UFC 157: Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche

On Saturday February 23rd, at UFC 157 Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche will meet inside the Octagon at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The two will be the first women fighting in the UFC, and they will be battling for the women’s bantamweight title which was awarded to Rousey by default during a “UFC on Fox 5″ pre-fight press conference. Liz Carmouche (8-2, 5 KOs) has more experience in the MMA world than Rousey (6-0,). However, Rousey is recognized around the world as the face of women’s MMA, previously held by Gina Carano. With only six professional fights, and 6 first round submissions via armbar, Rousey has thrust herself into the limelight. Nonetheless, we have yet to see Rousey’s jaw get tested, can she take a punch, can she weather a storm, nobody knows because none of her fights have gotten to that point.

Also on this stacked card is Machida vs. Henderson. The winner of this could end up meeting Jon Jones if and when he defeats Chael Sonnen. I find this fight very interesting because Dan Henderson has become more one dimensional during his recent success. He loads up that right nicknamed the H-Bomb, and he lets it rip, which has proved to be pretty damn effective. His opponent Lyoto Machida just might be the most elusive fighter in UFC history. Machida is crafty, unorthodox, a great striker, and this could prove to be very challenging for Dan Henderson who has the tendency to just come straight forward with that loaded right hand. Urijah Faber finds himself in a must win situation, a loss here could really hurt his clout, and raise the question where does he go from here. He will meet Ivan Menjivar who by no means is an easy fight.

Josh Koshcheck will meet slugger Robbie Lawler who is back in the UFC after a long absence. Robbie Lawler has struggled lately in the Octagon, and its usually when he gets caught in a submission. If Koshcheck wants to win this fight, he’ll play it smart and immediately take it to the ground. If he chooses to stand and bang with Lawler, he could quickly find himself snoring. Brendan Schaub meets Lavar Johnson, expect this fight to be over in the first round with one of these guys flat on their back, no need to say more. Other exciting bouts has Court McGee vs. Josh Neer, Michael Chiesa vs. Anton Kuivanen, and Sam Stout vs Caros Fodor.

Rib Injury for Urijah Faber at UFC 149

Another loss was the result of last Saturday’s UFC title fight as Urijah “The California Kid” was once again denied a title. The fight ended with a unanimous decision to the new interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao at the UFC 149 main event at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Barao kept Faber on the outside as he landed cleaner shots. It was clear that Faber never found his opportunity during their five-round fight last Saturday that cost him the title fight.

When Faber was interviewed shortly after the fight, he mentions: “I knew he was very tough. I have a difficult time with guys who are really good at defending takedowns and really good at leg kicks.” His comments on Barao’s win: “I was doing a pretty good job of avoiding the leg kicks, but I just wasn’t able to get off with my offense like I wanted to.” He further added that Barao was really great in keeping the distance from him that he did not stand a chance.

Faber’s injury happened as a knee strike from Barao came earlier in the bout. “I was a little shaken up. He got me with a knee either in the first round or early in the second. I think I have a broken rib…”
But the fight was not a delight of the audiences at all; the crowd was even heard booing the bantamweights and the main event contest was a slow pay-per-view drawer as well.
Faber commented on the booing audience: “You never want to hear boos, but you’re more concerned about the guy trying to take your head off [and give you] broken ribs and swollen legs and all that stuff.” He added that he just did his best even when the crowd booed in the sidelines. He admitted that his opponent fought a smart fight: “He’s really good with his length, and he was able to keep me at bay. I would have liked to have gotten a little crazy in there, but jumping around like a wild man and doing something stupid probably wouldn’t have been the smartest thing. I was trying to punch him in the face, but I did not get it done.”

Faber was initially primed for “The Dominator” Dominick Cruz but the fighter was forced to withdraw from the fight because of an injury.

Renan Barao Defeats Faber to Win Saturday Night’s Interim Bantamweight Title

Renan Barao  finally won his first major title on Saturday night defeating Urijah Faber in Calgary. The Saddledome held a sold out crowd as this Brazilian star finally met his goal. Labeled as one of the best MMA fighters to never win a major title, Renan Barao was able to take the spotlight on Saturday as the winner.

Using solid leg kicks, quick punches and landing solid knees, it appeared that Renan Barao was on a roll and Faber just couldn’t keep up with it. Barao was jubilant after the fight as he owned the octagon and paraded around it with joy.

Faber admitted that Barao fought smart and kept him at bay during the fight. He was trying to get a punch through to Barao’s face without success. Barao was just too good at keeping the distance that night and was able to throw long punches. As the fourth defeat in a row for Faber, it’s a streak he’d like to set behind him.

Fights in this losing streak include Mike Brown back-to-back losses, a loss to Jose Aldo, Barao’s training partner as well as a decision loss to Dominick Cruz, existing bantamweight champ, last summer.

Up until Saturday night Faber was able to hold championship gold with one exception, that he was hoping to switch around in Calgary. Faber was trying to get control on the mat and use his background of strong wrestling to win. He just wasn’t able to get Barao on takedowns and had to take the loss.

Scoring for the match was 49 to 46 from two judges and a 50 to 45 shutout from the third to Barao.

Renan Barao now has the chance to defend his title or put it off until Cruz returns to the ring. Cruz is currently sidelined waiting for a torn ACL to heal.

Barao said that he knew that Faber was a great fighter and athlete and came well prepared to the fight, ready for everything. This was obvious throughout the fight that ultimately led Barao to victory.