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UFC 157 breakdown, betting odds and picks

No one willing to pick against Ronda Rousey in first-ever UFC women’s bout

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ronda Rousey, right, poses with Michael Strahan and her mother AnnMaria De Mars at UFC on Fox 4 at Staples Center on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, in Los Angeles.

This feels like the right space to point out how significant betting favorites have fared in the UFC lately.

The last two UFC events have featured four fighters who closed as higher than 3-to-1 favorites against their opponents. The underdog pulled off the momentous upset in every occasion.

That nugget reiterates a piece of knowledge that’s always stuck with mixed martial arts: Anyone can lose on any given day.

Even Ronda Rousey, the women’s bantamweight champion who makes history in more ways than one at UFC 157 on Saturday in Anaheim, Calif. She’s not only the first woman to ever fight in the octagon, along with opponent Liz Carmouche, but also the biggest main-event favorite in at least the last eight years.

Sports books have Rousey as a minus-1200 favorite (risking $12 to win $1) with Carmouche coming back at plus 800 (risking $1 to win $8).

Carmouche could win, but don’t expect anyone to pick her. As expected, none of the five members of the Sun’s picks panel went with the upset.

Look below for picks, betting odds and a breakdown of every fight. The Sun’s Ray Brewer (14-8) leads the prognostication contest so far this year, with ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto (13-9), ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (13-9), KSNV’s Kevin West (11-11) and the Sun’s Case Keefer (10-12) playing catch-up.

Liz Carmouche

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’6''
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 8-2
  • Out of: San Diego
  • Betting line: +800

Ronda Rousey

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’6''
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 6-0
  • Out of: Venice, Calif.
  • Betting line: -1200

Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Submitted Kaitlin Young in the second round at Invicta 2.

Punch list: It’s difficult not to look over Carmouche’s record and realize she’s lost to the two best fighters she’s faced —Sarah Kaufman and Marloes Coenen. But, as Rousey is quick to point out, Carmouche was beating up Coenen for a Strikeforce title before getting caught in a late submission. Carmouche’s most likely path to victory is keeping the fight standing where she can showcase her striking.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Rousey

Cofield: Rousey

Last fight: First-round submission of Sarah Kaufman at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman.

Punch list: “Rowdy” once declared her intention before a fight was to rip off an opponent’s arm and throw it to her corner. The comment drew widespread attention, but really, it’s what the former Olympian in judo tries to do every fight. And so far, it’s worked. Rousey, of course, has notched six first-round arm bars in six professional fights with only one taking more than a minute to secure.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Rousey

Brewer: Rousey

Okamoto: Rousey

Dan Henderson

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 203
  • UFC record 6-2
  • MMA record 29-8
  • Out of: Temecula, Calif.
  • Betting line: +185

Lyoto Machida

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’1''
  • Weight: 201
  • UFC record 10-3
  • MMA record 18-3
  • Out of: Curitiba, Brazil
  • Betting line: -225

Light Heavyweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Won a unanimous decision over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 139.

Punch list: Opponents know what they’re going to get from Henderson: A steady dose of right hands and takedown attempts. How he comes back from a 15-month layoff should determine his level of success. “Hendo” may have lost his title shot with the cancelation of UFC 151, but he’s still the No. 1 light heavyweight in the UFC rankings.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Machida

Cofield: Machida

Last fight: Knocked out Ryan Bader in the second round at UFC on Fox 4.

Punch list: The former champion, ranked as the No. 2 light heavyweight in the UFC, is sometimes criticized for his lack of aggression. Stylistically, that shouldn’t be a problem against Henderson. Machida prefers to sit back and counter-punch, as he’s as skilled at the art as anyone in the UFC. If Henderson comes forward early and often as he’s promising, Machida would welcome it.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Machida

Brewer: Machida

Okamoto: Machida

Ivan Menjivar

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’6’’
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 4-1
  • MMA record 25-9
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: +300

Urijah Faber

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 5’6’’
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 2-2
  • MMA record 26-6
  • Out of: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Betting line: -400

Bantamweight Bout

Featured Fight

Last fight: First-round submission victory over Azamat Gashimov at UFC 154.

Punch list: Faber originally thought he was fighting Menjivar this summer, and knew “The Pride Of El Salvador” would present several problems. The No. 10 ranked bantamweight has a finishing rate of 76 percent through a 12-year mixed martial arts career. He seems to be hitting his peak in the octagon and could be energized coming off of a lopsided win in front of his hometown fans that earned Submission of the Night honors.

Picks:KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Menjivar

Cofield: Faber

Last fight: Lost a unanimous decision to Renan Barao at UFC 149.

