Before the UFC 157: "Rousey vs. Carmouche" main card kicked off on pay-per-view (PPV) tonight (Sat., Feb. 23, 2013) from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, an entire six-bout "Prelims" under card was broadcast on Facebook and FX, respectively.
The final fight of the FX preliminary card saw Brendan Schaub pick up a lackluster decision win over Lavar Johnson in the one and only heavyweight contest of the evening. While it was far from the stand-up war many were hoping for, Schaub fought with a wise and disciplined strategy of repeatedly taking the fight to the ground where Johnson was weakest. "Big" had now answer for the top game of Schaub as he allowed "The Hybrid" to grind away for all three rounds. The former NFL player came in to UFC 157 on the heels of back-to-back knockout losses and was in desperate need of a victory, and despite not putting on a fan-pleasing performance, he got the job done.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 15 lightweight winner Mike Chiesa was successful in his first fight since winning the reality show with a second-round submission of Anton Kuivanen. Chiesa kept his undefeated record in tact, winning his sixth fights in a row by submission, and fifth in a row by rear-naked choke. After a tough first round where Kuivanen was the more aggressive fighter, it only took one small mistake for Chiesa to capitalize, jump on the back and work for his signature submission. Kuivanen fought off the choke for a few seconds, but when "The Maverick" grasped his hands together, the result was imminent.
In the lone featherweight bout on the UFC 157 fight card, Dennis Bermudez defeated Matt Grice by split decision in a riveting 15-minute, tug-o-war battle that for the next 10 months will be in the running as a legitimate ‘Fight of the Year' candidate. Both men had moments where they were just inches away from victory - the finish just never came. Bermudez's first moment was in the first round when he mounted Grice and hammered away with ground-and-pound, then again in the third when he had "The Real One" hurt for at least three-and-a-half of the five minutes. Grice's moment of glory came after he escaped the mount in the opening frame and knocked Bermudez senseless with a left hook, which almost forced referee Herb Dean to step in and stop the fight. Bermudez managed to regain his composure and ultimately it was the damage he inflicted in the third round that gave him the nod; however, you could make the argument for a Grice victory or perhaps even a draw. In reality, though, both men will fight another day inside the Octagon and will be given a proper bonus cheque for their efforts.
The opening fight of the FX portion of the preliminary card saw a UFC vs. Strikeforce battle take place, and for the first time since Strikeforce closed its door and fighters began to cross over, a UFC-bred competitor notched victory. It wasn't easy, though, as Sam Stout earned his fourth victory in his past six fights with a split decision over Caros Fodor, who was making his Octagon debut at the Honda Center. It wasn't pretty, but Stout picked up the win by delivering a superior overall performance in all areas of mixed martial arts (MMA). With the fight being rather close on the feet, Stout's ability to get Fodor to the ground and on two occasions achieve mount position earned him major points on the judge's scorecards an helped him pick up the win. Stout has been a mainstay in the UFC since 2006 and the fact his bout against Fodor went all 15-minutes means the Canadian tied Jon Fitch's record for most fights to go to a decision in UFC history at 13.
In the finally preliminary fight on Facebook, Kenny Robertson nearly broke Brock Jardine's leg in half with one of the most unique kneebar submissions in recent memory. Robertson survived a scare early when Jardine jumped for a guillotine choke, but completely took over the fight on the ground after he managed to escape the submission. The 29-year-old nearly locked in a rear-naked choke after he established back control; however, as Jardine tried to stand up, Robertson pulled his leg out from under him, which straightened the leg in a gruesome fashion. After coming up short in his two previous UFC showings, Robertson finally notched his first win inside the Octagon with a ‘Submission of the Night' worthy tap out.
The fight between Neil Magny and Jon Manley, who were semifinalists on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 16, was a fight that was a perfect depiction of their season of the reality show - underwhelming. Magny won the fight by decision, but it was hardly the kind of fight people will want to watch again. The 25-year-old tried his best to establish some dominant positions or score a knockout blow, but there was only so much he could do when Manley was dead set on his strategy of pressing him against the fence and working for takedowns. Given the fact the UFC has to trim 100 fighters from their roster, its unlikely Manley's next fight will take place inside the Octagon.
Two veterans of the now-defunct Strikeforce organization made their UFC debuts in the opening fight of the UFC 157 fight card on Facebook as Nah-Shon Burrell defeated Yuri Villefort by unanimous decision in a thrilling contest. The Welterweight bout was one of the most exciting opening fights to a UFC card in quite some time as there was action in every area imaginable. Both men left everything they had inside the Octagon over the course of the 15-minute battle and without question put on a ‘Fight of the Night' worthy performance. Villefort had his chance to finish the fight early in the first-round with a rear-naked choke, but after that the fight was essentially all Burrell as "The Rock-N-Rolla" landed the heavier strikes --both on the feet and on the ground-- and managed to escape any dangerous positions. Burrell's win has an asterisk next to it as he came in nearly five-pounds over the welterweight limit at Friday's (Feb. 22, 2013) weigh-ins, so hopefully he learned his lesson and can have a chance at earning a clean win in his next fight.
Here are the complete results from the UFC 157 preliminary card:
265 lbs.: Lavar Johnson vs. Brendan Schaub via unanimous decision (30-27x3)
155 lbs.: Michael Chiesa def. Anton Kuivanen via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:29 of round two
145 lbs.: Dennis Bermudez def. Matt Grice via split decision (29-28x2, 28-29)
155 lbs.: Sam Stout def. Caros Fodor via split decision (28-29, 29-28x2)
170 lbs.: Kenny Robertson def. Brock Jardine via submission (kneebar) at 2:57 of round one
170 lbs.: Neil Magny def. Jon Manley via unanimous decision (30-27x2, 29-28)
170 lbs.: Nah-Shon Burrell def. Yuri Villefort via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28x2)
That's it for the "Prelims" portion of the UFC 157 fight card.
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