The Ultimate Fighting Championship makes history on Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California at UFC 157. UFC President Dana White once said that women would never fight in the UFC, but he did not count on someone with the looks, ability and charisma that Ronda Rousey has rolled into one hot package. Rousey is a former Olympian in judo, who is also skilled in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and is now the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Plus, she’s really hot, which makes it so much better and easier for Dana White to sell (and us to watch). Saturday night marks the first time that women not only fight in the UFC, but headline the event, as Rousey defends her UFC Bantamweight Title against Liz Carmouche. For fans that have zero interest in watching women fight, the card is also extra loaded, with several other great match-ups. Let’s get to the picks:
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Nah-Shon Burrell OVER Yuri Villefort, John Manley OVER Neil Magny, Brock Jardine OVER Kenny Robertson
Preliminary Card (FX): Sam Stout OVER Caros Fodor, Matt Grice OVER Dennis Bermudez, Michael Chisea OVER Anton Kuivanen, Brendan Schaub OVER Lavar Johnson
Main Card (Pay-Per-View):
Josh Koscheck (17-6) vs. Robbie Lawler (19-9-1) – Welterweight Bout – There was a point in time where Josh Koscheck was a major contender in the Welterweight Division, he even challenged Georges St. Pierre for the Welterweight Title at UFC 124. He had one two fights in a row, until losing a split decision to Johnny Hendricks last May, a controversial outcome. It seems that Kos has regained the winning form that once made him a contender, and he looks to out that controversial split decision to Hendricks behind him, against dangerous striker Robbie Lawler. Lawler is a veteran, who used to compete at middleweight and welterweight in UFC, Pride and Strikeforce, and he will be making his return to the UFC on Saturday Night. Lawler has major power, and if he catches Koscheck early it could be a quick fight, but Koscheck is a cerebral fighter and his wrestling ability will be too much for Lawler. THE PICK: Koscheck by TKO in the Second Round.
Court McGee (13-3) vs. Josh Neer (33-12-1) – Welterweight Bout – After two consecutive losses, McGee drops down from middleweight to welterweight, to take on veteran Josh “The Dentist” Neer. McGee was a muscular middleweight, and for most fighters I would worry that dropping down to welterweight would hurt their conditioning, but I do not feel that way about McGee. His cardio is legendary and he never tires. I am a big fan of Josh Neer, because his fights are always exciting and full of action, however he has lost two in a row. Although Neer will make it interesting and he is more comfortable at welterweight than McGee is, I think the bigger, stronger McGee has the advantage. THE PICK: McGee by Submission in the Third Round.
Urijah Faber (26-6) cs. Ivan Menvijar (25-9) – Bantamweight Bout – When we last saw Faber, he lost an Interim UFC Bantamweight Title to Renan Barao, and despite all of his career wins he has lost two of his previous three fights. He squares off against Ivan Menjivar, who is (4-1) in his last five matchups in the UFC, with the only loss being to Mike Easton. These two fighters met previously in January of 2006, for the now defunct TKO promotion, and Menjivar was disqualified for an illegal kick to a downed opponent giving Faber the win. I expect this fight to go the distance, and while Menjivar is crafty, I think that Faber has an advantage and will get himself back in contention with a win. THE PICK: Faber by Decision.
Lyoto Machida (18-3) vs. Dan Henderson (29-9) Light Heavyweight Bout – Two future Hall-of-Famers and legends of the sport battle in a match which any true fan would pay to see as Lyoto Machida takes on Dan Henderson in what will be an epic battle. When you look at Dan Henderson’s win record, it reads like a list of legends of Mixed Martial Arts, he is one of the Greatest-of-All-Time, and he has beaten most of the All-Time-Greats. His wrestling is incredible, and his straight right hand is one of the deadliest weapons we’ve ever seen inside the octagon, capable of ending a fight at any moment. Lyoto Machida is probably the second best Light Heavyweight in the world right now, behind champion Jon Jones, his karate style makes him impossible to read and difficult to hit. He only has three losses in his career, Jon Jones, Rampage Jackson, and Shogun Rua. Ever hear of them? He can finish fights in so many ways, he has seven wins by knockout, but is also a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and has two wins by submission. I wish that this was a five round fight, as opposed to three, because I think that these two warriors will need more than that to finish one another. I think Henderson will be looking for that big right hand, while Machida will score points counter striking, and staying out of harm’s way. In a close one, I give the style and age advantage to Machida, and think he wins a decision. THE PICK: Machida by Decision.
Liz Carmouche (8-2) vs. Ronda Rousey (6-0) – UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship – For the first time ever, women will battle inside the octagon, as Ronda Rousey defends the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title against Liz Carmouche in the main event of the evening. On “The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast” this week, Joe Rogan asked UFC President Dana White what happened that he is now allowing women to compete in the UFC. White’s response was “Ronda happened”. Rousey is the total package she is gorgeous, skilled, competitive, charismatic, she will be the face of the women’s division in the UFC for years to come. She is the reason that women are competing in the UFC. Liz Carmouche is no slouch however, she has finished seven of her eight wins, and she comes into this bout a HUGE underdog which is always dangerous. While Rousey has been doing press all week, Carmouche has been training, thinking that she is going to pound Rousey’s pretty face in. She may do it. However, Rousey has a very dangerous armbar, and she has used it to finish all six of her professional fights in the first round. Safe bet here. I think she does it a seventh time as long as she is ready and not caught up in the hype. THE PICK: Rousey by Submission in the First Round.
Preliminaries (46-32-1) Main Card (42-27) Overall (87-59-1)
Main Events (11-3)
MMA PICKS RECORD (by event):
UFC on FuelTv: McDonald vs. Barao –
Preliminaries (1-5) Main Card (3-3) Overall (4-8)
UFC 156: Edgar vs. Aldo –
Preliminaries (3-3) Main Card (3-2) Overall (6-5)
UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson –
Preliminaries: (4-2) Main Card (2-2) Overall (6-4)
UFC on FX: Bisping vs. Belfort –
Preliminaries (3-3-1) Main Card (2-2) Overall (5-5-1)
Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine –
Preliminaries (5-1) Main Card (4-1) Overall (9-2)
UFC 155: Velasquez vs. dos Santos –
Preliminaries (6-1) Main Card (0-5) Overall (6-6)
UFC on FOX 5: Henderson vs. Diaz –
Preliminaries (2-5) Main Card (3-1) Overall (5-6)
UFC 154: St-Pierre vs. Condit –
Preliminaries (5-2) Main Card (2-3) Overall (7-5)
UFC on FUEL TV: Franklin vs. Cung Le –
Preliminaries (1-2) Main Card (4-1) Overall (5-3)
UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar –
Preliminaries (5-1) Main Card (4-2) Overall (9-3)
UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao –
Preliminaries (4-2) Main Card (2-3) Overall (6-5)
UFC 148: Sliva vs. Sonnen II –
Preliminaries (3-2) Main Card (5-1) Overall (8-3)
UFC 146: Dos Santos vs Mir –
Preliminaries (4-3) Main Card (4-1) Overall (8-4)
UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs. Davis –
Main Card (3-0)