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Introducing Liz Carmouche

Mixed martial arts: Thrust into spotlight, Liz Carmouche prepares to fight Glendale-trained Ronda Rousey on Saturday in Anaheim at UFC 157.

February 18, 2013|By Grant Gordon

BURBANK – With the exception to those most ardent of mixed-martial-arts fans, Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche, despite an excellent resume in the world of MMA, was a somewhat unknown to Ultimate Fighting Championship followers and certainly the mainstream.

That’s certainly changed in a big way in the lead-up to what is perceived to be the most monumental bout in the history of women’s mixed martial arts.

Carmouche openly volunteered and asked for a bout with “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, the UFC’s first-ever women’s bantamweight titlist, and received an opportunity that has her less than a week away from headlining “UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche” on Saturday night live on pay-per-view from the Honda Center in Anaheim.

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“For a lot of MMA fans, especially in the UFC, they didn’t know who I was … unless you’re really involved in women’s MMA,” said Carmouche on Monday afternoon at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Burbank, as she began fight week at a media luncheon.

But thanks to a huge media push, bolstered by the UFC’s “Primetime” show that is a three-episode series following the combatants leading up to the fight, people are getting to know plenty about the affable Carmouche – a former United States Marine who will take part in the UFC’s first-ever women’s bout and will enter the Octagon cage as the organization’s first openly gay fighter.

“I don’t think it’s really gonna set in until after the fight,” said Carmouche, 28, of the magnitude of Saturday’s bout.

Having spent “five years and change” serving in the Marine Corps through multiple tours in Iraq, Carmouche boasts an 8-2 MMA record after beginning her career in 2010, with her highest-profile fights coming under the Strikeforce banner in closely contested losses to Sarah Kaufman and Marloes Coenen. The latter was a title bout for the Strikeforce 135-pound championship, which has since essentially transposed into the UFC crown after the UFC absorbed Strikeforce and Rousey, the last to hold the belt. Since Carmouche’s loss via decision to Kaufman in July of 2011, she has run off two straight victories in the Invicta FC all-women’s fighting organization, stopping Asheigh Curry in April of 2012 and then Kaitlin Young three months later.

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