History will be made Saturday night as the UFC hosts its first ever women’s bout, a championship contest between undefeated Ronda Rousey and No. 1 contender Liz Carmouche.
UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche will come live from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., with pay-per-view action starting at 10 PM ET. A full preliminary card – to be broadcast on FX and Facebook – will be held beforehand.
The historic event marks the sixth time the UFC has held an event in Anaheim, and the first since UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos on Nov. 12, 2011. The Honda Center famously saw Cain Velasquez defeat then-UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar in Oct. 2010.
As well as featuring the Rousey-Carmouche fight, UFC 157 will see light-heavyweights Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson take to the Octagon in a bid to cement No. 1 contender status for Jon “Bones” Jones’ title.
Rousey vs. Carmouche
Even by UFC standards, the hype surrounding this debut is something else. Saturday night is gearing up to be something special, although it could be over before you know it.
Ronda Rousey (6-0-0) will look to remain unbeaten as she competes in the UFC Octagon for the first time. Her last contest saw her successfully defend the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championship at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman, that promotion’s penultimate event.
Rousey has finished all six professional fights in the first round utilizing an armbar. Only one of those bouts went longer than one minute; she defeated Meisha Tate for the Strikeforce title in 4:27 back on Mar. 3, 2012, her fifth pro fight.
After all the hype and publicity, Dana White and the rest of the Zuffa brass will probably be hopeful this one goes a little longer. So will Rousey’s opponent.
After a pair of defeats sent Liz Carmouche (7-2-0) to a 2-2-0 record in Strikeforce, the San Diego fighter appeared at the first two Invicta FC events in 2012, securing two victories. Carmouche handed Ashleigh Curry a TKO defeat and besting Kaitlin Young by submission.
It was reported that the fighter known as “Girl-Rilla” was set to make a Strikeforce comeback last November, but the scheduled event was axed as the promotion set to close its doors. Now she gets to fight on the biggest MMA stage of all.
The UFC has been criticized in some territories for serving up a weak opponent for Rousey in her first bout with the company. Carmouche will look to prove such doubters wrong with a strong performance in Anaheim.
Rousey enters the championship bout as favorite (1/10) with Carmouche considered the underdog (
Machida vs. Henderson
UFC 157 didn’t need another marquee fight to stir up interest, but it got one anyway.
Ranked No. 2 and No. 3 (by Sherdog) in the light heavyweight division respectively, Dan Henderson (29-8-0) and Lyoto Machida (18-3-0) will take to the Octagon in what many believe could be the fight of the year.
After falling to Jon Jones at UFC 140 in a Fight of the Night performance, Machida continues his bid to get another shot at the champ. Machida turned down a short-notice opportunity to challenge Jones last September. The southpaw from Salvador will hope that a win over Henderson will propel him to top contender status in a fully-scheduled bout.
The Los Angeles fighter defeated Ryan Bader last time out (Aug. 4), knocking out the Tempe, Ariz., wrestler in the second round.
Henderson on the other hand will be looking to put the halters on Machida and improve his own standing in the process. The final Strikeforce light heavyweight champion has won four straight and seven of the last eight.
His most recent bout – a victory over Mauricio Rua, the man who stripped Machida of the light heavyweight title – saw him return to UFC after a stint with Strikeforce, and was awarded Fight of the Year honors for 2011.
Henderson had been scheduled to face Jones at UFC 151 last September, but an injury kept him out and effectively cancelled that event.
Machida enters the bout as favorite (5/12) although Henderson (19/10) has seen plenty of action with the bookmakers.
Best of the Rest
Elsewhere on the main card, Urijah Faber (26-6-0) will look to bounce back from two losses in three bouts as he takes on Ivan Menjivar (25-9-0) in the bantamweight division. Menjivar is an impressive 4-1 since joining the UFC, earning two Submission of the Night awards in the process.
Faber is the favorite (4/15) heading into the fight but Menjivar (57/20) will like his chances.
In the welterweight division, Court McGee (13-3-0) will tussle with the veteran Josh Neer (33-12-1). Both fighters have dropped two bouts in a row so a win on Saturday night will be crucial for both parties.
McGee is favored (1/3) over Neer (23/10).
In the main card opener, Josh Koscheck (19-6-0) will square off again former Strikeforce combatant Robbie Lawler (19-9-0, 1NC) in the welterweight division. Again, both fighters are coming off a loss and will be looking to score a victory by any means necessary.
Koscheck (1/5) is favored over Lawler (7/2), who has dropped three of his last four bouts heading into his UFC debut.
For a full list of UFC 157’s undercard bouts and current odds, check our quick guide below.
UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche
Saturday 23 February, 10:00 PM ET
Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
All odds supplied by Bovada.
“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (6-0-0) vs. Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche (7-2-0)
Class: Women’s Bantamweight (Championship Bout)
Odds: Rousey (1/10), Carmouche (6/1)
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (18-3-0) vs. Dan “Hendo” Henderson (29-8-0)
Class: Light Heavyweight
Odds: Machida (5/12), Henderson (19/10)
Urijah “The California Kid” Faber (26-6-0) vs. Ivan “Pride of El Salvador” Menjivar (25-9-0)
Odds: Faber (4/15), Menjivar (57/20)
Court “The Crusher” McGee (13-3-0) vs. Josh “The Dentist” Neer (33-12-1)
Odds: McGee (1/3), Neer (23/10)
Josh “Kos” Koscheck (19-6-0) vs. Robbie “Ruthless” Lawler (19-9-0, 1NC)
Odds: Koscheck (1/5), Lawler (7/2)
Brendan “The Hybrid” Schaub (9-3-0) vs. “Big” Lavar Johnson (17-6-0)*
Odds: Schaub (2/3), Lavar Johnson (6/5)
Michael “Maverick” Chiesa (8-0-0) vs. Anton Kuivanen (17-5-0)*
Odds: Chiesa (20/41), Kuivanen (33/20)
Dennis “The Menace”Bermudez (10-3-0) vs. Matt “The Ral One” Grice (15-4-0)*
Odds: Bermudez (2/9), Grice (13/4)
Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout (19-8-1) vs. Caros “The Future” Fodor (7-2-0)*
Odds: Stout (5/4), Fodor (20/31)
Kenny Robertson (11-2-0) vs. Brock “The Machine” Jardine (9-2-0)^
Odds: Robertson (27/20), Jardine (20/33)
Jon Manley (7-2-0) vs. Neil Magny (7-2-0)^
Odds: Manley (27/20), Magny (20/33)
Nah-Shon Burrell (8-2-0) vs. Yuri Villefort (6-1-0)^
Odds: Burrell (20/23), Villefort (20/23)
Preliminary bouts marked (*) will air on FX.
Preliminary bouts marked (^) will air on the UFC Facebook page.