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UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche Aftermath – Shattered Glass Ceilings


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Make no mistake, no matter how last night’s main event was going to end, it was going to be an important moment in UFC history. For the first time in the promotion’s history, two female athletes would be competing in the UFC. Squash match or not, the historical significance of the fight and the freshly minted UFC Women’s Bantamweight title were enough to bump the fight up to main event status.

I’ve seen dozens of writers today write about how “predictably” the main event ended, but I can’t help but feel that this does a severe injustice to the fight we were treated to. Yes, it ended in a first round armbar victory for Ronda Rousey, and no, literally nothing else about this fight was predictable.

This is in large part a credit to challenger Liz Carmouche. Few people gave Carmouche any sort of chance to win, as clearly reflected by the betting odds for the fight.  Yet for the first time last night, Carmouche was able to expose holes in Rousey’s game, and make the women’s champion look beatable. She wasn’t Rousey’s slightly-resistant grappling dummy – she was a very worthy challenger who almost finished Rousey with a rear-naked choke, and has teeth marks on her arm to show for it. Let’s all stop and admit that none of us expected this from her.

Let’s make sure to give Ronda Rousey her proper dues as well. Rousey responded to the stiffest test of her career the only way she knows how to: by cranking an arm until something taps or snaps. She managed to score her seventh victory by way of first round armbar in just as many professional fights, living up to the hype that she had been justifiably receiving. It may not have been her prettiest victory, but she survived the challenge and kept calm under pressure.

Above all else though, Rousey and Carmouche deserve respect for shattering not only the ceiling for women in the UFC, but the glass ceilings that fans placed on female fighters. Say what you want about women not being as strong or fast as men, or that the talent pool isn’t as deep (as opposed to the stacked men’s flyweight division), or keep talking about the ability to dunk a basketball like it even remotely matters*. Just don’t say that women don’t belong at our sport’s highest level of competition. If you value the quality of the fights over the sexes of the athletes, you walked away from last night’s main event excited about future women’s matchups.

Elsewhere on the card:

- I’ll admit that before the event, I thought a case could be made that Henderson vs. Machida was the real main event. On paper, Rousey vs. Carmouche was little more than a squash match designed to give Rousey the title. Meanwhile, on paper, Machida vs. Henderson was a legitimate fight for light-heavyweight number one contendership. Unfortunately, anyone who sat through Machida vs. Henderson was reminded that things rarely play out in real time the way that they should play out on paper.

If Rousey vs. Carmouche was everything fans can look forward to from the UFC’s newest acquisitions, then Machida vs. Henderson was everything fans were already sick of. A “too elusive to be interesting” fighter more concerned with winning rounds than putting on a show? Check. An aging fighter on testosterone replacement therapy? Check. A judge ignoring the things he’s supposed to be looking for and picking the winner of the fight based on a vague notion of “Octagon Control?” *sigh* Check. “Forgettable” barely describes this one.

- Yes, Machida is next in line for a shot at the light-heavyweight title, although Dana White didn’t exactly sound thrilled to be announcing it. “It wasn’t a barnburner,” said White about Machida vs. Henderson.  “It wasn’t the most exciting fight you’ve ever seen. You won’t be writing stories about this fight until the end of time. But Lyoto won the fight. He beat the number one contender.”

- Urijah Faber knew he needed to put on an extra special performance against Ivan Menjivar if he wanted job security, and did exactly that. You don’t see too many standing crucifix-to-rear-naked choke finishes, but then again, you don’t see too many fighters as creative and athletic as Urijah Faber. When he’s matched up against the Ivan Menjivars of the division, the end result is something special.

- Not that it matters, but the same Urijah Faber who entered the bout without job security also entered the bout as the “official” #2 bantamweight in the UFC. Yeah dude, I know… 

- Court McGee was a tough-as-nails middleweight, is now a tough-as-nails welterweight, and continued to look solid against lower-end competition with his victory over Josh Neer. I don’t see a Demian Maia-esque resurgence at welterweight in McGee’s future, but then again, I didn’t see one for Maia, either.

- If Robbie Lawler knocking out Josh Koscheck isn’t at least an honorable mention for “Most Satisfying Beatdown of 2013,” then a lot of heels are going to get their asses kicked by old-school warriors this year. However, I was surprised to see how many people thought that the fight was stopped too early. It’s one thing not to like a fighter, it’s another thing to want him dead.

- Lawler rightfully took home the $50k Knockout of the Night bonus for his performance. Meanwhile, Koscheck may very well find himself unemployed. I’m sure Dana White likes Koscheck, just as I’m sure he likes Jon Fitch, too. By the way, Fitch not only made less money than Koscheck does per fight, but he also had a higher “ranking” when he was released.