Punch list: “The California Kid’s” UFC record, along with his 5-5 mark in his last 10 fights, looks rather unimpressive on the surface. The losses, however, have only come to champions. Faber has beaten everyone else with relative ease, even finishing all but one of them. He’s the No. 2 ranked bantamweight almost by default. Fans tiring of Faber might not want to hear it, but he’s likely only a couple wins away from getting his third title shot in the UFC.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Faber

Brewer: Faber

Okamoto: Faber

Josh Neer

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’11''
  • Weight: 171
  • UFC record 6-7
  • MMA record 33-12-1
  • Out of: Des Moines, Iowa
  • Betting line: +230

Court McGee

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’11''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 3-2
  • MMA record 13-3
  • Out of: San Diego
  • Betting line: -290

Welterweight Bout

Pay-Per-View Fight

Last fight: Submitted by Justin Edwards at UFC on FX 5.

Punch list: The situation is especially dire for “The Dentist”. He’s failed to be competitive in either of his last two fights, losing via first-round stoppages in each. And he’s also in his third tenure with the UFC. A loss would in all likelihood signal the end of Neer’s time in the octagon — forever.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: McGee

Cofield: McGee

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Nick Ring at UFC 149.

Punch list: The UFC promoted this fight from the undercard when another bout, Chad Mendes vs. Manny Gamburyan, was scratched a week ago. With both guys on two-fight losing streaks, this could be their last chance to keep their jobs. McGee, “The Ultimate Fighter” 11 champion, drops from middleweight to welterweight in search of a victory.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: McGee

Brewer: McGee

Okamoto: Neer

Robbie Lawler

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’11’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 4-3
  • MMA record 19-9
  • Out of: Granite City, Ill.
  • Betting line: +350

Josh Koscheck

  • Age: 35
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 15-6
  • MMA record 19-6
  • Out of: Fresno, Calif.
  • Betting line: -500

Welterweight Bout

Pay-Per-View Opener

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Lorenz Larkin at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy.

Punch list: It’s an awfully tough matchup for “Lawless”, who returns to the UFC after bouncing around other organizations for the last eight years. His time in Strikeforce can only be characterized as a disappointment as Lawler went 3-5 in the promotion.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Koscheck

Cofield: Lawler

Last fight: Split-decision loss to Johny Hendricks at UFC on Fox 3.

Punch list: Several outlets, including the Sun, scored Koscheck’s last fight in his favor. But the decision going against him tumbled the veteran down the ranks and got him a lesser fight in his return. Koscheck is ranked No. 8 in the welterweight division and hasn’t been placed this low on a card in four years.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Koscheck

Brewer: Koscheck

Okamoto: Koscheck

Lavar Johnson

  • Age: 35
  • Height: 6’4’’
  • Weight: 248
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 17-6
  • Out of: San Jose, Calif.
  • Betting line: +110

Brendan Schaub

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’4’’
  • Weight: 237
  • UFC record 4-3
  • MMA record 9-3
  • Out of: Denver
  • Betting line: -140

Heavyweight Bout

FX prelim

Last fight: First-round submission loss to Stefan Struve at UFC 146.

Punch list: Knockout power is Johnson’s biggest advantage. Johnson’s last nine wins have come via knockout, which is also the only method Schaub has ever lost by. But Johnson has holes in his takedown defense that an opponent like Schaub could exploit.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Schaub

Cofield: Schaub

Last fight: First-round knockout loss to Ben Rothwell at UFC 145.

Punch list: Athleticism is Schaub’s biggest advantage. All of the fights he’s won have featured him being quicker to the punch and more elusive than his opponent. Coming off of two straight first-round knockouts, the former NFL fullback has worked hard refining his game to get back to where he was when considered a rising prospect.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Schaub

Brewer: Johnson

Okamoto: Johnson

Anton Kuivanen

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 17-5
  • Out of: Helsinki, Finland
  • Betting line: +175

Michael Chiesa

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 8-0
  • Out of: Spokane Valley, Wash.
  • Betting line: -225

Lightweight Bout

FX prelim

Last fight: Beat Mitch Clarke by split decision at UFC 149.

Punch list: With eight wins by submission, Kuivanen has established grappling as his foremost strength. That’s somewhat surprising considering the only Finnish fighter in the UFC boxed before switching over to mixed martial arts. He vows he’s looking for a “vicious finish” over Chiesa.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Chiesa

Cofield: Chiesa

Last fight: First-round submission victory over Al Iaquinta at “The Ultimate Fighter Live” finale.

Punch list: Chiesa’s record is even better than advertised, as it doesn’t include the four victories he notched in “The Ultimate Fighter Live” tournament before upsetting Iaquinta in the finals. After fighting five times in four months on the show, Chiesa hasn’t appeared since last June. The wrestler has dedicated himself to becoming more well rounded during the off-time.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Kuivanen

Brewer: Chiesa

Okamoto: Kuivanen

Matt Grice

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 2-4
  • MMA record 15-4
  • Out of: Harrah, Okla.
  • Betting line: +300

Dennis Bermudez

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’6’’
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 9-3
  • Out of: Lindenhurst, N.Y.
  • Betting line: -400

Featherweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Leonard Garcia at UFC on FX 3.

