By Dan “Get Off Me” George
For the first time in UFC history, a card will not only feature but be headlined by a women’s title fight in the bantamweight division. We know what you’re thinking, “How are they going to fit an entire kitchen into the octagon?” but hear us out for a second. Pitting Olympic bronze medalist Ronda Rousey against Marine tuff Liz Carmouche, UFC 157 will look to break down the wall that has existed between men’s and women’s MMA for almost two years now. We kid, we kid, but will the UFC’s women’s division steal the show come Saturday night? And technically speaking, can you steal a show when you are the main event? These questions and others will be answered this Saturday night in Anaheim at the (R)Honda Center.
And with any big MMA event comes the opportunity to chip away at (or add to) those crippling debts we all are surely facing. So join us after the jump as we highlight some of the undercard and all the main card bouts for UFC 157 with the hopes of cashing in on some attractive betting lines, which come courtesy of BestFighOdds as always.
Michael Chiesa (-200) vs. Anton Kuivanen (+170)
Currently, Chiesa is right around -225, but look for that line to close around -300 by fight night. Anton has been more of a threat on the mat than on his feet thus far in his UFC run, but giving up almost half a foot in height to the Alpha Male-affiliated Chiesa will do him no favors in either department. Chiesa should be able to control this fight with his size advantage and continue his Cinderella story in the UFC.
If there is one underdog to pick on this card, the argument for Lavar Johnson at +110 is strong. Lavar will enjoy a three inch reach advantage over his opponent, which has been a deciding factor in both of his UFC victories. Schaub surprised many against Cro Cop back at UFC 128 but has shown some significant holes in his stand up game (not to mention his chin) in the time since. Each unnecessary second Schaub stands with Johnson will be detrimental to both his UFC career and his ability to ingest food without wearing a bib, and being that Schaub has yet to submit an opponent in his career, we should assume for the time being that Johnson won’t become the first. Not because Johnson has an incredible ground game, but rather because he packs enough power in his hands to stop Schaub before it gets to that point, like Nog and Rothwell have in the past.
Court will be making his debut at 170lbs here and at -285 will be parlay bound against UFC veteran Josh Neer. Short of being robbed against Nick Ring, Court has only lost to Costa Phillipou (a top middleweight) and has never truly been dominated inside the Octagon. Neer might be able to cut Court with those vicious elbows, but McGee should have little trouble taking the fight to the ground when Neer eventually overcommits trying to close the distance. Neer is a former lightweight and McGee is a former middleweight; ultimately Court should be the stronger fighter and control this fight from start to finish.
Not much of a chance has been given to the returning Robbie Lawler here and perhaps rightfully so. Much like Paulo Thiago, Lawler is being given a puncher’s chance against Koscheck, which is a position Lawler could be dangerous in (see his fight against Melvin Manhoef). Koscheck may look for the takedown early and often, and Lawler’s ability to defend said takedown will determine this fight in and of itself. If there was a way to put money on the likelihood of Kos eye-poking Lawler in this fight I would recommend it outright, but the Koscheck by decision prop seems a little more reasonable.
A rematch 7 years in the making will be settled on Saturday night when Ivan Menjivar looks to avenge his controversial DQ loss to Urijah Faber that transpired in the now defunct TKO promotion. Urijah is approaching -400, but the speed and grappling advantage he will have against Menjivar justifies the price, especially when considering how easily Mike Easton was able to use those same skills to defeat Menjivar at UFC 148. Menjivar will not be able to catch up to Faber long enough to do any substantial damage, therefore justifying Faber’s place in our parlay.
Machida is the right favorite and may prove to be too elusive for Hendo’s right hand in this fight. Machida should play the matador role in this one and simply fight off his back foot until the opportunity arises to counter Henderson; the fact that Hendo is coming off a knee injury only solidifies the notion that he may be limited in his movement. The wrestling advantage may be with Hendo, but Machida has the skills to survive on the mat and Hendo doesn’t wrestle all that much in his fights. Looking back at Franklin/Henderson, Machida has all the tools to stay on the outside and outpoint Hendo for a decision victory.
Ronda Rousey is undefeated, perfection on the mat, and way, way overpriced in this fight. A 10-to-1 favorite is usually a pointless bet to make and Ronda is no exception here, as Liz Carmouche has to know what to expect in this fight (Ed note: Not that that has helped anyone before). Liz will have to get the better of Ronda in the stand up department because a win on the ground is simply not an option. Ronda has admitted that she is not taking Liz lightly in this bout and will most likely look to put the Marine on her back and go fishing for another arm to bring home. As always, the ladies should deliver an exciting fight and start the woman’s division off with a bang.
McGee + Faber
Chiesa + Machida
McGee + Johnson + Faber
Enjoy the fights and may the winners be yours.