UFC 157 predictions, preview and analysis

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

The time has come to see what the best female fighters in the world can do when given the keys to Dana's Caddy. Will the Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche title fight carry the UFC 157 pay-per-view and live up to the hype? That's not for me to decide. Picking probable winners, however, is certainly within my jurisdiction. Take a look!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will make history this Saturday night (Feb. 23, 2013) with its UFC 157: "Rousey vs. Carmouche" pay-per-view (PPV) event, which emanates from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

After blowing through the 135-pound ranks of Strikeforce, Ronda Rousey was awarded the UFC women's bantamweight championship, which she must now defend against scrappy "Girl-Rilla" Liz Carmouche in the night's main event.

That's not all.

Dan Henderson will need to prove he's still worthy of a crack at the light heavyweight crown at the expense of former division titleholder Lyoto Machida. "The Dragon," meanwhile, has golden dreams of his own. Other notable match-ups include Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar and Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler.

MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire card on fight night (Sat., Feb. 23, 2013), starting with the Facebook and FX Prelims, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, as well as the main card, which is slated to air at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view.

Let's start naming names, shall we?

135 lbs.: "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey (6-0) vs. Liz "Girl-Rilla" Carmouche (8-2)

Nostradumbass predicts: Well Maniacs, this is about as easy as it gets. The problem with the women's 135-pound division is that there isn't one. There is only Ronda Rousey and an assembly line of foregone conclusions. Sure, we have a bunch of scrappy young ladies, and a few exceptional female fighters, but none of them come close to being anywhere remotely near "Rowdy" in terms of talent.

That includes Liz Carmouche.

Put the formidable "Girl-Rilla" in any other fight in this weight class and you have a war, as she proved in previous outings against Marloes Coenen and Kaitlin Young, among others. The ex-Marine has serviceable striking and a frightening ground attack, but how do you compare that to an Olympic medalist who boasts a lifetime of intensive training?

You can't.

The undefeated champion came into this sport with the chops to beat any other woman just on her judo and athleticism alone. Now add a solid two years of full-blown MMA training coupled with big-game experience and we have a talent gap that will take a very long time to close. In any other fight, Carmouche is a contender.

Against Rousey, she's chum in the water.

Final prediction: Rousey def. Carmouche via submission

205 lbs.: Dan "Hendo" Henderson (29-8) vs. Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida (18-3)

Nostradumbass predicts: I've been hearing a lot of jibber-jabber about Dan Henderson in this fight and how he'll fare much better because it's three rounds instead of five. It's time to face reality, folks, "Hendo" is a one-round fighter at this stage of his career.

TRT or no TRT, 42 is still 42.

In order to pick Henderson for this fight, we have to try to establish a path to victory. Is he going to drop the "H-Bomb" on Lyoto Machida? Word 'round the water cooler is that Danny boy has this one all figured out, like that guy that solved the Whammy pattern on Press Your Luck.

I'm not buying it.

"The Dragon" lost some of his fire in recent years, thanks to a rough patch that saw him cough up his title to Mauricio Rua. I blame his defeat to Quinton Jackson on the fear of getting knocked out (post-traumatic TKO syndrome) but since then, he's had three terrific performances.

True, he was put to sleep by Jon Jones, but find me another title challenger who looked as comfortable as the Brazilian did against "Bones" in the stand up.

Henderson used to be a fantastic wrestler with a deadly right hand. Then again, I used to have hair on the top of my head. I got older and so did "Hendo," and I can't pick a 42-year-old fighter with a bum knee who hasn't fought in well over a year.

Macheetah is going to do laps around his weathered foe and coast to a sweep on the judges' scorecards. Like Bernie Mac used to say, "You know I ain't lyin'!"

Final prediction: Machida def. Henderson via unanimous decision

135 lbs.: Urijah "The California Kid" Faber (26-6) vs. Ivan "Pride of El Salvador" Menjivar (25-9)

Nostradumbass predicts: I think it's safe to say that Urijah Faber is the most hated man at 135 pounds. After all, he's good enough to beat everyone in the bantamweight division except Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao, who are mired in a struggle over the division crown.

So now what?

Well, now he starts picking off middle-of-the-packers like Ivan Menjivar until he gets a few wins in a row and gets another title shot, despite being 0-4 in his last four championship bouts. I don't like it either, but look at this list and tell me other options exist.

Of course, none of that matters if Menjivar upsets "The California Kid."

Rumor has it "The Pride of El Salvador" was giving him the fits when they first met back in 2006, but both fighters -- as well as the sport overall -- have evolved. Menjivar had a pretty nice streak going in 2011, but couldn't make it four in a row thanks to the tenacity of Mike Easton.

Faber only loses to champions.

This fight is by no means a "gimme," but I don't see any area where Menjivar outshines Faber, who can always fall back on his wrestling if he's not getting it done on the feet. In either case, this is his fight to lose and will only make his trip back into the "mix" that much shorter.

Final prediction: Faber def. Menjivar via unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Court "Crusher" McGee (14-3) vs. Josh "The Dentist" Neer (33-12-1)

Nostradumbass predicts: Those fine folks who've been following the Nostradumbass column (you fools) already know I hardly ever pick a fighter who is coming off a loss AND debuting in a lighter weight class, for the simple reason that we don't know how they will react to the cut.

Or how version two will hold up inside the cage.

I think I may need to make an exception for this fight because Josh Neer has looked positively putrid in his last two outings. "The Dentist" was put to sleep by Mike Pyle last June and then choked unconscious by the unheralded Justin Edwards a few months later.

Hard to believe he's just 29 years old and has nearly 50 professional fights to his credit.

McGee hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire, but he's never been finished and his last two losses came by way of judges' scorecards in fights where he wasn't dominated or otherwise manhandled. He's got a nice balance of striking and grappling and doesn't have as much mileage as Neer.

I think the wear and tear of MMA has finally caught up to him.

In addition, wrestling has been his Achilles' heel, something I'm sure is not entirely lost on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 11 champ, who will weather a couple of flurries before taking this one to the floor and grinding him out.

Final prediction: McGee def. Neer via unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Josh Koscheck (17-6) vs. "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler (19-9)

Nostradumbass predicts: So, Robbie Lawler is coming back to the UFC and making his return to welterweight? That's cool. He's fighting Josh Koscheck at UFC 157? Not cool. This is a bad match-up for the "Ruthless" slugger for a lot of reasons.

Whether you like Josh Koscheck or not, or think he was "exposed" in his loss to Paulo Thiago, you can't deny he's a very tough out and has consistently fought dangerous opponents. "Kos" also has knockout power and conditioning is never an issue. Wrestling? It's top of the food chain.

He's 5-3 since 2009 where his opponent is 3-5.

In addition, Lawler has possibly the worst fight I.Q. in the business. I know he likes to "stand and bang," but that doesn't cut it anymore and with just one submission victory in 19 wins, I don't have a lot of confidence in his ground game.

I know what you're thinking, "What ground game?"

Unless he times the takedown and uncorks a knee like he did against Adlan Amagov, there's little evidence he will be able to withstand Koscheck's wrestling, who will want to make this a ground fight. After watching his friend Jon Fitch get cut, he's not going to be dicking around on the feet.

A win has never been more important -- to any fighter.

Final prediction: Koscheck def. Lawler via unanimous decision

That's a wrap, folks.

For previews and predictions on the preliminary card fights click here and here. To see all the odds and betting lines for UFC 157 click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Rousey vs. Carmouche."

What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tomorrow night's event.

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