I don't know that it could have gone much better for the UFC as far as Ronda Rousey's debut at UFC 157 went. Liz Carmouche gave a good effort, capitalizing on a positional mistake to take Rousey's back and lock in what looked as though it would be a fight finishing face crank, only to have Rousey survive, take back control and dominate the rest of the round before finishing with an armbar.
Too easy of a fight and it comes across as possibly not worth the money to watch her run through future challenges, too difficult and she looks too vulnerable to sell as this sort of female MMA Mike Tyson.
Instead, she was tested, put into a bit of trouble but recovered to not only stay undefeated, but to also still not have been taken out of the first round in her career and to continue her all-armbars streak.
- Carmouche deserves credit for being tough and giving it a real go. Some people thought I was being hard on her by pointing out the whole "she's 0-2 against fighters with a winning record" thing, but it was just the truth and spoke to my expectation for the fight. She outperformed what I thought she would do and that's a good thing.
- Rousey is a star. Too much will be read into the PPV buyrate of this show no matter what it is. But, barring a sudden losing streak or going too far with another "Sandy Hook tweet" situation, she is going to be a reliable draw for the UFC for a long time.
- Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida put on a boring fight. It's hard to feel like either guy really "won" considering how little actually happened. That being said, when a #1 contender faces a #2 contender, it should be a five round fight 100% of the time. Honestly, that should go for any time two top ten fighters face each other. Will there be some times where it means an additional two bad rounds? Sure! But more often than not it means two extra rounds of high level fighting. Which should be why you watch this fight to begin with.
- Urijah Faber isn't the best 145'er in the world anymore, that's why he dropped to 135. And he's not the best 135'er in the world either. But he's still a really damn good fighter with solid speed and instincts. The transitions he pulled against Ivan Menjivar were impressive considering Menjivar's own skills. Faber is a handful for anyone in the game still, even if he isn't a lock to beat everyone.
- I was actually yelling at my TV when Court McGee abandoned the body work that had been so successful against Josh Neer. He hurt him to the body, hurt him to the body, dropped him with a body shot and then...tried to punch him in the head for the final minute of the first round. If he'd have just poured some more punches to the body it would have been over right then. Then, he spends the next two rounds almost completely ignoring the idea of going back to the body. It was baffling. Yes, he won, but he certainly didn't make it easy on himself.
- No issues here with the stoppage in Robbie Lawler's win over Josh Koscheck. Referees have to make hard decisions and Koscheck was getting his head dribbled and wasn't exactly defending himself very well. Herb Dean jumped in because safety is the primary concern in that situation and Lawler was drilling him.
- By the way, I don't know that Robbie Lawler is ever going to totally fade away. Every time it seems like he's done, he rips off some big win and remains just relevant enough. But this was a huge one for him.
- Brendan Schaub sure did...win his fight against Lavar Johnson. It was boring, but he did what he had to to avoid getting knocked out. Johnson couldn't stop the takedowns which meant that Schaub could keep getting them. Then, somehow Schaub wasn't able to do anything to really dominate the grappling, which is surprising given Johnson's history.
- I don't know that I'll ever be able to not laugh when I think about that gator roll thing that Schaub tried in the third round.
- Michael Chiesa is a fun guy to watch. He isn't a great fighter, but he survives until an opening presents itself and then he finishes. Anton Kuivanen seemed to have the fight well under control after around but then the opening popped up and Chiesa finished it off, it's hard not to kind of admire that.
- Matt Grice and Dennis Bermudez put on a hell of a show, battling for three solid rounds. I don't understand how the third round wasn't a 10-8 though. There seems to be this idea that if the other guy is "fighting back" that it can't be a 10-8, but that was a round where Grice was badly hurt on three or four occasions. If MMA had a standing eight count (it should), I don't know that Grice would have made it to the final bell. He was held up by the cage multiple times and his legs were gone, given the amount of times that fight could have been stopped in the round it really should be a 10-8. I scored it a draw because of it, but Bermudez got the split decision win.
- As a guy who has had his hamstring torn in half before, let me say that Kenny Robertson's leg lock submission of Brock Jardine was disturbing. Awesome, but disturbing.