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Rousey survives major shock as Machida edges Hendo

ESPN staff
February 24, 2013 « Wenger: I know what I am doing | Chartbeat test »
Liz Carmouche threatened to stop Ronda Rousey © Getty Images
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Ronda Rousey survived a submission scare of Vitor Belfort v Jon Jones proportions to deliver the expected armbar finish against Liz Carmouche in an explosive UFC 157 main event on Saturday.

Back at UFC 152 Belfort - a major underdog - came agonisingly close to springing a shock on Jones. At the Honda Center it was Carmouche threatening to upset the odds, bringing the crowd to their feet as Rousey twisted her neck to avoid a potentially career-damaging defeat.

Within 30 seconds the Olympic judo bronze medallist had taken her rival to the mat, but Carmouche slipped to her back as Rousey returned to her feet, the underdog searching for a nasty rear naked choke that threatened the major upset.

Patience was key for the champion, who eventually threw her foe off before returning to a headlock, pounding away at the forehead of Carmouche. That was the lead-up to Rousey setting up her infamous armbar, and she rolled expertly to put Carmouche in trouble, earning the tap at 4.49 of a memorable round.

In the co-main event, Lyoto Machida was a clear winner over Dan Henderson, despite the judges rendering only a split 29-28 28-29 29-28 decision in the Brazilian's favour. Machida, hoping to earn another light-heavyweight title shot, owned and even embarrassed Henderson at times on his feet, only suffering adversity when taken down in the final round.

Coming in at a breezy 202lbs, Machida clearly favoured his speed over Henderson, and it did indeed prove a key factor. Hendo swung the big H-bomb but only once did it find its target, while Machida countered expertly and landed heavy kicks and knees to the body of his rival.

Typical of a Machida fight there were plenty of non-action periods, but he used those eerie silences to set traps, landing a front kick and causing bruising around the veteran's right eye. Henderson did find a takedown in the third but did little to capitalise, and when Machida returned to his feet he landed another front kick and roundhouse kick to the head in a clear victory.

"I was very surprised [it was a split decision], he took me down in the third but I did my work, I completely dominated the first and second round," Machida said.

Urijah Faber showed his undoubted class at bantamweight by submitting the tricky Ivan Menjivar at 4.34 of round one with a standing rear naked choke. Faber had been coming off a lop-sided loss to interim title holder Renan Barao, but showed he remains a contender at 135lbs.

Menjivar actually made the initial impression with a slick hip toss but Faber immediately turned his man to move to side control. After a series of elbows from inside Menjivar's guard, he eventually moved to the back as Menjivar rose to his feet, sinking in the choke before raising his arm in victory while still in mid-air.

The main card opened with something of a surprise in the welterweight division as Robbie Lawler delivered a first-round TKO stoppage of Josh Koscheck. Lawler had lost three of his last four ahead of his UFC return, but by dropping to 170lbs he seemed reinvigorated as he pounded Koscheck out at 3.57 of the first.

Given the events of the week leading up to Saturday's event - with welterweight benchmark-setter Jon Fitch shockingly cut from the organisation, Koscheck may also now fear he is in trouble. The American's last outing saw a dull decision loss to Johny Hendricks, and he did little other then smother Lawler before the southpaw sprawled a takedown attempt and punished him with ground-and-pound for the victory.

UFC 157 results:

Ronda Rousey bt Liz Carmouche via submission (armbar) at 4.49 of Round 1
Lyoto Machida by Dan Henderson via split decision (29-28 28-29 29-28)
Court McGee bt Josh Neer via unanimous decision (30-27 30-27 30-27)
Urijah Faber bt Ivan Menjivar via submission (standing rear naked choke) at 4.34 of Round 1
Robbie Lawler bt Josh Koscheck via TKO at 3.57 of Round 1
Brendan Schaub bt Lavar Johnson via unanimous decision (30-27 30-27 30-27)
Michael Chiesa bt Anton Kuivanen via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2.29 of Round 2
Dennis Bermudez bt Matt Grice via split decision (29-28 28-29 29-28)
Sam Stout bt Caros Fodor via split decision (28-29 29-28 29-28)
Kenny Robertson bt Brock Jardine via submission (kneebar) at 2.57 of Round 1
Neil Magny bt Jon Manley via unanimous decision (30-27 30-27 29-28)
Nah-Shon Burrell bt Yuri Villefort via unanimous decision (29-28 29-28 30-27)
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