UFC 157: women to fight in the UFC

Sam Brown Roar Guru

By Sam Brown, Sam Brown is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    This weekend the UFC takes its biggest and riskiest leap forward in a long time as it launches women’s MMA into the mainstream for the first time.

    And they enter in not as a sideshow, supporting act or a degrading peep and giggle Foxy Boxing contest, but as the real deal, the Main Event for UFC157 for the Women’s Bantamweight Championship.

    Front and centre is the inaugural UFC women’s champion, Ronda Rousey, without whom there would be no UFC women’s division. Through sheer force of personality and performance she converted UFC President Dana White from a WMMA skeptic to the man now backing Rousey as his organisation’s next mainstream star.

    For Rousey’s co-star, Liz Carmouche, it is no less significant an entry into the Octagon, she will become the UFC’s first ever openly gay fighter to step into the ring.

    To top it off veterans Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida will square off for the first time and Urijah Faber makes his return to the ring.

    But the true and rightful centre of attention this weekend will be when the women enter the Octagon for the first time in possibly the most historic UFC event since UFC 1.

    Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea but don’t for a minute think that these women aren’t every bit as tough, dedicated or skilful as their male counterparts.

    Rousey, a former Olympic Judo bronze medalist, has blazed the kind of trail to the top that has her name deservedly written up in lights.

    Seven wins from seven fights, all by first round armbar. Rousey has never had a MMA fight that lasted longer than four and a half minutes.

    Her highlights catalogue makes for some pretty awe inspiring and simultaneously gruesome vision. She has justifiably earned the nickname of ‘The Arm Collector’.

    But she isn’t simply a one-trick pony, as a former Olympic judo medalist, her stand-up grappling skills and ability to perform complex throws are lightyears ahead of her competition and her kick-boxing is improving with every outing.

    Setting up arm-bars is a difficult proposition for even the best grapplers and is made even harder by the fact that everyone knows how Rousey wants to end up. As her reputation has grown, she has had to develop a whole bag of tricks to keep her submission streak going.

    For a long time Dana White refused to entertain the idea of women fighting under his banner but Rousey’s prowess in the ring combined with her ever developing media skills have swayed him.

    He has thrown his support completely in her corner and is pushing her to become one of the public faces of the UFC.

    Of course, with the spotlight shining so brightly on Rousey there is always the possibility that her opponent, Liz Carmouch could spoil the party.

    She has no public pressure or expectations to weigh her down; very few coaches, ex-fighters or commentators are giving her a shot, but sometimes that cocktail of freedom can push a fighter to the next level.

    Unfortunately for Carmouch the clash of styles really doesn’t give her much chance of success in this fight.

    Her strongest moments have come when she has been able to gain control in the mount and in grappling exchanges, however grappling is exactly where you don’t want to end up against a former Judo medalist.

    Rousey’s only obvious weakness is her under-developed striking but Carmouch has never shone in that area either.

    In just about every aspect this is Rousey’s big coming out party and the matchup has been chosen accordingly.

    The UFC has committed to the women’s bantamweight division, signing a batch of women fighters to make up the numbers but so much resides on Rousey’s shoulders and her ability to become a star.

    If she loses this weekend, the division will quickly become lost and could quickly drift into irrelevance, as the men’s bantamweight division has arguably done over the past year.

    In the grand scheme of things though, this fight is bigger than either Rousey or Carmouche, it is a landmark event for all women in Mixed Martial Arts.

    Before this event the most a female fighter could hope for is some indie recognition or a spot on the Strikeforce roster.

    Now the biggest MMA promotion in the world has broken down the glass ceiling for them and has decided to put its full weight behind Women’s MMA.

    Now it’s over to the fans to support it.

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • February 22nd 2013 @ 7:56am
      Jerry said | February 22nd 2013 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      “don’t for a minute think that these women aren’t every bit as tough, dedicated or skilful as their male counterparts”

      Tough and dedicated, yes – skillful, no.

      Women’s MMA is still in its infancy and there are no genuinely rounded fighters. The fact that Rousey can dominate as much as she has with no real stand up game shows that. That will change as it grows in popularity but at the moment, Rousey is a full time fighter competing against part timers.

