at the moment.

Anderson Silva's failed drugs test, Jon Jones' cocaine controversy, Brock Lesnar's possible WWE deal and Georges St-Pierre still taking a sabbatical, the UFC needs all the stars it can get.

That's why this card is so important, not just for Rousey, but for women's MMA as it will be their chance to seize the spotlight and prove they can sell a card.

Can they do it? Possibly. Should they take all the blame if the card fails? No. The UFC should for still calling this a PPV and not adding to the card. Yet still, it's the next big step for WMMA and they have to take it.

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Ronda Rousey

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