Do Women really deserve a place in the UFC? Can Ronda Rousey really deliver the goods and headline a major UFC Pay Per View event? The PPV numbers aren’t in yet, but the overwhelming answers to those first questions are emphatic yeses. UFC 157 took place last night from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California and early gate figures are showing that Rousey and women’s MMA pulled over 15,500 people into the Honda Center and created a live gate of $1.4 million.
In the main event of the evening Rousey overcame a slight stumble early on in the fight and escaped the most dangerous moment of her fighting career to notch yet another first round victory via submission. In the co-main event of the evening Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida defeated Dan Henderson in a somewhat lackluster affair to claim another crack at the UFC Light Heavyweight title. Let’s recap what happened on the main card and what’s next for the fighters.
Welterweight Bout: Robbie Lawler defeated Josh Koscheck via TKO (Punches) at 3:57 of Round One
What’s next for Lawler? Despite beating a former top contender in Koscheck, it’s most likely that the UFC decides to bring Lawler along somewhat slowly. A striker at heart, it’s probably most intriguing if the UFC matches him up with another striker for the most entertainment value. A bout against fellow main card fighter Court McGee could make sense, or a bout between the winner of the upcoming bout between Nate Marquardt and Jake Ellenberger.
What’s next for Koscheck? After his former AKA teammate Jon Fitch got cut last weekend, it’s hard to imagine that Koscheck is going to be able to survive this loss. Like Fitch he is expensive, in fact he makes more per fight than Fitch did and he’s fallen even further down the rankings. If he does somehow survive the next round of cuts then a bout with Erick Silva would make some sense as both men try to rebuild themselves.
Welterweight Bout: Court McGee defeated Josh Neer via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds
Court McGee looked mighty impressive in his Welterweight debut. Neer is a talented grinder, but McGee outworked him everywhere that the fight went. McGee out struck Neer all over the fight and dominated him on the ground, coming close to sinking in a couple of submissions but ultimately taking a clear-cut unanimous decision.
What’s next for McGee? He looked mighty impressive in his Welterweight debut. As I mentioned earlier he could be a good match for Robbie Lawler. British wrestler John Hathaway could also be an interesting match up to see how McGee handles another grinding wrestler.
What’s next for Neer? Likely unemployment. Neer has been bounced from the UFC before, but he always seems to make his way back due to his willingness to fight on short notice against almost anyone. I imagine his next fight comes outside the UFC.
Bantamweight Bout: Urijah Faber defeated Ivan Menjivar via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:34 of Round One
Urijah Faber dominated this fight the whole way. Faber is excellent with his takedowns and transitions, and his ability to gain dominant positions from scrambles. Faber’s transition to the back in this fight was very slick and he continues to prove that he can bounce back even after tough losses.
What’s next for Faber? He really needs to fight a top contender, but it’s getting annoying how poorly he’s doing against the champions but continues to knock the top contender’s off their perch and eliminating new title challengers. He’s got to fight another top contender though and give him a chance to knock someone else out of contention. Eddie Wineland is the only one that makes a whole lot of sense right now.
What’s next for Menjivar? A bout with Brian Bowles might make the most sense as they’re the two most recent fighters to lose to Faber. Should Brad Pickett lose to Mike Easton in their upcoming bout at UFC on Fuel TV, then that bout could also be highly entertaining.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Lyoto Machida defeated Dan Henderson via Split Decision after Three Rounds
This fight was light on action, but Machida did what he does best. He stuck and moved and avoided most of Henderson’s power shots while delivering several of his own. Although the crowd disliked a lot of this fight, it’s hard to discount the technical striking game that Machida brings to the table and his ability to avoid taking damage. Unfortunately for Machida, despite being promised a title shot, it could be up for grabs due to the nature of his unimpressive performance.
What’s next for Machida? Likely the winner between Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones. However the split decision nature of this win could leave the door open for someone else to steal that title shot, namely Alexander Gustafsson who has an upcoming bout with Gegard Mousasi and was also promised a title shot with an impressive victory. Either way, Machida will remain close to title contention.
What’s next for Henderson? He already said he wasn’t retiring, so that’s out the window. A potential bout with Rashad Evans could prove to be entertaining but Evans wants a different opponent (Shogun) so the UFC could be going with that. A fan favorite bout between Henderson and Forrest Griffin could deliver an epic knockout.
Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout: Ronda Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche via Submission (Armbar) at 4:49 of Round One
What’s next for Rousey? Cyborg Santos isn’t happening right now, so as much as Eric wishes it to happen, it’s probably not on the docket. The winner of the upcoming bout between Cat Zingano and Miesha Tate is the most likely candidate.
What’s next for Carmouche? Sara McMann is a former American wrestler who was scheduled to fight Liz Carmouche in Strikeforce in the past before the event was cancelled. With McMann recently signed to the UFC and without a first opponent, this bout still makes a lot of sense.