Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche
Women’s MMA is one of the most controversial topics in the sport. Well, the UFC didn’t seem to care very much about the critics when booking the first ever fight between two women in the organizations history as their main event. The UFC always takes high risks in hopes of a reward and considering fights between female fighters are generally fast paced and exciting, there is a pretty decent chance that this risk should pay off, at least in the short run. Fans of the sport should hope that’s the case, especially if they’re purchasing the event.
UFC 157 will be held at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on February 23rd. As stated, the headliner will be the first ever female fight in the Octagon and it will be for the Women’s Bantamweight championship as title holder, Ronda Rousey will take on Liz Carmouche. These women are ready to make history in a heavily promoted bout between the face of women’s MMA in Rousey and the first ever openly gay fighter in the organization in Carmouche. Canadians Ivan Menjivar and Sam Stout will also be on the card. The main card will be aired live on PPV. Four preliminary bouts will be aired live on Sportsnet in Canada and FX in the US. The three remaining preliminary bouts will be aired live on Facebook.
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout
(c) Ronda Rousey (6-0) vs. Liz Carmouche (8-2)
It really is tough to gauge the excitement level for a bout like this. Two women fighting in the UFC? It certainly is tough to believe the things Dana White says after setting this fight up. One thing that all should be certain of is that women can indeed fight. Looking back at the Strikeforce Women’s divisions, there is no denying that they are usually very fun bouts. Ronda Rousey, for example, has put on a dominant display ever since she got herself into the sport. Armbar after armbar, all in the first round in all her professional and amateur bouts proved that she is the real deal.
Carmouche is not exactly considered a decorated fighter but she is no doubt tough as nails. She was close to becoming the Bantamweight champion in Strikeforce but Marloes Coenen caught her in a triangle in the fourth. Her back and forth fight with Sarah Kaufmann showed nothing but her heart and determination to move forward and continue fighting, win or lose. She is currently riding a two-fight win streak and possesses a very well-rounded game.
There really has not been any known weakness in Rousey’s game. If Carmouche tries to keep the fight on the feet while circling, who knows what could happen? If Carmouche gets stuck in a clinch, it could be the beginning of the end. Scrambling was likely a major part of her camp because if that is not the case, she will be in for a long (well, technically short…) night. Rousey may have the toughest fight of her career in Anaheim, but that also may be because all her other fights just looked so easy.
Prediction: Rousey via Armbar Round 1
Lyoto Machida (18-3) vs. Dan Henderson (29-8)
Is this a fight for a shot at the Light Heavyweight title? No idea. Either way, Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson will surely put on a show in a very important bout for the division. They certainly both deserve the chance to take on the winner of Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen but that is up to the UFC to decide.
This fight will be extremely intriguing considering the stylistic matchup. Henderson is one of the best fighters in history and has defied the odds several times. That right hand of his is a game changer no matter who the opponent. Along with his wrestling, he will always be a legitimate threat to win any fight.
Machida’s karate style is what makes this bout so interesting. He has some of the best movement in MMA and is very tough to reach, especially for wrestlers. Guys like Ryan Bader and Rashad Evans struggled to accomplish anything against Machida. If Henderson lands, the fight could be over. He could also try to push forward and control Machida on the cage en route to a decision. Realistically, a decision will go to the guy that will land often and that’s Machida. His counter striking should control the very slow pace of the fight.
Prediction: Machida via Unanimous Decision
Urijah Faber (26-6) vs. Ivan Menjivar (25-9)
Back in 2006, Urijah Faber and Ivan Menjivar met fairly early in their respective career. The bout ended via disqualification as Menjivar kicked a grounded Faber. They are both very different than what they were at that time. That is especially the case for Faber, who has matured so much as a fighter. Menjivar is one of the most well rounded fighters in the Bantamweight division. Faber is one of the most physically dominant fighters of the smaller weight classes.
Five of Faber’s six losses came in a title fight under the WEC or UFC banner. That says a lot about how talented the Team Alpha Male leader is and how often he comes up short in big fights. Menjivar has looked awesome and reborn in his current UFC run. His lone loss was to Mike Easton, where he looked nothing like himself. It could have been a sign of things to come but his performance against Azamat Gashimov proved otherwise.
It will be interesting to see where both fighters are at physically and mentally this late in their respected careers. Faber is the quicker and stronger fighter but with patience, Menjivar could use his technical striking and grappling to win the fight. In plenty of categories, this fight is even but Menjivar’s performance against Easton makes it tough to pick against Faber. Regardless, it will be a very interesting fight.
Prediction: Faber via Rear Naked Choke Round 3
Josh Koscheck (17-6) vs. Robbie Lawler (19-9)
It really feels like Josh Koscheck just doesn’t fight very often anymore. One of the toughest guys in the division will be the one to welcome Robbie Lawler back into the UFC. Both fighters have not looked like themselves, and that is especially the case for Lawler, who cannot even seem to pull off a victory these days.
Koscheck is a powerful striker but does not like to get hit at all. What sucks for Koschack is that Lawler hits hard. That spells disaster for Koscheck, right? It certainly could. The difference maker in this bout is the grappling aspect. Koscheck has been more willing to wrestle with his opponents after getting knocked out by Paulo Thiago in 2009. He likely will not want to risk standing up with a very mean striker like Lawler.
Lawler still has the knockout power that could put anybody out but moving back to Welterweight may make it tough for him to feel good in the Octagon. It will be a crazy upset if Lawler manages to get the finish but Koshcheck will likely drag the fight to the ground and work off the fence and hurt Lawler and finish him late.
Prediction: Koscheck via TKO Round 3
Court McGee (14-3) vs. Josh Neer (33-12-1)
When Dana White says “don’t leave the fight in the hands of the judges,” he really isn’t joking around. Court McGee was put in a very tough position after losing two straight bouts, the second being a noticeably bad decision against Nick Ring. He felt he needed to cut to Welterweight to give himself the physical advantage to start another run in the UFC.
Josh Neer has also lost two straight bouts, but has been brutally finished in both. He was put to sleep via brutal right hook by Mike Pyle and he was choked out by Justin Edwards the fight after. That is far from a good sign going into your third bout against a very tough opponent like McGee. Neer’s best hope is to land better shots and hurt McGee. The problem is that Neer is not necessarily known as a power hitter and McGee has a very resilient chin.
McGee will likely be the one putting pressure on Neer and pushing him up against the cage where he will utilize some dirty boxing and take the fight round by round, maybe managing a late finish. This will likely be the end of the road for Neer in the UFC.
Prediction: McGee via Unanimous Decision
Sam Stout (18-8-1) vs. Caros Fodor (7-2)
Fight fans learned a lot about Sam Stout in his bout against John Makdessi. The main lesson: speed kills. He was unable to do anything against the movement and accuracy of the Montreal native. This should not have come as a surprise as it has been seen before as faster fighters give Stout fits. If he has been unable to fix those issues, Caros Fodor is the type of guy that will give him an extremely tough time.
Although Fodor was overpowered in his last bout against Pat Healy, losing via submission, he has proven in the past that he has power and he can frustrate his opponents by using a very fast pace and aggressive style. Stout will need to stop trying to strike with guys that can pick him apart by moving in and out and instead, try to grapple as he did with Spencer Fisher. He can certainly get the smaller Fodor up against the cage and drag it to the ground but the question remains, will he do so? Probably not.
Prediction: Fodor via Unanimous Decision