Allen: UFC 157 will be an historical night with the headliner being the first ever female fight. For the past year, Ronda Rousey has been one of the most popular MMA fighters in the world. She has become a phenomenon that is starting to have a bigger fan base than 90 percent of the UFC roster.
She will be fighting Liz Carmouche, which may not be an epic battle but this is a big deal. The company as a whole is evolving and Dana White won’t hesitate to use fighters that are proven commodities. That is why I’m not upset like some people are that the co main event isn’t the main event. This is a new element to the UFC and it’s a smart business decision to showcase what women can bring to the company.
Dan Henderson versus Lyoto Machida is a major showdown and it should be the fight of the night. I’m excited for it just like everyone should be and the winner should be facing Jon Jones in the summer or fall. The card itself isn’t very strong, but those two fights definitely have most people’s attention.
Usually I don’t start out with a question, but I have to ask John Villarreal right away. Are you upset that Rousey versus Carmouche is the main event over two legends like Machida and Henderson? Also, I’d like to see people that comment below if they are upset over it because I’ve seen a lot of debate about it.
John: The historical significance alone, they deserve this spot. The first major reason is that women are FINALLY in the UFC! I love watching women fight; I've always been a huge fan of women's combat since the days of Christy Martin on the post-prison Mike Tyson under-cards of the late 90's.
They are not afraid of getting hit, they don't move backward, and they have non-stop aggression. Not the best strategy sometimes, but they are all in it to finish. The second reason is that this is a huge step for where we are as a nation, but the very first openly gay fighter walks into the Octagon in Liz Carmouche.
Never thought we would see women, never thought we would see a gay fighter? Well, it all happens in one fell swoop and I'm proud of both women. I know, for a fact, they will not disappoint. They have caught lots of flack from the knuckleheaded few, who don't understand what a great business model the UFC is.
This opens the UFC up to two very important demographics they wouldn't have otherwise, women and gay women. I couldn't be happier because both of those demos deserve equality across the board...except for the WNBA. They can go layup on the Oprah Channel and get off my television. Now that I've angered Jesse Spano, on to the card!
Welterweight: Josh Koscheck vs Robbie Lawler
Allen: This matchup comes as a surprise to me especially for someone like Koscheck. I’ve never been a fan of Koscheck, but he’s been arguably one of the most consistent welterweights in history. Other than his loss to George St. Pierre, he’s been mostly successful in his last three years of fighting. It surprised me that he lost to Johnny Hendricks; it should have been either a Koscheck win or a draw.
Lawler is a solid veteran, but is he a worthy competitor to someone like Koscheck? His 3-5 record in the last 8 fights doesn’t help, along with a history of getting dominated on the ground. This is going to be a tough matchup countering the wrestling ability of Koscheck. Lawler is unpredictable and has one-punch knockout power, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to handle constant takedowns.
Even though he’s 35 years old, Koscheck still seems motivated and is still putting on good performances. He stays in fantastic shape and remains to be the arrogant fighter that he’s been for years. I’m expecting a big performance from him to continue to prove he’s still a top welterweight in a stacked division.
Lawler will have his moments of threatening him, but I’m expecting three rounds of Koscheck controlling the fight. It should be a good opener to get the crowd midly excited, but this shouldn’t be a close decision.
Winner: Koscheck via unanimous decision
John: I love this one with two school guys that have heavy hands; this is a great curtain jerker if Koscheck keeps the fight on the feet. I don't want to see Kos pull a dedication “Floor'N'Bore” because his boy Fitch is on the phone with Bellator right now. Please keep it standing Kos, so Lawler can beat the idiot out of you. I don't think Lawler wins, even though I want him to.
Kos is going to get Lawler worn down by grappling on the fence and once Lawler's defense opens up, Kos will get those 4oz gloves through. I've got Kos by KO in the 2nd. Again, I hope this opens, because this is UFC 101.
Winner: Koscheck via second round knockout
Welterweight: Court McGee vs Josh Neer
Allen: I’m surprised that this is the replacement fight for Chad Mendes versus Manny Gamburyan. Wouldn’t it be better to get the crowd more excited with two heavyweights like Brendan Schaub and Lavar Johnson battling? I don’t like that decision at all especially with both fighters losing their last 2 fights.
