Sixteen fights, four X-chromosomes and a whole lotta' mixed martial arts (MMA) mean.
In what is sure to be a landmark fight for the organization, the ladies are finally getting their turn in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as 135-pound female champion Ronda Rousey takes on United States Marine Corps (USMC) veteran Liz Carmouche in the UFC 157 main event, which takes place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., this upcoming Saturday night (Feb. 23, 2013).
The two women headline a stacked pay-per-view (PPV) main card that includes a pivotal Light Heavyweight clash between Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida, as well as a rematch between Urijah Faber and Ivan Menjivar.
Yesterday, we previewed the first four bouts that comprise the initial UFC 157 Facebook/FX portion of the "Prelims" under card right here. Today, we share breakdowns of the remaining three that will air live -- and for free -- on FX before the PPV event starts at 10 p.m. ET.
Let's get cracking:
265 lbs.: Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson
Brendan Schaub (8-3) was originally slated to fight Lavar Johnson (17-6) at UFC on Fox 5; however, an injury to "Big" forced their bout to be relocated to UFC 157. Schaub -- who was once regarded as one of the Heavyweight division’s premier prospects, enters this bout on the heels of first-round knockout losses to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Ben Rothwell.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 finalist had previously won four straight, including three knockouts; however, "Hybrid" may need a win to stay employed ... much less relevant at 265 pounds.
Johnson, one of the UFC’s first Strikeforce imports, made a hell of a first impression despite entering the promotion on the heels of two straight losses, beating down Joey Beltran and Pat Barry to earn consecutive "Knockout of the Night" bonuses. Unfortunately, Johnson was unable to keep the momentum going against Stefan Struve, who pulled guard and locked up an early armbar for Johnson’s fifth submission loss.
"Big" owns 15 knockout wins and has ended 15 bouts inside the first round.
I have no doubt in my mind that if Schaub swallows his pride and shoots immediately, he can end this fight inside two minutes. Johnson’s ground game is completely nonexistent, meaning that Schaub is perfectly capable of exploiting this for an early finish, whether by submission or by passing directly to mount and raining down the hurt.
The thing is, Schaub has this misplaced belief in his boxing that will almost certainly compel him to try to trade with Johnson. I’ll readily admit that he’s technically superior to Johnson in effectively every regard, but there is a level of power against which no tactics can stand -- Johnson doesn’t just hit hard, he hits harder than most in the heavy-hitting division.
Every second Schaub spends on the feet is a gamble, one that will stop paying dividends in a hurry. And Johnson only needs one.
Prediction: Johnson by first round knockout
155 lbs.: Michael Chiesa vs. Anton Kuivanen
Despite being Urijah Faber ’s fifth pick on TUF 15, Michael Chiesa (8-0) pointedly ignored his status as an underdog to upset Justin Lawrence in the quarterfinals and teammate Al Iaquinta in the Finale. Unfortunately, illness scrapped a December fight with Marcus LeVesseur, making this the first appearance for "Maverick" in the Octagon since his "Submission of the Night" performance against Iaquinta.
At 6’1," Chiesa stands five inches taller than Anton Kuivanen (17-5).
The UFC’s first Finnish fighter, Kuivanen has quickly established himself as one of the Lightweight division’s more entertaining competitors. While he came up short in his Octagon debut against fellow prospect Justin Salas, he picked up his first UFC victory this past July in a wild scrap with Canada’s Mitch Clarke.
Kuivanen has won 10 of his last 12 fights after going 7-4 in his first 11 bouts.
Kuivanen is a solid, well-rounded, entertaining fighter who could potentially give much of the 155-pound division trouble. The issue is that his wrestling, while not necessarily terrible, isn’t sufficient to allow him to use his striking advantage.
Chiesa is relentless and tough as nails. Kuivanen could very well stuff a handful of takedowns and land some significant shots, but he’s not going to deter his foe from pouring on the pressure until he winds up in top position. Kuivanen has good scrambling ability and submission defense, so a finish is unlikely, but Chiesa’s aggression will carry him to an entertaining decision win.
Prediction: Chiesa by unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Sam Stout vs. Caros Fodor
Like teammates Mark Hominick and George Roop, Sam Stout (18-8-1) has struggled mightily since the death of coach Shawn Tompkins, going 1-2 with his sole victory an uninspiring decision over rival Spencer Fisher. Most recently, Stout was the victim of a counter-striking clinic from John Makdessi, whose killer jab formed the crux of an almost embarrassingly one-sided affair.
"Hands of Stone" -- who accused Makdessi of "running" despite getting clobbered -- is now even (7-7) in the UFC. And interestingly, despite almost a decade of MMA experience, Stout is actually the younger man in this fight.
While his cousin Ben Fodor was busy playing superhero, Caros Fodor (7-2) was wrecking shop in Strikeforce. Going into his bout with Pat Healy on the heels of five straight wins, a title shot seemed inevitable. Unfortunately, Healy is the product of a mad scientist with a burning hatred of prospects and a sorely misplaced government grant, and thus crushed Fodor’s hopes via third-round arm triangle. F
At this point, I believe the notion of Stout as a great technical striker, which I myself once believed, has been thoroughly debunked. Whether it was always like that or if the death of Tompkins had something to do with it, he has looked sloppy and ineffectual since taking out Yves Edwards.
That’s not going to cut it against Fodor.
Well-rounded and capable of finishing on the feet or the mat, Fodor has some serious potential. His striking is probably a match for Stout’s and -- even if it isn’t -- he has the wrestling to dictate position, allowing him to bring a ground game almost certainly superior to Stout’s to bear.
The Strikeforce imports made a splash at UFC 156 and I expect that trend to continue here as Fodor outclasses Stout for 15 straight minutes.
Prediction: Fodor by unanimous decision
See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the UFC 157 PPV main card action, which is slated to start promptly at 10 p.m. ET. Up-to-the-minute updates and fight-by-fight coverage will begin to flow earlier than that, however, around 6:30 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook and FX.