      • Roar Guru

        February 22nd 2013 @ 6:11pm
        Damien said | February 22nd 2013 @ 6:11pm | ! Report

        Very good point.

        Hopefully Cyborg can get down to 135.

        Sort of has shades of UFC 1 when Royce Gracie dominated..

    • February 22nd 2013 @ 9:53am
      DJ said | February 22nd 2013 @ 9:53am | ! Report

      Rousey can grapple with me anytime…

      • February 22nd 2013 @ 2:13pm
        John said | February 22nd 2013 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

        Amen brother, amen 😉

      • Roar Guru

        February 23rd 2013 @ 12:34am
        Sam Brown said | February 23rd 2013 @ 12:34am | ! Report

        Please stop making MMA fans look like mysoginists. The best thing about this weekend is that the UFC is doing this properly, they arent making it some titillating sideshow, it is getting the same attention and treatment any other championship fight would. I hope the fans give it the same treatment and look at this as two elite athletes pitting their strength and skills against one another. I will be quite disappointed if they get non stop wolf whistles all fight.

    • February 22nd 2013 @ 10:05am
      DJ said | February 22nd 2013 @ 10:05am | ! Report

      Machida V Hendo should be a good fight…

      I think Lyoto might be the first man to stop Hendo… I think Henderson will come in to strikig range too recklessley and get caught. ala Ryan Bader..

      • February 22nd 2013 @ 10:35am
        Jerry said | February 22nd 2013 @ 10:35am | ! Report

        Henderson doesn’t have a lot of weapons other than that big right hand and he has pretty poor cardio (though it’s only a 3 rounder so that may not come into it). I can see Machida really frustrating him.

        • February 22nd 2013 @ 3:38pm
          MMADoggzofwar said | February 22nd 2013 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

          “Henderson doesnt have alot of weapons other than that big right hand and he has pretty poor cardio..” the guy went 5 rounds in the fight of the year 2011..that “right hand” has been his tool of choice because everyone he has fought as of late has no answer for it except Shogun and those shots would have KO’d a Bull.. not too sure bout who youve been watching there Jerry…

          • February 22nd 2013 @ 3:53pm
            Jerry said | February 22nd 2013 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

            Yeah, he went 5 rounds and did you happen to notice how he went in the 4th and 5th rounds? He got absolutely dominated – look at the fightmetric stats for his significant strikes per round – 23, 25, 21, 8, 0. Hell, he only threw 9 & 8 strikes in the 4th & 5th rounds and spent nearly the entire 5th round mounted.

            He was dominating that fight and then he gassed hard and almost lost (in fact, given the final round I think it should have been a draw as that 5th round was textbook 10-8). Now, as I said, this fight is only a 3 rounder so it might not be an issue but don’t pretend that he’s a cardio machine.

            • February 22nd 2013 @ 4:05pm
              MMADoggzofwar said | February 22nd 2013 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

              Come on Jerry, when your taking that much punishment in the championship rounds and you STILL finish the fight, numbers dont mean anything, sheer will and heart pushed that guy thru and those cant be measured on a “fightmetric” system..just because a guy throws 8 or 9 strikes in a round doesnt mean he’s gassed, heck Ali went a whole 3 min boxing round once and didnt throw a punch! and he still won the round! Anderson Silva spends most rounds showing off his evasive skills ala vs Maia. I never said he was cardio machine, I took exception to you mentioning he had bad cardio, of which I think he has excellent cardio, those wrestlers pride themselves on fighting all day! Given he may be have been gassed but in the context of that fight, I dont think there were too many other fighters in the UFC who would worn that many shots and still come out to fight 3, 4 or 5 rounds.

              • February 22nd 2013 @ 4:25pm
                Jerry said | February 22nd 2013 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

                Watch the fight and ask yourself how Shogun got back in that fight after being dominated and almost finished. Henderson didn’t wear all those shots in the first 3 rounds, he wore them when he’d already gassed.

                Yeah, he didn’t get finished cause he’s got an iron chin, but if he had decent cardio he’d never have been in that position.

                Also, as nice a guy as he seems to be, he’s just another guy on TRT which is an absolute sham in my book, though Dana White is at least saying the right things about monitoring it correctly.

