Will Ronda Rousey be able to pull off her tenth straight armbar in the first round against Liz Carmouche? Will Dan Henderson be able to land the H-Bomb to stop Lyoto Machida and earn his long-awaited UFC title shot? The ProMMAnow.com staff answers these questions and many more in our UFC 157 staff picks!
Brendan Schaub (9-3) vs. Lavar Johnson (17-6)
UFC FIGHT ODDS: Schaub -150 vs. Johnson +130
JAN GAETJENS: This should be the end of the Schaub hype train. Johnson by decision
BRIAN FURBY: Lavar Johnson
GARY THOMAS: The big guys step in the cage both needing a win. I am a huge fan of Schaub since TUF 10 but his chin is suspect and Lavar Johnson has that power. I don’t think Schaub can match striking with Lavar. Hopefully it is a good fight that at leasts gets another heavyweight into the conversation. Pick – Johnson via KO Round 2.
JAY CEE: Lavar Johnson via TKO
DENNY HODGE: Decisions are not something that either of these guys see very often. This one won’t go to the cards either. Schaub has been on the wrong end of some brutal knockouts and will have to be careful in the pocket exchanging with Johnson. I believe that Schaub has tightened up his boxing and will stay on the outside using his athleticism to pick apart Johnson. Johnson will have to take chances with the movement of Schaub and he will pay for it. Schaub by TKO.
JACK BRATCHER: In 11 fights, Schaub has gone the distance once. Every other fight has ended by knockout. In 23 total fights, Lavar Johnson has not gone to decision not one single time. Now if you would like to bet me this fight will go to decision, I will take that bet. Schaub has lost his last two fights, to Rothwell and Big Nog – nothing to sneeze at. Johnson is coming off a submission loss to Struve. I have to go with Schaub here. I think he beats most middle tier guys which is basically what Lavar is right now. Schaub by knockout – round one. Really surprised all my other guys here are picking the underdog (I wonder if they looked at the line?):
KELVIN HUNT: Schaub’s chin is suspect. If he doesn’t look to take Johnson down….he’s going to get KTFO. Johnson puts the stamp on that chin.
Josh Koscheck (19-6) vs. Robbie Lawler (19-9, 1 NC)
UFC FIGHT ODDS: Koscheck -450 vs. Lawler +360
JAN GAETJENS: Pretty much every write up I do of a Lawler fight is interchangeable. Either he unleashes a path of first round destruction on his way to a quick finish, or he slowly fades out. This fight will be the latter of the two options. Koscheck by decision
BRIAN FURBY: Josh Koscheck
GARY THOMAS: Robbie Lawler hits hard and has had flashes that he could be relevant at 170 but Koscheck should be able to out wrestle Robbie for a decision. Pick – Kos via decision.
JAY CEE: Josh Koscheck via decision
DENNY HODGE: It’s obvious that Lawler will have to fight off the continued takedown attempts of Josh Koscheck. Although Lawler has improved with his takedown defense, the threat of the takedown will shutdown his opportunities to land with his powerful punches. I don’t see Koscheck doing anything spectacular in this one, but he will grind it out and take the decision. Koscheck by decision.
JACK BRATCHER: I’m curious about this fight for a few reasons. One, I want to see if Lawler can find any new motivation now that he has another shot in the UFC — a shot, by the way, he would’ve never had, had they not bought Strikeforce. Secondly, with the split from AKA, trying to run his own gym, what sort of focus and drive does Koscheck have left? He fought twice in 2012, once in 2011, twice in 2010. It seems like his best days are behind him. He needs to take this fight to the ground and grind out a decision, or possibly pull out an old school submission which he doesn’t seem to use anymore. Either way, he doesn’t want to stand and trade bombs with Lawler. Koscheck by decision.
KELVIN HUNT: If smart Koscheck shows up…he takes it relatively easily with his wrestling and may put Lawler away with ground and pound. He seemed really focused at the weigh-in’s and has been REAL quiet leading up to this fight. If he stands and bangs it’s anybody’s fight. I think Koscheck tries to make a statement here in remembrance of Fitch getting cut this week. Koscheck via decision or TKO.
Court McGee (13-3) vs. Josh Neer (33-12-1)
UFC FIGHT ODDS: McGee -290 vs. Neer +245
JAN GAETJENS: Neer by submission
BRIAN FURBY: Court McGee
GARY THOMAS: Neer welcomes McGee into the welterweight division but both men are coming off back to back losses. McGee was robbed in his loss to Nick Ring. Neer may be able to hang in there but I think McGee takes this one on the scorecards if not knocking him out. Pick – McGee via Decision.
JAY CEE: Josh Neer via submission
DENNY HODGE: Neer will want to stand and bang as he always does, and he is a threat off his back, but McGee will bring nonstop pressure in this one, making Neer fight moving backward. McGee will pick his spots and put Neer on his back, but I think the majority of the fight will take place on the feet and in the clinch. Neer is a tough guy for sure but will get outworked in this one. McGee by decision.
JACK BRATCHER: Both guys are on two-fight skids. I don’t know what it is, but Neer has looked off his last two bouts and was stopped in them both. Both Neer and McGee have good submission games. Neer has the better stand up but McGee has better wrestling. I’m excited about the prospect of making his 170 pound debut here and I think it will pay off. These guys are probably fighting for their job. McGee takes this one via decision.
KELVIN HUNT: McGee is the bigger fighter and the better wrestler. McGee via decision.
