The UFC delivered another successful free card last weekend on Fuel TV but it’s time for the UFC to head for the record books. The UFC returns to the land of Pay Per View this weekend with UFC 157 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. History will be made in the main event as the event is headlined by the first Women’s MMA bout in UFC history as UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey takes on the UFC’s first openly gay fighter in Liz Carmouche.
The co-main event of the evening features what could certainly be one of the most entertaining Light Heavyweight bouts of the year as Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida takes on Dan Henderson in a bout that could certainly determine the next contender for the UFC Light Heavyweight title. Former WEC poster boy Urijah Faber takes on Ivan Menjivar in Bantamweight action on the main card. Two Welterweight bouts will open the main card as Robbie Lawler returns to the UFC to take on Josh Koscheck in the opening bout. The other bout features Court McGee making his Welterweight debut against the always-tough Josh Neer.
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Yuri Villefort
Nah-Shon “The Rock-n-Rolla” Burrell is a 23-year-old fighter who is making his UFC debut after a career in Strikeforce. He trains out of the Fight Firm Gym in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He holds a career record of 8-2. Yuri Villefort is a 21-year-old fighter coming over from Strikeforce. Villefort is a member of the Blackzillians, training at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. Villefort holds a career record of 6-1.
Quick Pick: Nah-Shon Burrell via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Jon Manley vs. Neil Magny
Jon Manley is a 26-year-old fighter from Adams, Massachusetts. Manley is a former cast member from the sixteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He now trains with Team Link in Ludlow, Massachusetts and holds a career record of 7-1. Neil Magny is a 25-year-old fighter from Brooklyn, New York. Like his opponent he fought on the sixteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He is a member of the Torres MMA Gym in Chicago, Illinois training under Miguel Torres. He holds a professional record of 7-1.
Quick Pick: Neil Magny via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Kenny Robertson vs. Brock Jardine
Quick Pick: Brock Jardine via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice
Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez is a 26-year-old from Saugerties, New York. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who was a cast member on the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter where he was the runner up. He holds a career record of 9-3. Matt “The Real One” Grice is a 31-year-old fighter from Harrah, Oklahoma. Like his opponent he is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler. Grice trains with the Titan Martial Arts Gym in Oklahoma. He holds a career record of 15-4.
Quick Pick: Dennis Bermudez via Submission in Round Three
Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Sam Stout vs. Caros Fodor
Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout is a 28-year-old fighter from London, Ontario, Canada. A UFC veteran and former professional kick boxer, he trains with the Team Tompkins Gym in his hometown. Stout holds a professional MMA record of 18-8-1. Caros “The Future” Fodor is a 29-year-old fighter from Kirkland, Washington. Fodor is a member of the AMC Pankration Gym in Washington training with UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson. He holds a career record of 7-2 and is making his UFC debut after an extended Strikeforce career.
Quick Pick: Sam Stout via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Michael Chiesa vs. Anton Kuivanen
Michael “Maverick” Chiesa is a 25-year-old fighter from Aurora, Colorado. He is best known for his stint on the live season of The Ultimate Fighter where he was the eventual winner of the reality show. He now trains with the Sikjitsu Gym in Spokane, Washington. He holds a perfect professional record of 8-0. Anton Kuivanen is a 28-year-old fighter from Helsinki, Finland. He is a member of Team MMA Finland, but also trains in the USA with American Top Team. He holds a professional record of 17-5.
Quick Pick: Michael Chiesa via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Heavyweight Bout: Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson
Brendan “The Hybrid” Schaub is a 29-year-old fighter from Aurora, Colorado. He was the runner-up on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter featuring only Heavyweights. He is a former NFL linebacker and now trains with the Grudge Training Center in Colorado. He holds a professional MMA record of 8-3. Lavar “Big” Johnson is a 35-year-old fighter from Madera, California. A former Strikeforce fighter he came to the UFC in 2012 and quickly racked up two impressive knockout victories. He is a member of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. He holds a professional MMA record of 17-6.
Quick Pick: Lavar Johnson via TKO in Round One
Main Card (Pay Per View): Welterweight Bout: Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler
Josh “Kos” Koscheck is a 35-year-old fighter from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Koscheck was a cast member on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and is a former UFC Welterweight title challenger. Koscheck now trains with the Dethrone Base Camp in Fresno, California. Koscheck’s wrestling is his bread and butter game but his striking has improved over his career. He holds a career record of 17-6.
“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler is a 30-year-old fighter from Davenport, Iowa. Despite being only 30 he has a long and decorated history in the sport of MMA competing as a pro since 2001. He has fought for a number of major MMA promotions including the UFC, Strikeforce, Icon Sport, Pride, Elite XC and the IFL. Lawler is a striker with big power, who has spent the majority of his career at Middleweight, but is dropping to 170-pounds for his return to the UFC. He is a member of the H.I.T. Squad in Granite City, Illinois. He holds a professional record of 19-9 with 1 No Contest.
Analysis and Prediction: Koscheck doesn’t have the greatest chin or the greatest striking defense, as he’s been chin-checked in the past by lesser strikers than Lawler. With that said, Lawler has slowed significantly recently and is likely in the twilight of his career. Lawler is a decent wrestler, but he’s poor at fighting from his back, which is where Koscheck is most likely to put him. Koscheck will likely test his striking against Lawler, but I expect that if he struggles at all he’s going to shoot for a takedown. From there ground and pound will likely set up a submission. Josh Koscheck via Submission in Round One
Main Card (Pay Per View): Welterweight Bout: Court McGee vs. Josh Neer
Court “The Crusher” McGee is a 28-year-old fighter from Layton, Utah. He is best known as the eventual winner of the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. McGee is a true grinder and is well rounded mixing his striking and takedowns. McGee holds a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He trains with The Pit Elevated Fight Team in Orem, Utah. He is making his Welterweight debut after a two fight losing streak in the UFC’s Middleweight division. McGee holds a professional record of 13-3.
Josh “The Dentist” Neer is a 29-year-old fighter from Des Moines, Iowa. He formerly trained under Pat Miletich but now trains with the Cesar Gracie Fight Team in California. Neer holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a tough, well-rounded fighter with strong takedowns and excellent top control. Despite not yet being 30 years old Neer has been fighting as a pro since 2003 and has over 45 career bouts. Neer holds a career record of 33-12-1, with 29 stoppage victories.
Analysis and Prediction: Both of these fighters are grinders, so this one is likely going to come down to who can impose their will on the other one. Neer has decent cardio, but he has slowed down in the third rounds of fights before, if the other fighter makes him work. Provided McGee doesn’t lose a ton of his cardio with the weight cut, he should be able to push the pace on Neer and wear him down. McGee uses takedowns and top control to take a decision. Court McGee via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Bantamweight Bout: Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar
Urijah “The California Kid” Faber is a 33-year-old fighter from Isla Vista, California. Faber is a former WEC Featherweight Champion, a title that he held for over two years in the WEC. Faber is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from the University of California at Davis. He holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has continually improved his striking throughout his career. Faber is a member of and one of the founders of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. Faber holds a career record of 26-6.
Ivan “The Pride of El Salvador” Menjivar is a 30-year-old fighter from La Paz, El Salvador. He holds the distinction of being Georges St. Pierre’s first career opponent. Menjivar holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and now trains at the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Menjivar is an aggressive grappler who continually seeks submissions on the ground and has 10 career submission victories. Still, as aggressive as his guard is, Menjivar does his best work from top control. Menjivar is a veteran fighter with this being his 35th career bout, he holds a professional record of 25-9.
Analysis and Prediction: This is actually a rematch from Canadian promotion TKO in 2006, which ended in controversy after Menjivar was DQ’ed for landing an illegal kick. Things have changed since then, and Menjivar is probably going to struggle mightily in this bout. There’s not really an area where Menjivar holds the edge over Faber. Faber struggled against Renan Barao in his last bout and was beaten to the punch multiple times, but he’s still technically sound enough to get the better of Menjivar and still packs decent power in his punches. On the ground Menjivar isn’t going to be able to confuse and outwork Faber, who excels in quick scrambles for position and is a smothering wrestler from the top. Faber batters Menjivar, but the El Salvadorian survives to drop a decision. Urijah Faber via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Light Heavyweight Bout: Lyoto Machida vs. Dan Henderson
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida is a 34-year-old Brazilian fighter from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Machida is one of the top fighters in the Light Heavyweight division and is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Machida is an excellent striker whose unorthodox style confuses and frustrates many of his opponents. Machida is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and also holds a 3rd dan black belt in Shotokan Karate. Machida is a member of the Black House Gym in Brazil training with longtime friends Anderson Silva and the Nogeuira brothers. He holds a professional record of 18-3.
Dan “Hollywood/Hendo” Henderson is a 42-year-old fighter from Downey, California. Henderson was the final Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion and is a former Welterweight and Middleweight Champion in Pride Fighting Championships and is the only fighter to ever hold two titles in two different weight classes at the same time. Henderson is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who represented the USA in Greco-Roman Wrestling at the Olympics. Henderson is a head coach and one of the founding members of the Team Quest Gym. Henderson is best known for his wrestling prowess, his powerful right hand and his iron chin, having never been knocked out in 37 career fights. Henderson holds a career record of 29-8.
Analysis and Prediction: This is probably the most intriguing fight of the night and has the potential to be either a Fight of the Night contender or a snoozer, depending on how things play out. Machida is usually cautious and willing to wait for opportunities in the striking department, but Henderson is a patient striker himself. Henderson has also never been knocked out in his career, so he’s usually willing to take a few punches to look for an opening for the H-Bomb. Machida’s speed advantage is going to be extremely important if he wants to be successful.
One of the other big stories of this fight will be Machida’s willingness to engage. In his bout against Rampage he landed more punches and landed more accurately but he allowed Rampage to be the aggressor and it ended up costing him a decision. With Henderson’s strong Greco-Roman background a similar strategy could be disastrous if Henderson is able to get hold of him and pressure him against the cage. Machida will need to keep himself separated from Henderson and stay away from the power punch.
The likely outcome for this fight is that Machida uses his elusive style to slip and move and stays on his bicycle long enough to stay away from Henderson. The smart money says that Machida takes a decision. But I’ve never hidden my man-crush on Henderson, so I’m taking him via knockout via H-Bomb. WAR HENDO! Dan Henderson via KO in Round Three
Main Card (Pay Per View): Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout: Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche
“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey is a 26-year-old fighter from Riverside County, California. She is quickly becoming one of the sports most recognizable and popular fighters. She was the final Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion and is the reigning and defending UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Rousey is a talented grappler with a 4th dan black belt in Judo. She is one of the most accomplished Judo practitioners in US history winning a bronze medal in Judo at the 2008 Olympic games. Rousey is a talented grappler who now trains with the Cesar Gracie Fight Team in Santa Monica, California. Rousey holds a perfect professional record of 6-0, with all 6 of her victories coming via first round submissions from arm bars.
Analysis and Prediction: Hopefully Carmouche has been doing a whole lot of arm bar defense during his training camp. That’s one of the dangerous things about fighting Rousey right now, while you’re busy making sure she doesn’t arm bar you, she’s training and getting better in every area of the fight game. Carmouche is a decent fighter, but I think she’s likely going to be a step behind no matter where this fight goes. If she’s tentative Rousey will become the aggressor and stalk her down. If Carmouche tries to be the aggressor she risks running into Rousey’s vaunted Judo game and being tossed to the mat where she enters the grappling domain of Rousey and opens her up for the arm bar.
No matter where this fight goes, I don’t think Carmouche stands too much of a chance. Rousey, first round, arm bar. Ronda Rousey via Submission in Round One
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