Neer is a fan favorite because he is known to make fights into wars. He is very scrappy with how much pressure he puts on his opponent. If he could keep pressure on McGee limiting his strength advantage, then he should have success. It will be important for him to stay active but to be cautious, especially after losing in the first round in his last 2 fights.
This is the welterweight debut for McGee, which has people optimistic. Many people including myself are still surprised he lost to Nick Ring after clearly causing more damage the last two rounds of the fight. I’m expecting him to be aggressive from the beginning and to keep the fight standing up. Even though he doesn’t knock out people often, his stand up is good and it opens his opponent's up for submissions.
Even though this fight has some potential, I still see more potential in the heavyweight fight to have more action. This should be a scrappy bout, but I don’t see a clear finish. It should be a decent fight that McGee will win by starting out strong in the first 2 rounds. Neer should make a nice comeback, but McGee’s welterweight debut will be a success.
Winner: McGee via unanimous decision
John: Um, why is this on the main card? Oh, that's right, they have to keep the Fox execs happy and put Schaub vs. Johnson on the UC. I'd rather have Jon Fitch fight in this spot. The loser gets cut, what's the point? McGee and Neer are both coming off two losses. This isn't exactly Ultimate Warrior versus Macho Man Randy Savage in a career match. I hope they both lose, but I have to be somewhat professional.
Winner: Neer by whatever in whatever round. *How's That?
Bantamweight: Urijah Faber vs Ivan Menjivar
Allen: This may be a possible No.1 contender’s fight since Dominick Cruz may still be injured until 2014. Both fighters are worthy challengers and it should make up to be an intense fight. Just like many people, I’m sick of Faber and his constant title shots but sadly there aren’t many worthy contenders in the division.
It seems like after every loss, Faber puts on one good performance and he fights for the title again. Faber will always be a top fighter, but he should have to do more to earn a title shot even in a depleted division. He is a great wrestler that has devastating ground-and-pound with a versatile submission background.
I’m happy Menjivar is finally getting a shot against a star fighter. I’ve always been impressed by Menjivar, even though his performance against Mike Easton was very disappointing. Other than that, he’s always putting on exciting performances and has put on a plethora of highlight-reel submission victories.
It should be a great battle that I see as a possibility that could get the crowd standing in excitement. I’m expecting a few close calls with Menjivar going for a few submissions to counter Faber’s ground-and-pound. Menjivar will push Faber all three rounds to make it very hard for the judges to make a decision. It will be close, but Faber will pull out a close decision much to the dismay of most fans outside of California.
Winner: Faber via split decision.
John: Menjivar beat a guy named Azamat in his last appearance. If anyone remembers "Da Ali G Show" or the "Borat" movie, you will appreciate that. Oh, Faber is back? Oh... Is he going to get a title shot if he wins? ...Again? ...Really? ...Why? ...Oh... Because of his man/boy relationship with Dana White? ...Oh, thank you imaginary reference person.
I think Faber will win, since he usually does decent against guys that aren't that great. He is in full Matt Hughes mode right now. The luster has all but faded on this once young, up-and-comer. No more title hopes, just paydays for him.
Faber's ship has not only sailed, but the engine room caught fire and it's being towed back to Alabama by a couple of tugboats. Oh, a strap broke on the tugboat? Is Faber going to be ok? Oh... He is? Oh.
Winner: Faber via unanimous decision, which Joe Rogan will REALLY like
Can we get a fight I want to see, imaginary reference person? Oh, Henderson and Machida are on this card? Well why didn't you say so?
Light Heavyweight: Dan Henderson vs Lyoto Machida
Allen: Can Henderson return from a long layoff to counter the unpredictable style of Machida? This matchup couldn’t get any better with two fighters that have massive fan bases. They are amongst the most respected fighters in the octagon and this is a matchup that nobody has seen before.
Henderson hasn’t fought in over a year and it still amazes that he’s still fighting at 42 years old. With a title shot on the line, I’m expecting Henderson to be very aggressive and to be constantly moving around considering how dangerous Machida is. He will likely look to take Machida to the ground, along with attempting to land his infamous H-Bomb punch.
Machida is the perfect challenge for Henderson with his unpredictability. After his knockout of Ryan Bader, it was another example of how dangerous Machida his. I’m looking forward to see his takedown defense, which has always been top notch against the wrestling ability against Henderson. Also, you could see some constant leg kicks to test Henderson’s mobility and take away some of his explosiveness.
