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UFC 157 blog: Ronda Rousey capitalizes on historic night with another arm bar

Lyoto Machida ekes out win over Dan Henderson in co-main event

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mixed martial arts fighter UFC bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, left, and opponent Liz Carmouche face off at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, Feb. 22, 2013. Champion Rousey will fight Liz Carmouche in the main event at UFC 157 at the Honda Center on Saturday Feb. 23, in the first women’s bout in the UFC promotion’s history.

Updated Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 | 9:40 p.m.

UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche Primetime episode 3

UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche Primetime episode 2

UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche Primetime episode 1

Note: Full results from the preliminary card are available at the bottom of the page.

ANAHEIM, CALIF. — The distractions failed. The result stayed the same.

Ronda Rousey was the most in-demand athlete in the history of the UFC over the last two weeks, and she showed why in the promotion’s first-ever female fight Saturday night at the Honda Center.

Rousey capped off UFC 157 with a first-round submission victory by arm bar, making Liz Carmouche her seventh opponent to fall to an identical fate.

“There’s no amount of press that will save these girls from me,” Rousey said immediately after the victory in the octagon.

Rousey encountered more adversity than ever before, though. Carmouche took her back in the opening minute and expended every ounce of energy she had at finishing a rear-naked choke or face crank submission.

But Rousey kept her cool and wiggled Carmouche off of her back to escape the danger.

“That’s the first thing I ever learned in MMA, to be patient,” Rousey said.

Carmouche swept to get away from a couple arm bars, but Rousey was relentless. She pried the arm away with 20 seconds left in the round and finished less than 10 seconds later.

“It was a great fight,” Carmouche said. “I’m glad I got it. I made a mistake and she took advantage.”

All the build-up to the UFC’s second pay-per-view card of 2013 surrounded Rousey and Carmouche. The women dominated the action too, with a fight that was far more exciting than any of the others on the main card.

In the co-main event, Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson received several boos for keeping their distance and not engaging in too much action. Machida was able to earn a split-decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) likely by taking Henderson down in the first round and out-striking him in the final frame.

Urijah Faber finished his opponent, Ivan Menjivar, in exactly the same manner in which Carmouche almost got Rousey. Faber jumped on Menjivar’s back and finished a standing rear-naked choke at 4:34 of the first round.

“I was like, ‘no way that’s going down twice in one night,’” Rousey said.

Welterweights Court McGee and Robbie Lawler began the pay-per-view with victories. McGee took every round on every judges’ scorecard against Josh Neer. Lawler earned a TKO over Josh Koscheck at 3:57 of the first round.

Check back to lasvegassun.com later for full coverage and look below for round-by-round coverage of the main card.

Main card

Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche

First Round Rousey exchanged with Carmouche in the opening seconds, with both fighters landing a couple punches successfully. Rousey clinched her up against the cage and tossed her, going for the armbar right away. Carmouche swept out and took Rousey's back. Rousey could give up a rear-naked choke with Carmouche really working for it. Rousey keeps her chin down, and it's more of a face crank from Carmouche. Rousey tossed her off and the crowd ignited. Rousey took a deep breath and pulled up her top while Carmouche fed her a leg kick. Rousey let loose some ground-and-pound before jumping on top of Carmouche. Rousey locked Carmouche's head in with her right arm and flung punches with her left with Carmouche flailing to get out. Carmouche took multiple shots, enough that this round could have switched to Rousey's favor. Rousey tried to grab Carmouche's arm again, but it's not there. After Carmouche swept, Rousey transitioned to mount and eventually gabbed the arm. Carmouche transitioned to stay safe. Crazy fight here. Rousey grabbed the arm again and got it loose. Rousey cranked. Carmouche tapped. Rousey submits Carmouche with an armbar at 4:49 of the first round.

Lyoto Machida vs. Dan Henderson

First Round Henderson landed two leg kicks in the first 30 seconds. There was no action other than that. Henderson continued to stalk forward, but was cautious with his hands. As expected, Machida was looking to counter but it's difficult if Henderson grants no opportunities. Machida began firing front kicks to keep the distance, though none landed. Henderson's right hand grazed Machida's cheek around the midway mark. Machida countered with success for the first time three minutes into the fight. They both threw kicks at the same time to cancel each other out. Machida fired a knee that connected softly to Henderson's body. These two guys had a tough time figuring each other out for the first four minutes. Henderson swung for the fences after Machida connected with a right hand, but missed. Henderson hit him on the next attempt, and briefly locked up. Machida was fine, but the crowd roared anyway. Henderson looked to wrestle as the round ended, but Machida tossed him to the ground and landed some ground-and-pound. In a round that could have gone either way, the Sun sides with Henderson 10-9.

