Fan favorite Mike Chiesa enjoyed his UFC debut by forcing Anton Kuivanen to tap out due a rear-naked choke at 2:29 of the second round.
Kuivanen (18-5) dictated most of the action in the first round, but Chiesa (9-0), the winner of Season 15 of “The Ultimate Fighter,”picked up the pace in the second. He eventually got Kuivanen’s back, wrestled him to the ground and patiently worked for the submission.
In a close fight that brought the Honda Center crowd to its feet Dennis Bermudez beat Matt Grice by split decision.
The featherweights were fairly even the first two rounds, but Bermudez (11-3) threw some heavy punches in the third. Grice (15-5) somehow managed to avoid going down, but it was obviously a decisive round as the judges scored it 28-29, 29-28, 29-28 for Bermudez.
In a lightweight battle to kick off the FX prelims, UFC veteran lightweight Sam Stout pounded out a split-decision victory over Caros Fodor.
The judges scored it 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 for the 28-year-old Stout, who was making his 15th appearance on a UFC card. Stout (20-8-1) did a good job attacking Fodor’s body the first two rounds, but former Strikeforce fighter Fodor (7-3) was busier in the third.
In a dominating performance, Kenny Robertson was relentless in his welterweight against Brock Jardine before forcing the submission with a kneebar at 2:57 of the first round.
Robertson (12-2) almost had a rear-naked choke on Jardine (9-3) before eventually getting into a rarely-seen position where he was able to grab Jardine’s ankle and tweak his hamstring/groin hard enough to make him tap.
In the opening fight at UFC 157, Nah-Shon Burrell earned a hard-fought unanimous-decision victory over Yuri Villefort.
The judges scored it 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 for Burrell (9-2), who weighed in at 175.8 pounds — 4.8 over the acceptable welterweight limit. Villefort (6-2) agreed to still take the fight but will earn some of Burrell’s fight purse.
In the first women’s fight in UFC history, bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey defends her belt tonight against Liz Carmouche in the main event at UFC 157 at the Honda Center.
On the undercard was a great featherweight battle Chad Mendes (13-1) vs. Manny Gamburyan (12-7), a longtime friend and training partner of Rousey’s. But that was before Gamburyan broke his thumb — and a nagging elbow injury was also diagnosed as a fractured elbow — and had to back out of the fight two weeks ago.
Sports Illustrated’s Melissa Segura first tweeted the news. Gamburyan confirmed the injuries to MMA Weekly and estimated he’d be sidelined about three months.
“I just want to apologize to the fans and (UFC President) Dana White and the UFC. I’ve been training really hard. We’ll fight down the road for sure. My team was the main event, and we’ve been training together for many years, and I really wanted to be part of it too.”
Rousey talked last week about not being on the same card as Gamburyan, who had no bigger and more vocal fan in his last fight — a unanimous-decision victory over Michihiro Omigawa in August on UFC on Fox 4 at Staples Center — than Rousey herself.
“I’m really bummed. I know he was really looking forward to us being on the card together like that. It’s disappointing, but I really do believe everything happens for a reason. And his elbow had been bugging him since his last fight, so if he hadn’t broken his thumb at the last moment, he wouldn’t have ever got that elbow checked out.
It’s terrible that it happened, but I think it’s also probably a little bit of a good thing. Because if he had gone in there with that broken elbow like that, he could’ve irrevocably hurt himself or wrecked his career.
So it’s unfortunate. I feel like that we shouldn’t hurt about what happened, just accept the positive things out of it. You know what? It’s terrible he got hurt, it’s terrible he had to pull out of fight, but it’s good we found out the extent of his injuries and he can be able to address them and deal with the healing and come back better than ever.”
We asked UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey to discuss some of the people chiefly responsible for her success. We posted one each day leading up to Rousey’s first defense of her 135-pound title tonight against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
Today, Rousey talks about Manny Gamburyan, the UFC featherweight and finalist from Season 5 of “The Ultimate Fighter” who is a longtime friend and training partner:
Manny! I … love … Manny! I love Manny so much. When I tore my knee out when I was 15 years old, he’s the one who told my mom that he would be down to come and work with me every afternoon, five days a week, for the whole 2003. This was before I was ranked at all at the senior level in judo. This is before I had name anything.
He would show up every single afternoon in his parents’ minivan and work with me on everything I could do on one leg. He taught me my first triangle. He would hold my feet and have me do cartwheels and pushups all over the place. He would do everything he could to help me out and he offered to do it for free. My mom made him do it for $35 a day just to cover his gas. He’s just been the most selfless and caring teammate and friend that I’ve still worked with to this day.
From haunting accounts of personal tragedy to sweat-on-the-lens looks at their training regimens, this thirty minute special edition of UFC Primetime gives you unprecedented access to the homes, gyms and lives of Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche.