UFC 157 Fight Card: Lineup's Most Likely Upsets

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IFebruary 23, 2013

Jul 21, 2012; Calgary, AB, CANADA; Renan Barao during the interim bantamweight title bout of UFC 149 against Urijah Faber (not pictured) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Ronda Rousey's championship bout with Liz Carmouche may be ruling the roost at UFC 157, but the rest of the fight card offers some fights that just scream upsets in the making.

Urijah Faber will be seeking to get back on track in the bantamweight division after losing two of his last three and could be fighting for his job as well, given the recent cuts UFC president Dana White has been making. Against tough up-and-comer Ivan Menjivar, he'll have his work cut out for him.

Similarly, a battle of experienced veterans is set to go down when Josh Koscheck takes on "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler. Koscheck has more UFC experience, but the knockout power of Lawler cannot be counted out.

Tonight is bound to be full of excellent knockouts, tapouts and wars on the ground, but it's almost guaranteed that some favorites will leave the Octagon on the wrong side of the official decision. When it comes to upsets, these bouts seem like near-locks.


Heavyweight Bout: Lavar Johnson Defeats Brendan Schaub

Brendan Schaub entered the UFC with a bang but now finds himself in a funk. He has lost his last two fights via first-round knockouts at the hands of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Ben Rothwell but has what seems like a reprieve coming against the older Lavar Johnson, who is 35 to Schaub's 29.

Schaub has the advantage when it comes to UFC experience, but Johnson cannot be counted out. He's coming off a first-round submission loss to Stefan Struve back in May, at UFC 146, but his knockout power speaks for itself.

Given how suspect Schaub's chin has been as of late, expect a classic heavyweight bout and for Johnson to come out guns blazing, ready to brawl. Unless Schaub has a new attitude and looks to incorporate a ground game, look for him to lose his third straight and, in all likelihood, be released from the promotion.


Welterweight Bout: Robbie Lawler Defeats Josh Koscheck

Josh Koscheck is everyone's favorite heel, so fans would love to see him get beaten down tonight. Against Robbie Lawler, they might get their wish.

A Strikeforce veteran with a 4-3 record in a previous UFC stint, Lawler enters this fight having lost three of his last four. However, of his 19 career wins, 16 have come by knockout, which could damn Koscheck.

The thing about Koscheck is that though he has a wrestling background, he likes to engage his opponent on his feet and not take the fight to the ground until he finds an opening or a mistake. For all intents and purposes, he's a freestyle fighter.

He has a solid chin, having been knocked out only once, but remember how he has fared against fighters with decent boxing. Koscheck had zero control in his championship match against Georges St-Pierre in 2010, and his last loss came against a great boxer in Johny Hendricks.

The experience edge may be in his favor against Lawler, but it's hard to see his cocky attitude succeeding against such a determined brawler.


Bantamweight Bout: Ivan Menjivar Defeats Urijah Faber

I hate to say it, but Urijah Faber is on the decline. Not only was he unable to defeat Renan Barao in their interim championship match last summer, but he is 2-2 in his UFC career with his only wins coming against an up-and-comer in Eddie Wineland and former WEC champion Brian Bowles.

Ivan Menjivar is another up-and-comer (4-1 in his UFC career). Faber is the first top contender he has faced, but the fact that both fighters are the same size and have very similar skill sets should make for an absolute war in the ground.

In this case, I'm picking the younger Menjivar to enter the Octagon with a Rocky Balboa-like mentality and just win on sheer desire. He'll keep Faber on his back and not let himself get outclassed, grinding his way to a decision victory.

At that point, Faber will be left wondering just what his next move is.