Second Round Machida head-kicked Henderson in the first 10 seconds. Henderson fired a leg kick in response. He locked up with Machida for a moment after throwing a combination. Machida backed out and hit Henderson clean on the chin. Henderson pushed forward winging right hands, but Machida circled and peppered him with a jab. A small cut opened below Henderson's left eye. Henderson tracked down the retreating Machida for long enough to land another right hand. Machida got back to the center of the cage and hit Henderson with a knee and a jab. Henderson tried to come in, but Machida rocked him to the jaw with another jab. Three minutes in, Machida threw a front kick with malicious intent. He missed but followed with punches. Henderson leapt in with a straight right, but a Machida counter put him on the ground. Machida nailed Henderson with a knee, but a counter hook sends sweat flying off of the Brazilian and towards the photographers cageside. The crowd chanted for both fighters throughout the round. Machida started to get a bit more aggressive towards the end with a front kick and straight left. Henderson answered with punches, but Machida went to the body with a spin kick. Machida takes the second round on the Sun's scorecard to tie the fight at 19.

Third Round They touched gloves and circled to signal the start of the final five minutes. Henderson flew forward with a right hand early. Machida backed down and scored some points himself with a kick across the body. Machida constantly feinted, which eventually got him in trouble. Henderson shot with quickness he usually doesn't have this late in a fight to take Machida down. Machida kept his hands around Henderson's head, so Henderson had to settle for ground-and-pound shots to the side for a while. Henderson got out after a while and fired a few elbows. A turtled up Machida was mostly concerned with not taking too much damage. Machida's corner protested and yelled for a stand-up, but their fighter got to his feet on his own. Machida popped back up with a few legkicks to greet Henderson. Boos took over with a lack of action with a minute to go. Machida flew in with a kick, and then another. Henderson might be at risk of losing this round late. His right leg was red from all of the leg kicks. Machida takes the third round on the Sun's scorecard to win 29-28. Lyoto Machida defeats Dan Henderson by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29).

Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar

First Round Faber struck first with a right hand and followed with a knee to Menjivar's body. Faber tossed him to the ground, immediately getting into side control after a short-lived armbar attempt from Menjivar. Menjivar forced Faber into his guard, but took quite a few ground-and-pound strikes in the process. Menjivar tried to toss some strikes off his back, but Faber put an end to that with elbows that forced him to cover up. Faber stood over Menjivar when an upkick connected with his chin. The pro-Faber crowd gasped in fear, but he was fine and went right back into Menjivar's guard. Faber let Menjivar up with 50 seconds to go, but leapt on his back. Faber got a body triangle and sank in a deep choke. The crowd rose as the result became clear. Menjivar tapped out and Faber raised his hands in victory still attached to his opponent's back. Urijah Faber submits Ivan Menjivar at 4:34 of the first round.

Court McGee vs. Josh Neer

First Round McGee started aggressive with a right hand and kick to the body. After a couple more strikes, Neer came forward and clenched up. They broke out quickly but a right hook from Neer connected flush on McGee's jaw. Neer landed another big shot, but McGee did better job piecing together combinations for the first minute and a half. McGee rocked Neer with one of those combinations, sending the veteran stumbling back towards the cage. Neer recovered, but McGee kept up the pressure. Neer ate several shots when the two reconvened at the center of the octagon. The crowd gasped as another right hand rocked Neer. McGee forced him to cover up with a series of uppercuts with around a minute to go. Neer ran for safety, but McGee kept letting his hands go. Neer eventually fell to the mat where McGee stood over him raining ground-and-pound. McGee took Neer‚s back as the bell rang. McGee takes the first round, 10-9.

Second Round McGee sliced Neer with two straight kicks to start the round. One grazed his head. The other collided against Neer's thigh. Neer started to counter, but got off balance when McGee hit him with a jab after a leg kick. Neer popped up from the ground and locked up with McGee. He found some success in the clinch, but it was all McGee when they broke out. McGee hurt Neer with another combination. Neer eventually landed a couple uppercuts and some shots to the body, but McGee looked unaffected until 30 seconds later. That's when Neer pelted McGee with a series of straight punches and crosses. They started exchanging with Neer getting the best of McGee for the first time in the fight. Neer really began mixing up his strikes as the round wore on, with legkicks and uppercuts sometimes in rapid succession. Neer countered McGee with an overhand left with 30 seconds to go. McGee shot for a takedown, but looked too tired to complete. McGee threw a spinning back kick that hit Neer in the stomach. Neer out-landed McGee that round. Neer wins round two to even the score at 19-19 on the Sun's scorecard.

Third Round McGee moved forward for the first 30 seconds, but Neer found room to counter several advances. McGee really let his hands go shortly after, but Neer answered with a big right hand. McGee threw a head kick that missed, but swarmed Neer against the cage. McGee pressed Neer up against the cage for approximately 45 seconds until he escaped. With Neer's face bloodied, McGee pressed forward and drove him into the ground with a takedown. Neer got up, but McGee retained dominant position along the fence. McGee dropped down for a takedown attempt, and after some struggle, proved successful. Neer took several elbows to his battered face. Then, McGee switched to punches. With Neer covering up, McGee turned to his grappling and looked for a choke. He gave up without too much of an effort, but turned to ground-and-pound again. Neer landed a couple soft upkicks, but not near enough to take the round. McGee wins 29-28 on the Sun's scorecard. Court McGee beats Josh Neer by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler First Round Koscheck converted on a double-leg takedown attempt early. Lawler worked his way to his feet momentarily, but Koscheck found an opening to work for a guillotine choke. Lawler popped out, but Koscheck continued to smother him on the ground. Lawler used the wall to get up again, but Koscheck turned his attention to a single-leg takedown. Lawler got away from this one and the two clinched up for some dirty boxing. Lawler sprawled another takedown attempt and began swinging away at Koscheck. He caught the former title contender with several unanswered right hands. Koscheck went limp and referee Herb Dean stopped in. A major upset opens the main card. Robbie Lawler defeats Josh Koscheck by TKO at 3:57 of the first round.

