UFC 157: The Rousey Experiment

UFC 157 will mark several milestones in MMA’s young history. It will be the first time the world’s biggest MMA promotion will headline an event with a female bout. It will be the first time the world’s biggest MMA promotion will even promote a female bout. And, perhaps most importantly, it will be the second time a lesbian has competed in the Octagon (with Keith Hackney’s watershed appearance at UFC 3 being the first).

I’ll quickly run through the Facebook prelims first. Bermudez will win because Matt Grice is from Oklahoma, Nah-Shon Burrell will win because he’s a better striker than Yuri Villefort, Brock Jardine will win because he has a better name than Kenny Robertson, and Jon Manley will win because he shares a name with an incompetent MMA referee.

We’ve got a little bit of everything here. TUF guys, Strikeforce guys, women, heavyweight bangers … variety is the spice of life. Here’s the scoop.

Michael Chiesa (1-0 UFC) vs. Anton Kuivanen (1-1 UFC)

File Anton Kuivanen under “Random UFC roster guys I like”. His last fight with Mitch Clarke was really impressive, not because he looked like a million dollars or anything, but because he slowly seemed to figure out how to fight him over 15 minutes. Even Sal D’Amato had him losing the first round, so you know he didn’t come out of the gate looking good. But he figured out Clarke’s tendencies, made adjustments, and by the end of the fight he was wailing on a winded Clarke like he was a bug that wouldn’t die.

Chiesa is good with chokes, but Kuivanen’s two submission losses have come by leglock. Kuivanen has a more well rounded game, but Chiesa really attacks submissions with vigor, and Kuivanen will have trouble keeping up. However, Kuivanen’s fight savvy is what is to be banked on here, and I expect him to score enough points to walk away with a decision win.

Sam Stout (7-7 UFC) vs. Caros Fodor (0-0 UFC)

“He wasn’t fighting,” Stout told MMAmania.com moments after his defeat. “He was running the whole time. I wanted to fight, I came to fight and I didn’t get the fight I wanted.”

“I usually like to come out and put on an exciting fight and it takes two guys to do that, to do those kinds of fights,” Stout explained. “And you know John, he ran, he kept on moving the whole time and I was expecting him to fight me a little more.”

No fighter should be judged on their comments immediately following a bout, especially if they lost. But, I’m gonna bust out the gavel for this one. Sometimes, someone says something so asinine that it cannot be ignored.

You’re complaining that you wanted a “fight” from a guy who beat you soundly at what you supposedly do best. Where was your “K-1 level” striking, Sam? Shouldn’t it have been easier for you to adjust to his “running” because you’re so damn awesome on your feet? Why weren’t you able to cut angles and land those hooks to the body? Why couldn’t you stop running your face into his jab? It usually DOES take two people to make an exciting fight, Sam. The problem is that the fight WAS exciting, because John Makdessi picked you apart like a buzzard on a dead mule.

Again, it’s probably stupid and selective to take Stout to task for these comments, but, I don’t know, I guess I expect a certain amount of class and rationality from some guys. It’s my own damn fault.

Caros Fodor is going to be very difficult for Stout to deal with, as he’s known for sticking on guys and throwing knees, staying right up in their faces, and waiting for them to disengage to land punches. Fodor has knockout power too, as we saw in his 13 second demolition of Justin Wilcox. Sammy will NOT be happy fighting a guy like this. Fodor’s style could fatigue him late, but he should be able to suction himself to Stout enough to produce a decision win.

Josh Neer (6-8 UFC) vs. Court McGee (3-2 UFC)

Josh Neer’s favorite thing to do is sleep. Around the house, in the car, on the plane, and most notably, in whatever cage or ring he’s ever fought in … he’s all about catching some zzz’s, and sometimes the best method of getting to your R.E.M. state is nestling right into a comfy guillotine from Justin Edwards or a relaxing rear naked choke from Eddie Alvarez.

Before Neer finds me and beats me to death, allow me to break this fight down. Court McGee is an okay fighter, but not necessarily the type of guy that would finish Neer. I wouldn’t be shocked if McGee turned in a listless performance where he doesn’t attempt enough offense, and Neer could definitely be viewed as a live ‘dog here. After all, this is a guy that was being taken to the woodshed by Ryan friggin’ Jensen. However, I see McGee being able to dirty box Neer, land a few uppercuts, and stay away from any real damage. McGee by decision.

Lavar Johnson (2-1 UFC) vs. Brendan Schaub (4-3 UFC)

You know, for a relatively stiff standup technician that often ends up on the wrong end of bad KO losses, Brendan Schaub sure has made a name for himself. How many products does this guy endorse? There are probably 100 guys in the UFC more well known than him, and yet, I’m struggling to remember one that I’ve seen on random endcap displays at Walmart (which occurred to me last night).

Like many heavyweight fights, this one is pretty cut and dried. Schaub holds the edge in boxing technique, but Johnson throws absolutely evil uppercuts in the clinch. Johnson also might be the single worst ground fighter in the UFC, so Schaub would be wise to take the fight there. I somehow doubt he will, as he seems to want to get into fast-paced exchanges with guys who have better chins than he. Not everybody is going to fall like Chris Tuchscherer, dude. Johnson by KO.

