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UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida: Main Card Preview & Predictions

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Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis vs. Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch

Tim Boetsch enters the fight with some UFC experience and moderate success. He has been unable to defeat the better opponents that he has faced, but knows what he is doing in the ring. Unfortunately for Boetsch he seems to struggle against takedown wrestlers and will want to keep the fight standing. This could provide impossible against one of the more promising fighters in the UFC in Phil Davis. Davis is a 4-time All-American wrestler out of Penn State. He is undefeated to this point in his career and it should stay that way after this fight. The only chance that Boetsch has is if he can avoid going to the mat, and I don’t see that happening. Davis should control the fight and take it easily.

Davis by 1st round submission

Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon vs. George Sotiropoulos

George Sotiropoulos is a true gym rat who loves fighting as much as anyone in the world. He is rolling along with a seven fight winning streak; holding victories over the likes of Joe “Daddy” Stevenson and Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino. Joe Lauzon usually delivers an exciting fight and this one should be no different. Both fighters are fairly well rounded and comfortable both on the ground and on their feet. Sotiropoulos’ stand-up is overlooked because of how good he is on the ground and could be the difference in this fight. Lauzon will probably want to keep this standing, underestimating the striking of Sotiropoulus (who really needs to market his nickname). Lauzon is a nice fighter, but I simply see him overmatched in this one.

Sotiropoulos by 2nd round TKO

Gerald “Hurricane” Harris vs. Maiquel “Big Rig” Falcao

Maiquel Falcao will be making his first appearance in the octagon Saturday night when he takes on Ultimate Fighter alumnus Gerald Harris. As those that watched season 7 will know Harris has excellent wrestling skills and excels on the mat. Falcao would rather stand toe to toe and use his striking to go for the knockout. He has had success in getting out of the ring quickly with 23 wins coming in the 1st round and all but 4 of his 25 career wins coming by knockout. Falcao has the ability to close the show at any minute, so Harris will have to be mindful of his chin and keep the fight on the mat. Falcao is a wild-card as he has dominated his competition to this point, but he has yet to face the premier talent that the UFC has to offer. Once it gets to the mat, and it will, I don’t see Falcao having the ground game to stay with Harris. One false move and it’s all over.

Harris by 2nd round submission

BJ “The Prodigy” Penn vs. Matt Hughes

In a a 3rd match-up of two guys who have been criticized at times for not maximizing their immense talents each and every fight , BJ Penn and Matt Hughes will renew their rivalry one last time. Hard to believe that with each of their resumes anyone could question their desire to be the greatest, but that is a testament to how incredibly talented these two are. Both are former champions, both have utterly dominated opponents to the point where few thought they could be beaten, only to be defeated soon after. With that said, the list of people defeated by these two former champions is long and distinguished. In their first fight, Penn caught Hughes in the 1st round and put him away with a rear-naked choke. Two years later Hughes was able to avenge the loss by stopping Penn via TKO in the 3rd round. Both of these fighters won’t surprise each other as they know what the other brings to the table. Penn has the advantage when the two are on their feet, but his ground game is bettered by very few. One of the few is Matt Hughes who has one of the best ground and pounds in the history of the UFC. He will look to get this fight onto the mat as quickly as possible. This fight could come down to the shape that Penn is in. If he brings his best cardio, Hughes may have a difficult time staying with him. Otherwise Hughes could exploit Penn’s weaknesses and get the victory. I think Penn understands how important this fight is to his career, and will bring his absolute best and get the win.

Penn by 2nd round submission

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida

Rampage Jackson, love him or hate him, is always a draw. He is outspoken, boisterous, and has no problem telling you how great he is. Up until recently he has backed it up in the ring. However his last fight he looked slow and unprepared in getting dominated by Rashad Evans at UFC 114. The Dragon is also coming off a loss, his to Mauricio “Shogun” Hua where he was knocked out in round 1. One thing to watch is Machida’s body language heading to the ring. He had no confidence and it showed in his performance. Machida is known for his aggressive counterattack, but against Rua he didn’t seem interested in much of anything, except getting out of the ring and he was quickly dismissed. Rampage is certainly not sounding like he has a whole lot of desire for this fight. He is stronger than Machida, but not as precise. I’m not sure that he cares to use a precise gameplan like Rua, and that could be his downfall. Jackson seems more motivated by being a movie star than being a fighter at this stage in his career and life. Unfortunately for him, Hollywood has no time for has-beens. He would be best served in showcasing his great talents and earning back his nickname. An uninterested Rampage could make this a disappointingly boring fight as Machida’s excitement is on the counter. If Machida is asked to push the action, expect to hear the boo-birds out in full force. I think The Dragon is the hungrier fighter and takes it.

Machida by decision


One Response to “UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida: Main Card Preview & Predictions”

  1. I’d rather read about an upcoming Soccer match with players that aren’t on the real US team playing some sort of quasi-qualifying matchs….or an update on the current status of “MAGIC: THE GATHERING”.

    Posted by Bobby Digital | November 22, 2010, 10:11 am

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