When most UFC events are announced there isn’t much excitement outside of the mixed martial arts fan base, but UFC 157 has been different.
It makes sense, with the main event featuring the first ever pair of women to headline a UFC card in UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey defending her title against Liz Carmouche. The historical significance alone is worth writing about, which I did here.
But, let’s not forget how stacked this main card is otherwise. While we’re at it, let’s make some picks.
UFC 157 takes place Saturday night at 10ET/7PT on Pay-Per-View from Anaheim, Ca. Like all PPV events, there are five scheduled fights on the main card. The night is scheduled to begin with a welterweight bout between Josh Koscheck and Robbie Lawler.
Koscheck (17-6-0) vs Lawler (19-9-1): Lawler is not only making his return to the welterweight division, but is making his first appearance in the UFC since a 2004 loss to Evan Tanner. After fighting for the now the defunct Strikeforce promotion, Lawler is paired up against Koscheck who has long been considered a top welterweight. Kos had a two-fight win streak snapped by Johny Hendricks last May and, just like Lawler, is looking to climb up the ladder in a deep 170-pound weight class. This one has the makings of an all-out brawl, which would favor Lawler in the end. PICK: Robbie Lawler
Court McGee (13-3-0) vs Josh Neer (33-12-1): This welterweight bout features to fighters going through some rough times inside the octagon. Both have lost two-straight bouts, McGee has lost two straight decisions while Neer has lost via submission and KO in the first-round. It is safe to assume that fans will witness a war between two hungry fighters trying to prove they still belong and can thrive in a deep division. McGee has shown the ability to put up great fights consistently and has been on the verge his last two times out and that is unlikely to change this time out. PICK: Court McGee
Urijah Faber (26-6) vs Ivan Menjivar (25-9): “The California Kid” has not fought since losing to Renan Barao in a bout for the interim bantamweight title, which was back in July. With almost a year to get past that fight and focus on rebuilding what has been a stellar career he returns to take on Menjivar who defeated Azamat Gashimov in November. The 135-pound weight class is not as deep as many other weight classes and, with two champions currently leading the pack, there is an opportunity for one of these two to gain a title opportunity. Menjivar has been on a tear lately, winning four of his last five bouts, while Faber has had an inconsistent time in the UFC. Expect Menjivar to put on a strong effort and continue his current roll. PICK: Ivan Menjivar
Dan Henderson (29-8) vs Lyoto Machida (18-3): It has been over a year since “Hendo” has stepped foot in the octagon, when he defeated Mauricio Rua in 2011′s Fight of the Year. In that time, he was slated to battle Jon Jones for the light-heavyweight title but that bout was cancelled due to Henderson suffering a knee injury. Machida, whose last bout was a KO victory over Ryan Bader, could have stepped in to fight Jones but declined on short-notice. Now, the two legends meet with the winner getting the next shot at the LHW title. It is always difficult to not pick Henderson and the infamous “H-Bomb”, but it will be difficult to catch Machida. Expect both men looking for a finish and to do it with strikes. PICK: Dan Henderson
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey (6-0) vs Liz Carmouche (8-2): With the eyes of the MMA world, and mainstream media, focusing in on Rousey vs Carmouche there’s a lot of expectations. The two have taken part in the UFC’s Primetime series, which is a three-episode build-up to the fight, and have been all over the media. The fight, however, is more evenly matched than most would like to admit. Rousey is well-known for her Judo and submissions, but Carmouche has been hard at work on her defense and striking. Carmouche has one five of her fights via KO/TKO and even has a pair of submission victories under her belt. The UFC opens up their women’s bantamweight division with two great fighters that are capable of putting on a fantastic fight. PICK: Ronda Rousey
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