Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
The card featured a nice mix of high-profile fighters as well as little-known fighters, and it all added up to a historic night.
From cringe-worthy submissions to controversial decisions, it is clear that UFC 157 was one of the better cards of the year so far.
Here are the biggest takeaways from this historic night in MMA.
In the UFC, the featherweight division doesn’t receive much serious attention outside of current champion Jose Aldo, but last night showcased some of the other talent in the division.
Dennis Bermudez defeated Matt Grice in arguably the most exciting bout of the night. Although it was just a prelim, these two fighters put on quite a show. The two fighters had many impressive strike exchanges as well as a handful of back-and-forth battles on the ground.
At one point in the first round, Grice looked to have the fight sewn up after landing a huge left hook that sent Bermudez to the mat, but “The Menace” persevered and came back to win in a split decision victory.
While there was only one winner, both fighters can walk away from this fight happy with their performances.
Just an awesome fight.
Robbie Lawler was one of the UFC’s most promising young welterweights in the early 2000s but was cut in 2004 after a string of losses.
After spending time in several different MMA brands in the past nine years, Lawler made his return to the Octagon in triumphant fashion. With little success as a middleweight, Lawler went back down to 170 pounds in his first match back in the UFC.
He was largely considered to be an underdog to one of the more solid fighters in Josh Koscheck, but proved he can still get it done in the ring with a TKO of Kos in the first round.
Lawler showed that he still has plenty of gas in the tank and is much better suited as a welterweight rather than a middleweight.
With more fights ahead of him and a pretty open path toward being a contender for the title, we could see Lawler fighting for UFC gold sooner than later.
Faber celebrates a well-deserved victory.
After losing two of his last three fights going into UFC 157, Urijah Faber was viewed by some as a marginal competitor in the bantamweight division.
Following years of dominance in the now-defunct WEC, Faber hasn’t enjoyed the same success since coming to the UFC.
After a loss to interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao, it seemed as if he was hanging by a thread in terms of relevance in the division. Well, not anymore.
Faber defeated Ivan Menjivar by rear-naked choke in a style that was, well, very Urijah Faber. After he and Menjivar went pretty much strike-for-strike in the beginning, Faber took control on the ground and never turned back.
Faber won with an impressive standing rear-naked choke and very likely inserted himself into the conversation for a title shot in the coming months.
While he surely won’t get one right away, it is definitely within reach for the California Kid.
As Bruce Buffer announced the judges’ split decision in favor of Machida, a boisterous blast of boos came raining down in Anaheim.
While the crowd may have thought Hendo was the victor, the judges obviously disagreed. It surely was not the most exciting fight of either fighter’s career, but there were flashes of excitement throughout the three rounds.
Henderson just couldn’t seem to find his range against the crafty traditionalist. Machida landed several solid shots, but none were exactly jaw-dropping.
While neither fighter impressed, Machida did deserve this victory and will likely get his title shot against the winner of Jones and Chael Sonnen’s upcoming fight at UFC 159.
While the jury is out as to whether he would fair better in a rematch with Jones should he retain, many believe Machida is back on track and could upset the champ.
The obvious headline going into UFC 157 was the main event between the first women to ever step into the Octagon, and they didn’t disappoint.
Ronda Rousey, a former Olympian, has had an impressive career to date. Her first six professional MMA fights were all victories and were all first-round submissions via her infamous armbar.
While Liz Carmouche is certainly no pushover, she obviously was not enough for the UFC’s newest champion.
At one point, Carmouche looked to be on the verge of a huge upset until Rousey regained her composure and locked in her famous submission.
While it is surely too early to say that Rousey is the most dominant UFC champion today, she is certainly making a case for herself.
What’s funny is that everyone knows what Rousey is going to try to do, and yet nobody can stop her. For months these fighters train to defend against her submission hold, and yet they are unsuccessful time and time again.
While this was just the first of many women’s fights in the UFC, Rousey has certainly set the bar. Fans everywhere should be excited about where this sport is going.