- Submission of the Night honors did not go to Ronda Rousey, but rather, Kenny Robertson for his first round kneebar submission over Brock Jardine.

- Fight of the Night went to the three round war that was Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice. These two featherweightst absolutely stole the show with this fight. In the end, Bermudez won by decision.

Full Results:

Main Card:

Ronda Rousey def. Liz Carmouche via submission (armbar), 4:49 of Round 1
Lyoto Machida def. Dan Henderson via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
Urijah Faber def. Ivan Menjivar via submission (rear-naked choke), 4:43 of Round 1
Court McGee def. Josh Neer via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Robbie Lawler def. Josh Koscheck via TKO, 3:57 of Round 1

Preliminary Card:

Brendan Schaub def. Lavar Johnson via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Michael Chiesa def. Anton Kuivanen via submission (rear-naked choke), 2:29 of Round 2
Dennis Bermudez def. Matt Grice via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
Sam Stout def. Caros Fodor via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
Kenny Robertson def. Brock Jardine via submission (kneebar), 2:57 of Round 1
Neil Magny def. Jon Manley via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28)
Nah-Shon Burrell def. Yuri Villefort via unanimous decision (29-28 x 2, 30-27)

* By the way, if dunking a basketball is the measuring stick of whether or not a person is a good athlete, then our sport’s most accomplished light-heavyweight is, well, you’ll see:

@SethFalvo

 

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Dizzlefizz- February 25, 2013 at 2:52 pm
I am so sick of this "not putting on a show" crap. These are professional athletes. It's not wrestling (which only secretly gay dudes watch. Sure a fight can be boring, and sometimes for the wrong reasons, other times it's because the skill level of both fighters, that make ONE mistake the difference between winning or loosing.
Sure, for the promotion, two people standing almost still punching each other in the face is preferable, but then again the majority of people in this world are mentally weak ingrates. So don't call yourselves "lovers of the sport" and write "wrestling-loving" crap like that.
Ringo- February 25, 2013 at 8:00 am
I thought Jon Jones would be able to dunk that ball easily because he is well you know...er... tall
SteelKilroy- February 25, 2013 at 3:17 am
Overall, a good article...however, I'm just going to disagree with you on the "too quick/not too quick" stoppage of the Koscheck fight. In all honesty believing it was still going to end up the same...the ref "should" have allowed another couple of seconds. If for nothing other than to quash wasted opinions, just like this one, about it being, or not being, the right call. Aside from that...a very decent night of fights!
Clyde- February 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm
I though that given his ridiculous arm span Jones could dunk without leaving the floor. While lying on his back. From the half way line. Of a different court.

Sub of the night was well earned though, as much as I love Rousey and her armbaring antics, that kneebar from the back was crazy.
oc in this bitch- February 24, 2013 at 1:11 pm
WOW that was embarrasing he has a 5 inch verticle are u for real? i was almost dunking a tennis ball in 8th grade.loland what the fuck is all this dumbshit bigdeal about rousy beating a 10-1 underdog,its laughable. any other title fight with those odds would never be made.and theyre like who could possibly be next?lol cyborg duh.she would wreck rhonda so fast.im not a fan of koscheck but he got screwed so bad.especially after they let grice get knocked out 10 times and didnt even think about stoppin it WTF?
beef_kurtains- February 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm
I was middling to lousy high school basketball player (not to mention irish) at 5'11" and I could dunk when nobody was in my way. WTF jones?
nick diaz and the dub sack- February 25, 2013 at 7:24 am
Ew, irish
ksgbobo- February 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm
Good article
mDino- February 24, 2013 at 12:20 pm
Omfg Jon Jones is a lean in shape 6'4 and his dunk attempt was that pathetic. He must be seriously uncoordinated and watching this makes me feel like lyoto may have a chance in the rematch
NomadRip- February 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm
Great main event all around. Co-Main eluded my interest and lasted 3 rounds longer than the Machida era.
ctastrophe- February 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm
Rousey gives up her back/ gives up the opportunity to take her back a lot. Happened a couple times against Tate. I don't know if this is a Judo thing or what (could be like wrestlers who give up their back since you can't get pinned stomach-down and I'm guessing Judo is similar) , but she's been fortunate enough to be a far better grappler than her opponents and can get out of it. What happened last night was inevitable and hopefully she.learns from it and stops trying to go belly-down so often.
mma4ever- February 24, 2013 at 12:15 pm
They should give Rory Macdonald Robbie Lawlor for his next fight i think that would be sick.
macreadysshack- February 24, 2013 at 11:17 am
I could tell just by looking at her: Rousey uses too much teeth.
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