Intriguing fights abound when the pay-per-view portion of UFC 157's fight card gets underway.
Not only will Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche make history by becoming the first women to fight and headline a UFC event, there's also a No. 1 contender's bout in the light heavyweight division, a fan favorite looking to get back on track and a former TUF winner debuting in a new weight class.
The main card is set up for a memorable night of fights, and those interested in the odds will have plenty of action to consider before making their final picks.
Here's a last-minute look at the latest odds for the fights and a prediction for each. Note: All odds via Bovada.
Josh Koscheck (-380) vs. Robbie Lawler (+290)
Coming off of a split-decision loss to Johny Hendricks, Koscheck desperately needs to get a win over Lawler if he wants to avoid falling completely off the map. With fights against a ton of big-name welterweights on his resume, Kos can't be happy to be fighting someone as far down the ladder as Lawler.
Lawler is just 1-3 in his last four fights and really appears to be outclassed by Koscheck on paper. However, most of his experience comes at middleweight, so he should be the biggest fighter come fight time—that will give him a shot against a fighter in Koscheck that is used to bullying opponents with his strength.
Prediction: Koscheck by Rd. 2 TKO
Lawler has as good a chance as any underdog does in MMA, but Koscheck has to know the stakes are huge for him. He'll respond accordingly.
Court McGee (-340) vs. Josh Neer (+260)
McGee endeared himself to fans with his incredible backstory and heart in his time on The Ultimate Fighter —however, things haven't gone well for him in his last two fights.
In hopes of salvaging his career, he has dropped down to the welterweight division and the UFC hooked him up with the ideal opponent, Josh Neer, to get acclimated to the division.
Neer is a grizzled veteran with plenty of experience, but he's highly beatable. He's lost his last two fights in the first round and could be on his way out of the UFC.
Prediction: McGee by Rd. 2 TKO
It'll be interesting to see how McGee handles the weight cut, but as long as he can avoid issues with that he is in a good position to pick up a much needed W. Neer is scrappy enough to make it out of the first round for the first time in three fights, but he doesn't have as many tools as McGee at this stage of his career.
Urijah Faber (-400) vs. Ivan Menjivar (+300)
After Jon Fitch's recent release from the organization, it's easy to speculate that Faber could be the next big name on the chopping block. He's 1-2 in his last three fights and can't afford to drop this one to Menjivar.
Menjivar is a dangerous opponent for Faber—he has 10 wins by submission in his career and nine more by way of KO/TKO. He's a pretty sizable underdog, but he has earned this fight and will put in a good showing.
Prediction: Faber by Decision
This fight should be much closer than the line indicates. Faber's best bet is going to be to utilize his wrestling and wear out Menjivar, but that comes with the inherent risk of submission.
Faber still has what it takes to win this fight, but it's a pretty risky pick. If Faber has the slightest lapse in concentration, his opponent has the ability to strike quickly and score the upset of the night.
Lyoto Machida (-235) vs. Dan Henderson (+185)
This matchup has "Fight of the Night" written all over it.
Henderson and Machida have been considered top five light heavyweights for years now and this fight is guaranteed to be entertaining. Both have highlight reel knockouts on their resume and it's highly likely that this one ends with someone sleeping.
The winner gets a title shot, so we know the stakes are high. With Henderson always looking to press the action with power shots and Machida the consummate counter-striker, this should be a fun chess match on the feet.
Prediction: Henderson by Rd. 3 KO
Hendo hasn't fought since his epic five-round war with Shogun Rua in 2011—ring rust could be a factor. Getting out of the first round without being tagged by one of Machida's trademark blitzes will be vital.
If he can avoid that, you have to like Henderson's chances to land the massive overhand right. The "H-Bomb" is one of the most devastating weapons in the sport and Machida has been tagged with the punch before (Shogun can attest).
Ronda Rousey (-1000) vs. Liz Carmouche (+600)
This fight has people buzzing because of its historical significance—not because it's all that competitive on paper.
Rousey, as just about everyone knows by now, has won all of her fights by armbar in the first round and really hasn't been tested. She's easily the biggest star in women's MMA and will look to increase her legend by doing the same to Carmouche.
Carmouche comes in as a massive underdog but has a respectable record. She is 8-2 in 10 professional fights and holds wins in Strikeforce and Invicta.
Prediction: Rousey by Rd. 1 Submission
Same old song and dance here.
Rousey is simply on another level right now and Carmouche doesn't have what it takes to put an end to her streak.
Carmouche may last longer than the average Rousey opponent thanks to her toughness, but one way or another, Rousey will find a way to submit her way to her first UFC victory.
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