A panel of Sportsnet.ca MMA contributors predict the five main card fights from Saturday’s UFC 157 card, starting with the historic main event.
Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche
E. Spencer Kyte: Rousey, Submission, Round 1. Until someone avoids getting armbarred and makes it out of the opening round, I see no reason why I should believe what has happened in nine consecutive fights (three amateur, six pro) isn’t going to happen again this weekend.
Adam Martin: Rousey by Submission, Round 1. Rousey is one of the most dominant fighters in the sport and Carmouche isn’t going to be the woman to stop her. Rousey will win by first-round armbar yet again, and it won’t be a shock to anyone.
Brad Taschuk: Rousey, Submission, Round 1. Contrary to popular belief Rousey is not invincible, but Carmouche isn’t the fighter to expose that. Another quick takedown and armbar are on the menu in this historic fight.
Carlin Bardsley: Rousey, Submission, Round 1. As much as I’d like to see Carmouche pull off a Rocky-style upset, I don’t see it happening.
Dwight Wakabayashi: Rousey, Decision. I think she uses every trick in her book, except the armbar, to make a point and win a decision.
Ryan Young: Rousey, Submission, Round 1. No offence to Carmouche but is there real reason to envision this ending in anything but an armbar? Only question is whether or not it takes longer than a minute (I don’t think it will).
Mike Johnston: Rousey, Submission, Round 2. Rousey finished Sarah Kaufman in 54 seconds and nearly snapped Miesha Tate’s arm off and they are better mixed martial artists than Carmouche is at this stage of her career. Carmouche is far tougher than most are giving her credit for, so I’ll say she surprises people and makes it to round two.
Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida
E. Spencer Kyte: Henderson, Split Decision. I actually think this will be fairly similar to Henderson’s epic clash with Shogun Rua, minus the final two rounds where “Hendo” was gassed and came really close to losing. The 40-something veteran is aggressive early, and Machida’s counter striking style never plays well with the judges.
Adam Martin: Henderson by TKO, Round 1. It’s a close fight and difficult to predict, but I think Henderson is going to find Machida’s chin and knock him out.
Brad Taschuk: Machida, Decision. Henderson’s right hand can put anybody to sleep, but Machida is normally very good at controlling distance and I expect him to be very careful about that in this bout.
Carlin Bardsley: Henderson, TKO, Round 3. Machida is 2-3 in his last five. If Shogun can land a devastating counter right on “The Dragon,” Henderson can land the H-Bomb.
Dwight Wakabayashi: Machida, Decision. Machida will stick and move and wear Henderson out for a decision.
Ryan Young: Machida, Decision. Henderson has one-shot knockout power and the ability to wrestle should he choose to do so; I just don’t think he will. A takedown may be his best route to victory given Machida’s ability to keep distance but I see Hendo staying stubborn and getting out-pointed on the feet for 15 minutes.
Mike Johnston: Henderson, Decision. Machida is probably the most difficult fighter to prepare for, but Hendo can cut off the cage more effectively than Rampage did to Machida at UFC 123.
Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar
E. Spencer Kyte: Faber, Unanimous Decision. “The California Kid” may be 0-5 over his last five title fights, but he’s also 5-0 in non-title fights since losing the WEC featherweight strap to Mike Brown. Faber is still an elite bantamweight, and he’ll outpoint Menjivar in this one.
Adam Martin: Faber, Decision. Menjivar is a crafty veteran but Faber is just a little better than him in most aspects of the game. I think Faber is going to outpoint Menjivar and win a clear decision.
Brad Taschuk: Faber, Decision. This should be one of the more entertaining fights on the card, but I see Faber being a little bit better in the striking, wrestling and scrambling departments, which will carry him to victory.
Carlin Bardsley: Faber, Decision. Menjivar’s a gamer, but Faber is fighting with the knowledge that his job may be on the line.
Dwight Wakabayashi: Faber, Decision. Faber has more ways to win and is just a bit more motivated than Menjivar.
Ryan Young: Faber, Decision. I thought Faber would play it safe and use his wrestling to win long before rumours of his demise crept up this week, and now that they have it only further cements my first thought. Faber rides out top position to an easy W.
Mike Johnston: Faber, Submission. Recently, when Faber stands and trades with his opponents (like when he fought Renan Barao and Dominick Cruz) it hasn’t gone his way, so look for him to mixed it up like he did against Brian Bowles.
Court McGee vs. Josh Neer
E. Spencer Kyte: McGee, Submission, Round 1. Really like McGee moving down to welterweight, where his size and grit will be more of a factor. Neer puts himself in danger far too frequently, and the former TUF winner will sting him with his hands, and then find a submission finish.
Adam Martin: McGee via Decision. McGee is going to take it to Neer in this fight and prove that he’s got the potential to be a dark horse contender in the UFC welterweight division.
Brad Taschuk: McGee, Decision. While both fighters are on two-fight losing streaks heading into this one, McGee seems to be still improving while Neer looks to be on the decline after 46 pro fights. That’s enough to tip the scales in Court’s favour for me.
Carlin Bardsley: McGee, Decision. Loser leaves town match. McGee’s size will be the difference in his welterweight debut.
Dwight Wakabayashi: McGee, Decision. McGee will benefit from the move down and will be too big for Neer.
Ryan Young: McGee, Decision. I almost want to call a stoppage here because of the wear and tear Neer has shown in his last couple of fights. I’ll say decision though as McGee feels things out on the feet before taking the fight to the floor.
Mike Johnston: McGee, Submission, Round 2. McGee looked great at the weigh-ins. Neer is a very tough first test but the TUF 11 winner should be able to overpower him.
Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler
E. Spencer Kyte: Koscheck, Unanimous Decision. Robbie Lawler hasn’t fought at welterweight since he lost to Nick Diaz at UFC 47; that was in April 2004. Conversely, Koscheck has more appearances in the UFC welterweight division than anyone not named Matt Hughes. Look for this to mirror Lawler’s loss to Tim Kennedy.
Adam Martin: Koscheck, Decision. Koscheck should be able to get the takedown on Lawler and control him on the ground. If Lawler can keep the fight standing then he for sure has a chance to knock Koscheck out, but Kosheck knows this is a big fight for him and he’ll play it smart, winning a boring decision.
Brad Taschuk: Koscheck, Decision. Aside from his first fight back after his eye injury, Koscheck has been competitive with top welterweights, win or lose. Lawler doesn’t fall into that category, and after a long absence from 170 I think he will get worn down.
Carlin Bardsley: Lawler, TKO, Round 2. Going with the upset as Lawler has the ability to end this fight with one shot.
Dwight Wakabayashi: Koscheck, Decision. Koscheck’s wrestling will be the difference in this one.
Ryan Young: Koscheck, Decision. It could be a knockout depending on how aggressive Lawler is in his attack, but I don’t see where he has an advantage on Koscheck.
Mike Johnston: Lawler, KO, Round 1. This fight will simply come down to whether or not Lawler can keep it on the feet. Going out on a limb here and saying Lawler can clip Koscheck before the former No. 1 contender imposes his will.