History aside, the main event provided a thrilling capper to what was, if I'm being honest, a rather lackluster night of fights. There were good moments, to be sure. It is a sport, after all. But does anyone still think, for example, that Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida should have been the real main event?
Ah, but I digress. Time to grade out every main-card performance.
Result: Robbie Lawler def. Josh Koscheck by TKO, 3:57, Rd. 1
After Brendan Schaub and Lavar Johnson capped off the prelims with a three-round homeopathic Ambien alternative, fans were nervous that the pay-per-view opener would unfold the same way.
In the beginning, it did, with Josh Koscheck eagerly applying the wet blanket to the hard-hitting Lawler. But then Lawler landed a knee, jumped on top of Koscheck and ended the contest just a few heartbeats later.
The stoppage from referee Herb Dean might have been a tad premature, but it didn't look like another few seconds would have allowed Koscheck to muster any significant defense. The real issue is that Lawler's power caused the stoppage so quickly that it was nearly an optical illusion.
It was lay-n-pray interrupted when Lawler pounded out Koscheck, who seemed a little surprised by Lawler's power. It was only the second T/KO defeat in Koscheck's pro career.
Given that UFC president Dana White recently said the promotion is looking to cut about 100 guys, you have to wonder if the talented but unpopular Koscheck might, at age 35 and after his second straight defeat, be banished to the MMA hinterlands.
Result: Court McGee def. Josh Neer by unanimous decision
But wait, you say. McGee was pretty dominant in this fight. Where's the A?
To my mind, he lost it when he couldn't close the deal. McGee hurt Neer badly in the first round with a liver kick, but seemed confused or even tentative in his follow-up, attacking just about every part of Neer's body except the liver. It allowed Neer to survive and rally. Neer might have even stolen the second round.
Still, though, McGee was the better fighter Saturday, and certainly is worth watching at his new weight.
Three straight fights, three convincing losses for Josh "The Dentist" Neer. He showed a lot of toughness against McGee, but a man cannot live on toughness alone. This was probably Neer's last fight in the UFC, at least for the foreseeable future.
Result: Urijah Faber def. Ivan Menjivar by submission, 4:34, Rd. 1
Just a beautiful display from Faber, who gained ground control early, rained down some sharp elbows, then backpacked on Menjivar to lock on a tight rear-naked choke that left Menjivar looking a little grapey.
Faber's only losses in the past six years have come against champions: Mike Brown, Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao. If he keeps taking care of business like he did Saturday night, he could get a shot this year to turn that trend around.
The two-time Submission of the Night winner was on the wrong end of the equation Saturday. He's a well-respected veteran of the sport, but he has always fallen short against top-shelf opposition.
And it was no different here, as he landed a takedown but quickly lost control. That was about all he could muster.
Division: Light heavyweight
Result: Lyoto Machida def. Dan Henderson by split decision
OK. This was not a very exciting night of fights. I mean, I still liked it, but yeah. The poets aren't going to write many ballads for this one.
Machida was public enemy No. 1 after playing three rounds of matador to Hendo's awkwardly kicking bull. Staying away from the big takedown and the H bomb did make sense. It just didn't make a good fight.
And if Dana White stays true to his word and gives Machida a rematch with champion Jon Jones, that one might be a bit more exciting for fans, if less favorable for Machida.
Henderson was visibly frustrated by Machida; he just couldn't get the paws on him. He landed a few rights, but nothing flush. Sadly, Henderson was left to throw unphotogenic leg kicks that might have done damage but didn't win him any big points. He also lost some cred when Machida hit a trip takedown to end the first round.
Is Hendo also now on the chopping block? I'd be saddened by that, but not especially surprised.
Division: Woman's bantamweight
Result: Ronda Rousey def. Liz Carmouche by submission (armbar), 4:49, Rd. 1
The great Ronda Rousey did it again with a first-round armbar win to cement her status as a UFC champion and write the correct ending to the latest chapter in the book of women's sports.
Rousey faced some trouble (more on that in a second), but once she got herself in the right position, it was only a matter of time. She secured the armbar, Carmouche tapped almost instantly and there it was.
Props to Carmouche for lasting longer in an MMA cage with Ronda Rousey than anyone else ever has.
She got a backpack on Rousey and had a choke and then a face crank that cast real, honest-to-goodness doubt on the outcome of the contest, if only for a few moments.
But even that was momentous for having never, you know, happened before. Many cheers to Carmouche, the former Marine and first openly gay UFC fighter, who was nothing but class and a great ambassador before, during and after the fight. She was a worthy foil for Rousey throughout UFC 157.
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