UFC 157: What happened when Ronda Rousey debuted for the MMA powerhouse?
UFC 157 was a landmark show for the promotion. It was the first to feature female fighters competing inside the Octagon.
Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche were chosen to compete in the inaugural women's bout in UFC history. Rousey, who had been the reigning Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Champion, when the company was bought out by UFC was awarded the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship upon her signing and was the defending champion heading into the historic fight.
The fight was positioned in the headline spot and lived up to the billing as a main event attraction. Rousey entered the fight as the heavy favourite, unbeaten in her MMA career at that point and charged at Carmouche at the beginning of the fight and landed some good shots before she was stunningly caught in a deep, deep neck crank by the wily Carmouche. Stunningly, Rousey after looking like she might submit, escaped and landed some heavy punches on Carmouche. She took side control and locked in the armbar for the submission victory. An incredibly entertaining matchup that ended with Rousey's hand held high. The UFC had a new megastar.
The viewing public agreed. Rousey's star power pulled in 450,000 pay per view buys.
The show wasn't all about Rousey though. The co-main event featured legendary Light-Heavyweights, Dan Henderson and Lyota Machida squaring off. The fight had title implications as both men had been on a roll prior to this encounter. However, in truth the action underwhelmed. Both men were tentative but Machida was the more impressive of the two as he picked Henderson apart with good range jabs and leg kicks. The winner by Unanimous Decision: Lyota Machida.
Urijah Faber defeated Ivan Menjivar in a massively one-sided encounter that was as close to a flawless performance as you can possibly get. Faber schooled Menjivar with sick elbows before leaping onto Menjivar's back and locking in a choke for the submission victory.
Court McGee beat Josh Neer via Unanimous Decision in an entertaining encounter wherein both men exchanged plenty of heavy combinations and ground and pound. McGee's work was much cleaner and deliberate than Neer and he was a worthy winner in this Welterweight battle.
"Ruthless" Robbie Lawler made his long awaited return to the Octagon after nine long years away, having not fought for the company since UFC 50 on October 22, 2004. Lawler's contract was procured with UFC's Strikeforce takeover and was a huge get for UFC. Lawler demonstrated that he was still among the MMA elite with an impressive performance versus perennial contender, Josh Koscheck.
Lawler announced himself once more to the UFC audience with a brutal one round Knockout of Koscheck. Koscheck tried to take Lawler down but Lawler was able to block and withstand the submission attempts before nailing Koscheck with a massive left hand and finished his opponent off with heavy bombs to the head. "Ruthless" lived up to his nickname and then some.
UFC 157 was one of the best MMA shows of 2013 as well as being historic. Rousey and Lawler would have even bigger and better days to come in the promotion.