UFC women’s bantamweight title: Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche
Rousey was an Olympic judo bronze medalist before entering into MMA. She has used her armbar to submit every professional opponent in the first round. Carmouche is a strong competitor with an 8-2 record. She is a former Marine and a proud lesbian.
Round 1. Rousey throws a few jabs to close distance. She eats a hook and grabs the clinch. She tugs Carmouche down with a headlock but Carmouche takes Rousey’s back and looks to sink in a rear naked choke. Carmouche cranks Rousey’s face hard but Rousey is able to get out. Rousey ends up in the standing position with Carmouche on the ground. Rousey throws some punches down and grabs Carmouche’s head again. Rousey just controls Carmouche with a headlock and punches with her other hand. Rousey then transitions into mount and goes for the armbar. Carmouche rolls onto her back and clasps her hands together. Rousey finally extends the armbar and Carmouche is forced to submit with 10 seconds left in the round.
Winner: Ronda Rousey, submission, round 1.
Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida
Henderson has had one of the most storied careers in MMA history. Debuting in 1997 after an excellent amateur wrestling career, he has fought a who’s who of the sport: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Renato Sobral, Wanderlei Silva, Ricardo Arona, Murilo Bustamante, Vitor Belfort, Rich Franklin, Fedor Emelianenko, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and the list goes on. Now 42, he is as successful as ever with 7 wins in his last 8. Machida, who utilizes a unique karate style, sports an 18-3 record with wins over the likes of Rashad Evans, Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz. The winner here is in prime position for a shot at UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Round 1. Henderson is very tentative early, not moving much at all and just throwing a few leg kicks. Machida throws some punches and kicks from the outside while circling around Henderson. Machida lands a nice body kick three minutes in. Every time Henderson moves forward looking to set up a power punch, Machida backs out of the way. Henderson finally connects with a nice right punch on Machida’s chin but Machida is fine. Henderson clinches and lands a couple knees. Henderson clinches again and looks or a trip takedown. Machida takes Henderson down and lands a few big punches at the close of the round. Very close round. 10-10.
Round 2. They clinch briefly and Henderson lands a nice right hand. Machida connects with a stiff front kick and follows with a straight punch behind that. Henderson charges after Machida but can’t land anything. Machida moves in with a couple straight punches but Henderson takes them and fires back with his big overhand right that just barely misses. As Henderson comes in, he eats a knee to the body from Machida. Machida lands a nice kick to the body. Henderson continues throwing leg kicks and mixes in a body kick. Henderson clinches again and lands a nice left hook. Henderson is having his best success when he clinches and uses the close range to get in shots before breaking. Henderson throws three straight power rights but none comes close to landing. 10-9 Machida.
Round 3. Machida hits Henderson with a hard kick to the body early. As Machida looks for a punch, Henderson takes him down. Henderson lands some punches to the body from the top but is surprisingly not very active. Henderson lands a nice elbow but Machida rolls out and returns to his feet with two minutes remaining in the fight. Neither man does much in the next minute and the crowd boos. Machida lands a leaping front kick to Henderson’s face, like the shot that knocked out Randy Couture. Machida follows with a head kick moments later. 10-9 Henderson, 29-29 draw.
Winner: Lyoto Machida, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar
Faber is one of the most popular fighters in the lighter weight classes, a longtime WEC featherweight champion with an exciting style and infectious personality. However, following five title fight losses, Faber finds himself at a career crossroads. Menjivar, a well-respected veteran of the sport, fought Faber once before in 2006. Faber won via a controversial disqualification. With wins in four of his last five fights, Menjivar could catapult his standing in the sport with a win here. The crowd reacts big to Faber’s familiar “California Love” entrance.
Round 1. Menjivar lands a nice overhand punch and then uses a beautiful judo throw to slam Faber to the ground. Faber very quickly reverses and takes top position. Menjivar gets full guard while Faber throws hard elbows from the top. Menjivar swings up his hips to look for a triangle or armbar but isn’t able to secure anything on Faber. Faber lands some very strong close distance elbows on Menjivar. As Faber postures up to gain more power, Menjivar connects with a nice upkick to the head of Faber. He lands a couple more until Faber drops down back into Menjivar’s guard. Menjivar finally looks to stand up but in the process, Faber takes his back. Faber locks up a standing rear naked choke and Menjivar is forced to submit.
Winner: Urijah Faber, submission, round 1.
Court McGee vs. Josh Neer
Court McGee has led a unique life. The Utah native was pronounced clinically dead after a heroin overdose but recovered to win the 11th season of the Ultimate Fighter. Coming off two straight losses, he desperately needs a win here. Neer is only 29 years old but is a decade long veteran of the sport with over 45 professional fights. He is also coming off two straight losses and badly needs a win.
Round 1. Neer tries to close the distance but McGee brushes him off. McGee lands a nice jab that snaps Neer’s head back. Neer answers with a pair of hooks. He lands another moments later that connects solidly. They trade punches from inside. McGee knocks Neer back with a straight left. McGee begins opening up with kicks to go with the punches he was already landing. McGee is throwing and landing more, principally because he is able to keep a comfortable range and move out of the way when Neer tries to attack. McGee hurts Neer with punches to the body and keeps attacking the body until Neer goes down. On the ground, McGee lands a series of punches to the head and applies a rear naked choke right as the round comes to an end. 10-8 McGee.