vs. Liz Carmouche
It doesn’t take an MMA fan, journalist, expert, or a guy writing predictions to know that Carmouche needs to avoid the early armbar attempt at all costs. If Carmouche can make it out of Round 1, that is an upset in itself. Rousey’s work with Head Trainer Edmond Tarverdyan and former female boxing champion Lucia Rijker was showcased on the UFC Primetime episodes, but we have not seen much of her stand-up and it did look slightly suspect against Miesha Tate. This is not to say that Rousey’s stand-up is bad – she may very well knockout Liz Carmouche for all we know. It just has not been seen yet because she had no use for it since her six submission wins were all won early in the first round (with the exception of Tate, which came in the fourth minute of the first round).
There’s nothing to lose for Carmouche in this fight – she needs to come out and utilize her striking power fast, unless the challenger is pestering up a gameplan to shock the world. As a heavy favorite, Rousey can keep her title as the best female fighter on the planet if she continues her brutal armbar streak (or finds another way to win, for that matter).
Lyoto Machida vs. Dan Henderson
This is one of the most exciting matchups in the light heavyweight division in recent memory. Both light heavyweights are good counter-strikers, but Machida may be the better out of the two. It would be beneficial for Machida to drag this fight out as long as possible and drain Henderson as much as he can – the American looks to tire in the later rounds. He needs to be very wary of Henderson’s infamous “Hendo-Bomb,” which has left Michael Bisping, Fedor Emilanenko, and Rafael Feijao all out cold in the past. All it takes is for Henderson to connect and the fight is over. The pressure is certainly on as the winner of this bout will be the next in line for a title shot against Jon “Bones” Jones. The experience could play as a factor in this one, as Henderson has been in the game longer and has had his fair share of grueling fights.
Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar
Dana White reiterated his stance on Urijah Faber earlier this week when said that even “The California Kid” would be cut if he does not leave as the winner on Saturday night. Whether or not this is justified to be one of the most popular personalities in the , Faber is in for the biggest fight of his career on Saturday night – and he needs to look sharp doing it too. Faber should keep this fight standing, look hurt Menjivar with quick strikes and then perhaps try to look for the submission. Menjivar showed improvement in his last fight where he defeated Azamat Gashimov by submission and was on a three-fight win streak until he hit a roadblock in Mike Easton. Hopefully the rematch between these two will not finish by disqualification this time (Faber beat Menjivar by DQ when “the Pride of El Salvador” used an illegal kick to his downed opponent).
Josh Neer vs. Court McGee
Both guys know that the loser of this fight is probably on their way out (both have dropped two straight) so they will definitely need a stellar performance in Anaheim. Neer is super tough, however, his mistakes against Pyle and Edwards cost him dearly and McGee could easily capitalize if Neer gives him the chance. McGee should go back to his bread and butter, which is smothering his opponents and eventually catching them in a submission. Neer’s defense is quite good, but if Justin Edwards was able to submit him in less than a minute, there’s no reason why McGee can’t either.
Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler
The former welterweight title contender Koscheck welcomes Lawler back to the UFC and it will be interesting to see how Koscheck approaches this fight. Both men are capable of knocking each other out with one blow and they even have the ability to submit each other. Koscheck should use his wrestling throughout the fight and smother Lawler, who has had trouble with both cardio and grapplers (Tim Kennedy, Jake Shields) in the past.