              • February 22nd 2013 @ 4:40pm
                MMADoggzofwar said | February 22nd 2013 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

                +1 on TRT Jerry ..its a joke

      • February 22nd 2013 @ 3:52pm
        MMADoggzofwar said | February 22nd 2013 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

        when have you known Hendo to be reckless? Bader came forward against LM because the game plan he tried to employ was tried and worked (shogun)
        what Bader failed to understand his striking lacked any fluidity and had no punishing leg/body kicks like shogun, Bader paid the price for one strike lungeing against a known striker (forest v Spider, Couture v Liddell etc..)
        dont reach-and dont try and fire one off punches..except if you Hendo and can close the gap to plant one on the chin! LoL!
        DGMW I think Machida will win but Hendo is going to give him a run for his money..Machida wins on points but wont finish Hendo, if he does then “Boo-Hoo’ I was wrong!

        • February 22nd 2013 @ 3:55pm
          Jerry said | February 22nd 2013 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

          I expect Henderson will try his ‘fake inside leg kick, H-bomb’ combo a fair bit. Worked against Bisping, worked against Shogun, worth a try…

          • February 22nd 2013 @ 4:19pm
            MMADoggzofwar said | February 22nd 2013 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

            true that, but hoping he looks at closing the gap by doubling up on the jab and then look to throw the right hand more as an uppercut or straight, LM will have been looking out for the OH right, plus LM stand upright style doesnt lend too much to that right hand landing flush..my even go bck to his wrestling roots and take LM down and GnP ala Chael sonnen v AS

            • February 22nd 2013 @ 4:29pm
              Jerry said | February 22nd 2013 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

              It’s bizarre that one of the most decorated amateur wrestlers in MMA doesn’t really look to use his wrestling offensively at all. His takedown defence isn’t anything special and the last time he faced a good wrestler (Shields) he got smothered. You’d think he’d be able to dominate like Chael Sonnen (but with more power in ground & pound) if he wanted to, but he just relies on his stand up.

              • February 22nd 2013 @ 4:39pm
                MMADoggzofwar said | February 22nd 2013 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

                guess that ole adage “If it aint broke, dont fix it” Hendo’s stnd up allows him to stay on his feet and save his energy to land the big punches.
                I dont care much for “LaynPray” (RIP John Fitch LoL) but when your active like CS working for position and posturing up to land strikes/dirty boxing then why not? maybe he still has a fear from when he got submitted by AS..
                I still think his cardio is good. Compared to gassing (BJ/Rampage) his cardio is up there. Certainly not Benson Henderson/Frankie Edgar cardio, but better than most! To me being gassed you have nothing, zilch and you literally give up, which Hendo just dont do! PRIDE FC 4 LIFE! LoL!

              • February 22nd 2013 @ 4:54pm
                Jerry said | February 22nd 2013 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

                There’s some guys out there can survive in zombie mode, gassed or not, eg Chris Leben, Hendo, Mark Hunt, BJ Penn – doesn’t matter how tired they are, it takes a sledge-hammer to finish them.

    • February 22nd 2013 @ 11:50am
      thesportsguy said | February 22nd 2013 @ 11:50am | ! Report

      i love machidas game, but ever snce rua exposed him fighters have been much better against his style. He seems to have the right sort of chin for someone like dan hendersons game too…i wouldnt be surprised if dan knocked him out.

      having said that, i do think machida knows this and will be victorious. he rebounds from losses pretty well.

    • February 23rd 2013 @ 10:20am
      nickoldschool said | February 23rd 2013 @ 10:20am | ! Report

      Great card and really looking forward to watch the girls have a go. For a first, i would have put their fight as a co-main event, just before the hendo-machida bout.

      Its a tough one to fight after 2 guys like that and am a bit worried the fans will treat it as a ‘circus’ show after the ‘real’ card. Squeezed between 2 men fights would have been better imo, maybe after faber vs menjivar who fight at the same weight than ronda and carmouche.

    • February 26th 2013 @ 3:59am
      Bob Anderson said | February 26th 2013 @ 3:59am | ! Report

      More effort to blur the differences between the sexes for no good reason. I will always find it grotesque to watch women beating the crap out of each other, certainly not something I would pay to watch voluntarily.

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