Josh Koscheck (15-6 UFC) vs. Robbie Lawler (4-3 UFC)

Robbie Lawler takes on Josh Koscheck in a fight that screams “Why the hell is Robbie Lawler dropping to welterweight?” With all of those great, top control based wrestlers, it seems like a horrible division for him. Middleweight seems way more wide open, and he’s fought there most of his career. Befuddling. But, a dude’s gotta get paid, and Koscheck is still a top ten guy at welterweight, so maybe Robbie just saw that upside and took the fight. Fair enough.

I suspect that Koscheck will treat this fight the same as he did Paul Daley: No messing around at all, shooting doubles, and beating Lawler up on top. Lawler is a better striker, but he’s been known to be rocked a bit in the past. If Kos goes into striking mode, Lawler could absolutely win this fight landing big hooks and kicks, but that outcome seems unlikely just because of Kos’s gigantic advantage in the wrestling department. He’s getting a bit long in the tooth, but he’s still Josh Koscheck. Koscheck by decision.

Urijah Faber (2-2 UFC) vs. Ivan Menjivar (4-2 UFC)

Allow me to be the 2,842nd person to make some variation of the “Isn’t it crazy that Urijah Faber is fighting Ivan Menjivar and Ronda Rousey on the same night? It’s like a one night tournament!” joke. That was fun.

Out of all the Team Alpha Male guys, I have to put Faber in the bottom tier when it comes to striking. He doesn’t have too much to offer on the feet other than that overhand right that they all seem to have.

Menjivar is light years beyond Faber in both the speed and “don’t blink when this guy is on his feet” departments … he’s a veteran, he’s got a good submission game, and he looks to end the fight at any moment. There’s alot that he brings to the table. Unfortunately, his best qualities are also what usually cause his demise; he leaves himself open for takedowns, and he leaves himself almost comically open for submissions on the floor because he’s so adamant about being entertaining that he’ll jump onto subs without considering where it might leave him if he doesn’t get the tap.

It’s hard to know what to make of Urijah Faber at this point. There are alot of miles on his odometer, and it’s safe to say that he’s pretty much done improving as a fighter. He’ll always come in great shape, and he’ll always have that scary guillotine that he can do 15 different ways, but his days as an elite mixed martial artist are over.

It’s difficult to imagine Menjivar pounding Faber out, and yet, I can’t shake the image of a battered Faber out of my mind, as Rogan laments that his best days are behind him. Menjivar by a speedy and brilliant TKO.

Dan Henderson (6-2 UFC, 4-2 if you don’t count fights from the ’90s) vs. Lyoto Machida (10-3 UFC)

Dan Henderson is an all time great mixed martial artist. His resume of wins stacks up with anyone else’s. And yet, this matchup with Machida is a veritable nightmare for him in almost every way.

How is he going to close the distance on this man? If he does, how is he going to deal with the fact that Machida is excellent at counter flurries when the time is right? How can he deal with Machida’s kicking offense in a fashion that doesn’t involve him feebly lunging and reaching for Machida, opening himself up to get hit with that left cross? The answer to all of these questions is “He can’t.”

The fact that this is a three round fight does play in Henderson’s favor, though, as he is almost a mortal lock to tire late at this point. But a dangerous guy in the first round is a dangerous guy in the first round, and it wouldn’t be the craziest thing in the world if Henderson lamped Machida with that right hand, because, well … it’s Dan Henderson’s right hand.

Henderson could potentially use his wrestling to score points, but Machida is very good on the ground and could also take Henderson down himself. This fight is just going to be a headache for Dan on the feet. I hope he’s been doing his crunches to strengthen those abs, because Lyoto is going to kick them. Machida by decision.

Ronda Rousey (0-0 UFC) vs. Liz Carmouche (0-0 UFC)                 (Duh)

Discussing what will actually transpire in this fight is not an interesting idea to me. I’m far more interested in the circumstances and ramifications that come from making this fight, as well as the potential ramifications should Ronda Rousey lose.

I don’t know much about women’s MMA, other than the fact that I don’t think it can work on this scale. There just isn’t interest among casual fans, other than the predictable, groan-inducing “Bro, let’s watch a couple of bitches have a catfight!” angle. Think about what has happened with this fight: You have two people from a gender that has never competed in the UFC before headlining a PAY-PER-VIEW, all because Dana White did a 180 on women’s MMA, or, more specifically, Ronda Rousey fighting other women. I realize that Ronda is officially MMA’s “It” girl, and I also realize that she is leaps and bounds above pretty much every other female MMA fighter on the planet when it comes to grappling ability. But geez. A headliner?

If she loses this fight, this might be the UFC’s ultimate “Lets not and say we did” moment. All that hype, all those interviews, all that “this girl is evil when she gets ahold of your arm” rhetoric … purely from a fan’s perspective, wouldn’t you all like to see the UFC’s damage control if she lost? I sure would. I picture her weeping and falling into Uncle Dana’s arms, as Liz Carmouche gives a post fight speech about being gay that is completely inappropriate considering the time and place. Then again, I think about alot of weird other things that will probably never happen.

Rousey by armbar, round TWO. Didn’t see that one coming, did you?

Last event: 4-0

2013 record: 4-0


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