UFC 157 takes place on Saturday night in Anaheim, California and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche
So the first women’s MMA bout in UFC history is upon us and Rousey is rightly the firm favorite here. From a grappling perspective she’s second to none with elite level judo that provides her with multiple ways to take the fight to the mat, and then has an aggressive, offensive ground game that feeds off her instinctual and technical ability to lock on submissions – with the armbar of course being her favorite, but not only way to finish the fight.
Significantly she’s also now making significant strides towards shoring up her striking too, training with elite level male and female boxing coaches. That’s important as even though we’ve not seen a whole lot of her stand-up due to how quickly her fights have been finishing, I’m not entirely convinced by what I’ve seen. It’s noticeable that she’s not as comfortable on the feet as on the mat which means she’s often hell-bent on getting into the clinch as quickly as possible and often takes punches in the process.
As for Carmouche, she’s a strong, tough fighter who’s also most comfortable on the mat. If she can get on top she’ll be looking to work ground and pound in an attempt to wear down Rousey.
I don’t see that happening though – or at least not for long if she does land an early takedown. Rousey is far more technical, more agile and is strong too and I think it’s only a matter of time before she’s isolating an arm. If Miesha Tate and Sarah Kaufman couldn’t find a way to stop her from doing it I just don’t see Carmouche doing so either – I just hope she taps before her arm gets badly damaged.
Ronda Rousey to win by submission in Rd1.
Lyoto Machida vs. Dan Henderson
Some of the co-main event’s thunder has been stolen by the media frenzy surrounding the main event, but this really is an intriguing fight with major implications at the top end of the 205lb weight class.
Essentially what we have hear is a clash of striking styles. For Henderson it’s all about setting up that big right hand that’s proven time and time again to be a showstopper for him regardless of the level of the his opponent. He favors it heavily though making him fairly predictable, and that’s a concern when facing someone like Machida who’s a master at being one step ahead of his opponents and landing perfectly timed counters.
I suspect Hendo will be looking to get into the clinch with Machida at first though in attempt to tie him to one place and then utilize some dirty boxing to slow him down a little. That’s going to be easier said than done given the Brazilian’s movement though.
Machida’s chin is potentially vulnerable so this is going to be a tense fight for him from beginning to end, but I do think he can outpoint Hendo on the feet over the course of three rounds and should have the better cardio in the later rounds as an extra advantage.
Prediction: Lyoto Machida to win by decision.
Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar
In Faber and Menjivar we find two veteran campaigners who hope that their best days aren’t behind them and that they can still keep the door open to a potential title shot in the future.
Both fighters are well-rounded, with Menjivar’s speciality being submissions, while Faber’s wrestling and speed have been major advantages for him over the years.
Overall though I feel Faber is the better fighter, and despite the fact that he’s started to come up short against title holders at both 135lbs and 145lbs he’s proven himself to be more than capable of handling pretty much everybody else, and I think Menjivar falls into that category.
Menjivar’s a tough customer though so I think Faber will get the better of this one, but ultimately won’t be able to provide a big finish.
Prediction: Urijah Faber to win by decision.
Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler
Lawler finally makes his way back to the UFC after many years and is immediately thrown into an extremely tough fight with Koscheck.
Much like Henderson further up this fight card, Lawler has the kind of raw, knockout power that most fighters can only dream about and an excellent chin. Koscheck hits hard too, but for me his power is a little over-rated and in a straight-up firefight I’d give Lawler the edge without question.
While Lawler does have a background in wrestling, I think Koscheck certainly is better in that regard and will also hold a speed and cardio advantage too.
Koscheck likes to stand and trade, but if he’s smart he’ll use his full range of skills here and outgrapple Lawler to a decision win.
Josh Koscheck to win by decision.
Court McGee vs. Josh Neer
In McGee and Neer we find two fighters who are built tough. Neer is the more exciting of the two, always looking to finish fights with either strikes or submissions, though sometimes that can lead to him getting caught himself.
On the other hand McGee is more of a workhorse who uses his durability, pace and cardio to grind down opponents over the course of a fight.
I’d expect we’ll be looking at Neer starting the stronger here and will give McGee a tough time in the striking department early on, but McGee will weather the storm and gain the upper hand in the second and third rounds with takedowns, positional control on the mat and workmanlike ground and pound.
Court McGee to win by decision.
Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson
Michael Chiesa vs. Anton Kuivanen
Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice
Sam Stout vs. Caros Fodor
Kenny Robertson vs. Brock Jardine
Jon Manley vs. Neil Magny
Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Yuri Villefort