Punch list: Grice is 1-1 since dropping to the 145-pound division, but the only loss was to second-ranked Ricardo Lamas. It’s time for the UFC to find out what they’ve got in a lighter Grice. A test against one of the better up-and-comers in the division should suffice.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Bermudez

Cofield: Bermudez

Last fight: Choked out Tommy Hayden in the first round at UFC 150.

Punch list: “The Menace” hasn’t let coming inches away from winning “The Ultimate Fighter” 14 title against Diego Brandao affect him going forward. Bermudez has won both fights since the reality show in impressive fashion, dominating Hayden and surving a war with Pablo Garza before that.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Bermudez

Brewer: Bermudez

Okamoto: Bermudez

Caros Fodor

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 7-2
  • Out of: Kirkland, Wash.
  • Betting line: -145

Sam Stout

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 7-7
  • MMA record 19-8-1
  • Out of: London, Ontario
  • Betting line: +115

Lightweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Third-round submission loss to Pat Healy at Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey.

Punch list: Don’t say Strikeforce lacked any up-and-coming talent as it wound down. Fodor will dispute that. His nickname, after all, is “The Future”. He was undefeated in Strikeforce at 5-0 before the setback against Healy.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Stout

Cofield: Stout

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to John Makdessi at UFC 154.

Punch list: It’s easy to feel for Stout. Since his trainer Shawn Tompkins tragically passed away, “Hands of Stone” has slogged through a disappointing 1-2 stretch. Stout long dreamt of a run at the lightweight tile, but at this point, he’s just looking to improve his job security.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Fodor

Brewer: Stout

Okamoto: Fodor

Brock Jardine

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’11’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 9-2
  • Out of: Orem, Utah
  • Betting line: -180

Kenny Robertson

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-2
  • MMA record 11-2
  • Out of: Spring Bay, Ill.
  • Betting line: +150

Welterweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Defeated by Rick Story via unanimous decision at UFC on FX 4.

Punch list: “The Machine” took a traditional path to the UFC. After his college wrestling career ended, he wanted to keep competing in a professional sport. Enter mixed martial arts. All but one of Jardine’s wins has featured a finish and he’s only been stopped once himself, by “The Ultimate Fighter” 13 champion Tony Ferguson in the fourth round.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Jardine

Cofield: Jardine

Last fight: Lost to Aaron Simpson via unanimous decision at UFC on FUEL TV 4.

Punch list: Though two fights is a small sample, Robertson is at risk of developing the tag as a fighter who dominates on the local circuit but tenses up and can’t duplicate the success on the big stage. Neither his loss to Simpson nor Mike Pierce were all that close, but Robertson soared before reaching the UFC.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Robertson

Brewer: Jardine

Okamoto: Jardine

Neil Magny

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 7-1
  • Out of: Chicago
  • Betting line: -170

Jon Manley

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 6’0’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 7-1
  • Out of: Ludlow, Mass.
  • Betting line: +140

Welterweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over Daniel Sandmann at Hoosier Fight Club 10.

Punch list: Considered one of the favorites on the last season of “TUF”, Magny won three fights before running into Mike Ricci in the quarterfinals. He’s one of only two fighters, the other being Manley, from his season outside of the finalists who was impressive enough to warrant another opportunity in the UFC.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Magny

Cofield: Magny

Last fight: Beat Sabah Homasi by unanimous decision at Warrior-1 MMA 7.

Punch list: The second of three welterweight bouts to kick off the card, this one is the longest in the making. The UFC wanted to book Manley against Magny since “The Ultimate Fighter” 16 concluded late last year but had to wait until both were healthy. He won a $25,000 bonus for Submission of the Season while on “TUF”.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Magny

Brewer: Magny

Okamoto: Magny

Yuri Villefort

  • Age: 21
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 6-1
  • Out of: Deerfield Beach, Fla.
  • Betting line: -110

Nah-Shon Burrell

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 8-2
  • Out of: Philadelphia
  • Betting line: -120

Welterweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: First-round TKO loss to Chris Spang at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier.

Punch list: With dangerous striking that’s led to eight knockouts, Burrell has the potential to turn into a special fighter. The two questions are his chin, after the loss Spang, and his conditioning, which has looked subpar in his last two bouts to go the distance.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Villefort

Cofield: Villefort

Last fight: Split-decision loss to Quinn Mulhern at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier.

Punch list: The second-youngest fighter currently signed to the UFC, Villefort looks to accomplish something his older brother couldn’t do and stick in the UFC. Danillo Villefort got one chance in the octagon, a UFC 101 bout against Jesse Lennox, but was released after losing via third-round TKO.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Burrell

Brewer: Villefort

Okamoto: Villefort

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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