This is a major toss-up on who would win. Machida seems to be very capable of winning based on being more elusive and being more rounded than Henderson. I’m still going to pick Henderson here with a decisive victory. Machida isn’t going to be able to trade strikes with Henderson in stand up that much. He’ll be pressed against the cage and then eventually get caught with too many punches by Henderson.
Winner: Henderson via second round TKO
John: This is a fanboy’s dream. The legendary and ageless Olympian with a sonic right hand in Dan Henderson versus the “Japazilian Karate Wizard” with the discipline of a monk fisherman in Lyoto Machida. Machida is going to be too careful and he won’t get to Henderson's chin without eating a shot first.
I think that Machida can score points at distance, but Henderson will get to him eventually. Some might see it as a comeback win for him, but he's just going to wait for Machida's chin to show itself. When it does, Machida will be on his way to the nearest medical facility. Henderson might be down on the cards at this point, but I think he wins in the third by KO.
Winner: Henderson via third round KO
Women's Bantamweight Championship: Ronda Rousey vs Liz Carmouche
Allen: This fight is a complete mismatch, but it does have a special feeling to it. I have always been pro-women’s MMA and look forward to see how people perceive it. This is still a huge test for Rousey considering all the pressure is on her to win. She has been labeled as the golden girl in a woman’s division that doesn’t have many fighters.
Rousey has a strong judo background that she uses to takedown and smother her opponents. That sets up her infamous arm-bar to finish off her fights. I’m intrigued to see if her stand up has improved since she’s going to have to continue to evolve as a fighter. She should throw a few punches, possibly even more than her last fight against Sarah Kaufman.
You have to give all the credit in the world towards Carmouche for taking this fight. Everyone was hoping for Cyborg Santos to take the fight, but Carmouche stepped up without hesitation. Her best hope is to keep it stand-up and try to lure Rousey in a striking match. It will be difficult but she has to be aggressive from the beginning.
Despite Carmouche having a great story about having a tremendous work ethic and being the first lesbian in the UFC, she doesn’t have much of a chance. Rousey is smart and she knows she can dominate this fight on the ground. I’m expecting this to be a normal Rousey fight and she’ll deliver as usual. Carmouche will last one round to surprise the crowd.
Winner and Still Champion: Rousey via second round arm bar.
John: This one might be the most anticipated, but let's not get it twisted. This is a feeder fight to showcase their Golden Girland I don't mean Blanche Devereaux (Not a single one of you will get that reference). I mean "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey as the golden girl.
The Olympic Bronze Medal winning Judoka will add another arm to the collection. This will not be a cakewalk, because the "Girl-Rilla" Carmouche, is going to bring it on, similar to that of Donkey Kong. The rowdy one finishes fast again.
Winner and Still Champion: Rousey via first round arm bar.
John: That wraps up a busy week for me. We have several fighters getting ready at One Fight Club and March is going to be a challenge with possibly 8 of them getting in the cage. Those with AXS TV, make sure to check out my teammate and my friend Charlie Ontiveros next Friday, March 1st as he takes on Todd "Hello Japan" Moore. The event will be live from Houston, Texas. Look for me in the Triumph United shirt and be sure to head to Triumph United.com for the best MMA, skate, and surf gear.
Allen: I’m not expecting a great overall card with highlight-reel knockouts or any major headlines after the PPV. I’ve noticed a recent trend lately that so many rumors and headlines happen after the fights that usually keeps me up talking to people till around 3 in the morning.
It should be one of those nights that have fans enjoying the PPV for what it’s worth and going to sleep afterwards if they are watching it at home. We should all be hoping for Henderson and Machida put on a show, even if it ends in the second round.
If you are looking for explosive knockouts, then you should skip this one until the last two fights. You would have to be a dedicated fan to like the entire card. The intrigue of Rousey and the co-main event definitely has my interest; it’s just the other fights I’m skeptical about.
I’m still going to watch every fight and hope a few fighters can step up with some clear finishes rather than go for predictable decisions.
John's Facebook: John Thunderdimples Villarreal
John's Twitter: @Thunderdimples
Allen's Facebook: Allen Strk
Allen's Twitter: @Allen_Strk
You can also e-mail me at AStrk19@gmail.com if you don't like social media and have long comments or questions.