•••

Pre-main card

Looking back now, the uncertainty sounds trivial.

When the UFC announced months ago that it would hold the first-ever female fight on this night at the Honda Center, concerns flooded the ensuing discourse.

People inside and outside of the Las Vegas-based fight promotion were worried about several factors. At the top of the list of questions was if women fighters were capable of drawing enough interest to sell a pay-per-view card.

Comical, right? After the media firestorm over the last two years, there’s no other way to describe. UFC President Dana White says no one in the history of the company has been demanded as much women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

Rousey has granted more access and interviews to the world’s top outlets than she can remember ahead of her UFC 157 main event bout against Liz Carmouche. No one’s questioning if UFC 157 can sell anymore. They’re just wondering how much it will sell.

Rousey vs. Carmouche headlines an event that quite possibly could register as one of the biggest of the year. It’s regarded as one of the most important fights in UFC history, eerily similar to the promotion’s last visit to the Honda Center.

That was 15 months ago, when the UFC kicked off its partnership with Fox with a heavyweight championship bout between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. The Brazilian became a new champion with a 64-second knockout.

Rousey vs. Carmouche isn’t expected to last much longer than that. Rousey’s average fight time is 90 seconds — skewed by a nearly five-minute battle with Miesha Tate — through six fights, all of which have ended in first-round arm bar.

Carmouche is confident she’s prepared where others weren’t, and expressed a belief that she’d hold a major advantage if the bout got out of the first round.

Some of the UFC’s most popular fighters act in a supporting role of the first two women. A light heavyweight title eliminator is scheduled for the co-main event, as Dan Henderson takes on former champion Lyoto Machida.

Henderson and Machida are ranked as No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the UFC rankings. No. 2 bantamweight Urijah Faber is in action as well, meeting a capable challenge in No. 10 Ivan Menjivar.

Opening the card are two welterweight bouts, the first between two-time title challenger Josh Koscheck and Robbie Lawler followed. The second features “The Ultimate Fighter” 12 champion Court McGee against veteran Josh Neer.

Check out the Sun’s breakdown and picks of tonight’s card here, find the preliminary results below and follow along for a round-by-round blog of the main card.

A conservative approach paid off for heavyweight Brendan Schaub in the final undercard bout of the evening. Schaub defeated Lavar Johnson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) by unanimous decision. The fighters had promised the fight wouldn‚t go to a decision, but there wasn‚t much of a chance for a finish with Schaub repeatedly taking Johnson down without advancing position.

Make it two victories by rear-naked choke in a row for "The Ultimate Fighter Live" champion Michael Chiesa to start his UFC career. Chiesa submitted Anton Kuivanen at 2:20 of the second round in their lightweight bout. Kuivanen prevailed in the striking department in the first round, but had no answer when Chiesa took his back and drug him to the ground.

Fight of the Night might already be clinched. Heck, it's going to take something special to pass Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice for Fight of the Year. Bermudez and Grice stood in the pocket and exchanged significant strikes for 15 entire minutes during their featherweight scrap. Grice dropped Bermudez in the first round, but "The Menace" came back to rock his opponent multiple times in the third. The judges sided with Bermudez, who beats Grice by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29).

Former Las Vegas-based fighter Sam Stout got back to his winning ways in the first fight shown on FX. Stout, who had lost two of three to drop to .500 overall in the UFC, engaged in a close battle with Strikeforce import Caros Fodor. Stout ultimately came away with a split-decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) over Fodor, surprisingly relying more on his wrestling than his striking.

The crowd gasped. Kenny Robertson's early submission made them queasy. Robertson submitted Brock Jardine with a leg lock from back mount at 2:57 of the first round in a welterweight bout. Jardine had to be helped out of the octagon after the loss while Robertson explained how he learned the unorthodox move by tearing someone's hamstring in college.

Neil Magny defeated Jon Manley by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) in what was, essentially, the consolation match of "The Ultimate Fighter" 16. Both fighters bowed out of last year's "TUF" in the semifinals, but Magny's takedown defense and striking will likely mean his stay in the UFC will extend past Manley's.

Yuri Villefort might have gotten a portion of Nah-Shon Burrell's fight purse, but Burrell earned what they both really wanted. Burrell, a welterweight who missed weight by five pounds, notched a victory in the two Strikeforce fighters' UFC debut. Burrell defeated Villefort by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) with crisp, powerful striking. In a bout heavy on action, Burrell thwarted Villefort's grappling and knocked him down multiple times with uppercuts and right hands.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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