Urijah Faber (26-6) vs. Ivan Menjivar (25-9)
UFC FIGHT ODDS: Faber -380 vs. Menjivar +315
JAN GAETJENS: I firmly believe that Faber is the better fighter of the two, but this strikes me as the kind of fight in which Faber, in an attempt to over-zealously assert his superiority, will get clipped. One mistake, one opening, one well placed punch, one hand raised for Menjivar. Menjivar by (T)KO
BRIAN FURBY: Urijah Faber
GARY THOMAS: Faber has skills but has not shown that he has the killer instinct in fights. I think he can withstand punishment and be a grinder but I am not sure that if Menjivar gets him in a bad spot he can withstand. Should be a great fight but I like Menjivar to do enough to win. Pick – Menjivar via Decision
JAY CEE: Urijah Faber via decision
DENNY HODGE: Faber has said the he has constantly improved, but his game has not evolved too much. He will bring energy, and no doubt will look to utilize his speed against Menjivar. Menjivar has a solid mix of skills but will have a hard time keeping the pressure on Faber. I don’t see a finish in this one, but it will be Faber once the cards come back with the nod. Faber by decision.
JACK BRATCHER: I don’t like Faber’s inactivity. He’s only fought once since 2011, whereas Menjivar has fought three times. However, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt as he can handle his own with most anyone and he’s always in peak physical shape. Both guys have a high finishing rate but I see this one going the distance, Faber via decision.
KELVIN HUNT: Menjivar is hard to look good against behind of his style and he’s pretty savvy. However, Faber is a little better everywhere in the cage and should take unanimous decision.
Lyoto Machida (18-3) vs. Dan Henderson (29-8)
UFC FIGHT ODDS: Machida -250 vs. Henderson +210
JAN GAETJENS: In order to win this one Machida will have to put on a signature Lyoto performance- keep his distance, rely on his movement, and counter strike his way to a decision. Even though Hendo is getting up there in terms of mileage and wear on his body, he’s one of the few people at 205lbs who is relentless enough to pursue Machida and walk through his low kicks and distance-creating jabs in pursuit of the takedown or an opening to land an H-bomb. Henderson by (T)KO
BRIAN FURBY: Dan Henderson
GARY THOMAS: Hendo is back and has to feel slighted about his standing in the division. Going from fighting for the belt to not really in the clear picture. Machida should feel the same way. I like the H bomb to shine in this one as Machida gets KTFO. Pick – Henderson by Knockout.
JAY CEE: Dan Henderson by KO
DENNY HODGE: Everybody knows that if Henderson lands with that overhand right it could be nighty-night. The problem with that is, Machida isn’t just going to circle in range and into that right hand. This is a bad style matchup for Henderson. He will have a hard time getting any kind of combinations in on Machida, and will have trouble with the takedown as well. I see Machida picking him apart on the feet. Machida by decision.
JACK BRATCHER: How will Hendo look coming off injury? I think Machida beats most strikers. Remember he was winning against Jon Jones before getting caught in a standing guillotine? Hendo has never been stopped with strikes, could Machida be the first one? I doubt it. And all Hendo needs to do is connect on one good one and it’s over. I think it happens, I think Dan lands the H-bomb and gets the title shot with Jon Bones after he beats Chael.
KELVIN HUNT: Machida is the quicker of the two fighters with way more weapons. Hendo has a puncher’s chance of knocking Machida out and that’s about it. Hendo is coming off a tremendous layoff and knee surgery. Remember what happened when an old wrestler formerly of Team Quest fought Machida? Of course you do…although Hendo has a granite chin….he took a MASSIVE amount of abuse in the Shogun fight. I wrote then that neither fighter would be the same after that fight. Machida becomes the first to knockout Dan Henderson or wins a unanimous decision.
Ronda Rousey (6-0) vs. Liz Caramouche (7-2)
UFC FIGHT ODDS: Rousey -1275 vs. Carmouche +825
JAN GAETJENS: The pillar of a division, the singular entity upon which the success or failure of a brand new venture rests, the media and promotional darling for whom anything less than dominance would be a cataclysmic failure… but enough about Kimbo Slice… Unlike Mr. Ferguson, Rousey is every bit the fighter she’s hyped up to be. Rousey by submission
BRIAN FURBY: Ronda Rousey
GARY THOMAS: Carmouche is tough and wanted this fight but is she the one that can derail the Rousey train? Rousey is a one trick pony but its a damn good trick. Even if Carmouche can evade the armbar does she have enough to match the judo and improved striking of Ronda? I think not. Why bet against history? Pick – Rousey by armbar Round 1.
JAY CEE: Ronda Rousey via submission
DENNY HODGE: I know, I know, Rousey by armbar. That’s what everyone expects. After all, she has about a 100 different setups for the submission and has been doing them since she was a kid. Rousey’s chin has yet to be tested but it will be in this fight. Carmouche will connect with punches in this one. Carmouche is as tough as they come and will pressure from the start which in most cases plays right into the strengths of Rousey. Carmouche’s ground and pound will be the difference in this one. Carmouche by TKO.
JACK BRATCHER: Ah here it is. There’s something just so cool about this sport that we get to see history being made. There have been so many great moments in MMA and this is going to be another. I have no doubt Ronda is going to win this fight, the question is how great she will look doing it? Will she show off much of her new-found striking skills? From all accounts she’s looking phenomenal with her hands — could you imagine if she knocked Liz out? I think Rousey will use just enough striking to set up the takedown, where she will do her thing and show the world her patented armbar. Round 1 – under two minutes. Rousey is Queen.
KELVIN HUNT: If it ain’t broke..don’t fix it. Rousey via armbar round 1.