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Sportsbook.ag UFC 157 Preview

Ronda Rousey (6-0) vs. Liz Carmouche (7-2)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Rousey -1100, Carmouche +600

Bantamweights Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche will step into the Octagon Saturday for the first-ever women's UFC fight.

Rousey was the reigning Strikeforce bantamweight champion before the move to UFC, winning all six of her career bouts, four of which were in Strikeforce. Carmouche lost two in a row at one point, including for the Strikeforce bantamweight title, but has bounced back since then with two consecutive wins. Rousey, as expected, is a heavy favorite, as the consensus top female fighter in the world. But Carmouche has the potential to be dangerous and could surprise people with her power and submission skills.

The current UFC bantamweight champion, Rousey is also an Olympic medalist for judo, earning the bronze at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. She has never lost and has won all six of her career bouts via armbar submission. None of those fights have escaped the first round. At 5-foot-7, she also has a one-inch height advantage over Carmouche. Her takedowns and experience make her the best, and there is no female fighter as explosive as she can be.

Carmouche struggled against some of the top fighters in Strikeforce, losing via submission to Marloes Coenen and via decision to Sarah Kaufman. She showed her resilience, however, with a TKO of Ashleigh Curry and submission against Kaitlin Young. Rousey has the experience, but Carmouche is as strong as they come, even if she has been less consistent than Rousey. She has to hope her ground-and-pound style frustrates Rousey, giving her the chance for what would be a major upset.

Lyoto Machida (18-3) vs. Dan Henderson (29-8)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Machida -220, Henderson +170

In a rematch of earlier this year Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson will come to blows in the top men's fight on UFC 157's main card Saturday night.

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These two last fought Feb. 23 in a light heavyweight title eliminator bout. Machida won via split decision in a controversial fight, setting the duo up for this rematch. Machida, a former divisional champ, has won two in a row since losing to Jon Jones in an attempt to reclaim the belt. Henderson is the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champ and has won four in a row after moving to the light heavyweight division, a streak that was snapped by the loss to Machida. "The Dragon" Machida is understandably the favorite after beating Henderson the last time out, but that fight was a toss-up, and Henderson has the power to end this fight with one clean punch.

Machida first won the UFC light heavyweight belt in 2009 against Rashad Evans and successfully defended it once, beating Mauricio Rua, who knocked him out in their next bout to take the title. He is now 3-3 in his past six fights. Nine of Machida's career 18 wins have been decisions while he also owns seven knockouts and two submissions. The 6-foot-1 karate champ can win this one if it gets to the judges, but he has to be wary of Henderson's aggressive attacks and can't count on making it to the final bell.

Before losing to Machida, Henderson had four impressive wins against Rua, Fedor Emelianenko, Rafael Cavalcante and Renato Sobral. His wins are split between knockouts and decisions, but as the last fight showed, he can't afford to let this one reach a decision. A former Division I wrestler, he lives off the takedown, but he supplements that with an ambidextrous punching arsenal.

Urijah Faber (26-6) vs. Ivan Menjivar (25-9)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Faber -370, Menjivar +280

Coming off a loss to Renan Barao for the interim UFC bantamweight belt, Urijah Faber is heavily favored against Ivan Menjivar for the duo's bout on UFC 157's main card Saturday in Anaheim.

This is a major step up in class for Menjivar, who is coming off a win against Azamat Gashimov. The win was an impressive submission, but he has yet to fight somebody of championship caliber. Faber, on the other hand, has regularly fought the best in this division, with two losses in his past three fights for the belt, to Barao and Dominick Cruz. In between those, he earned an impressive submission against the talented Brian Bowles. Although Menjivar has showed promise, he has given no indication he can beat a fighter of this caliber.

Faber is among the best submission artists in the sport, winning that way in 14 of his 26 career victories. His strategy is to earn a takedown and end the fight right then and there with his quick hands. But he can also just outfight people for three full rounds and win via decision, something he showed against Eddie Wineland before losing to Cruz. Although he has a number of losses sprinkled in lately, it's only because he's been going toe-to-toe with the top fighters in this weight class.

Menjivar has won four of five since signing with UFC, but has done so against largely no-name opponents. Two of those wins were submissions, and the one loss was a decision at the hands of Mike Easton, who got a unanimous vote from the judges. His strong Jiu-Jitsu skills make him a threat for a submission at any point, but strikes make up the majority of his attacks, setting up those final plays. But doing so will be difficult against a talented defender such as Faber, in a fight that looks to be nearly impossible for Menjivar to win. It should be good experience, however, if he can be competitive and begin to make a name for himself on the big stage.

  
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