UFC 123 Preview

I skipped the preview for last week’s card, mostly because I didn’t want to write two of these in a row. Not when Summer of the Swans was going tragically unwatched. Besides, that one was free. What were you going to do, skip it?

The Main Event: Light Heavyweight Bout
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (30-8) vs. Lyoto “the Dragon” Machida (16-1)
The Breakdown: The UFC is billing this as a clash between power and technique. That’s not entirely accurate. This is about who can bounce back better. Rampage showed up to fight his archnemesis Rashad Evans overweight and out of shape. Machida lost his unbeaten record and light heavyweight belt when Shogun went ape shit on him. Can Machida recapture the ruthless mojo he had when he was the punching equivalent of the Sphinx’s riddle? Can Rampage stop eating his weight in donuts? If these guys met at their unstoppable peaks, Machida would try to keep Rampage at bay with feet of fury, while Jackson would try to get his hands on the Dragon (which is what I like to do when the wife is out of town). The problem is, what made both men so dominant is in question. Now that Machida has proven vulnerable to anyone with the brass balls to simply charge him and Rampage is on the back half of his career, this is anyone’s fight.
My Pick: By which I mean this is Machida’s fight. He probably won’t wade in looking for a knockout like he might have before Shogun, but the Dragon will stay busy and elusive enough to get a decision.
Gore Factor: Light. Unless Rampage gets his mitts on Machida, this should be fairly gore-free.

Welterweight Bout
Matt Hughes (45-7) vs. BJ “the Prodigy” Penn (15-7-1)
The Breakdown: To give you an idea of what a Johnny-come-lately I truly am, Hughes/Penn 2 was the fight that got me into MMA. Sure, I watched some of the early UFCs back in the day (I vividly remember Tank Abbott taunting John Matua post-knockout), but Hughes and Penn was what sold me on the modern UFC. These are two of the greatest of all time. They fought twice before, each one finishing the other in convincing fashion. They’re fighting for relevance: the winner will remain a figure in his weight class, while the loser will likely get relegated to novelty fights. Of the two, Penn has slightly more tools to get the job done: he’s much better on his feet than Hughes, and the two are roughly even in the grappling arena. As always, BJ’s biggest enemy is himself.
My Pick: Huge red flag in last week’s free card: BJ said he’s getting back to basics when it comes to training. Not “I hired new coaches that don’t suck.” With that in mind, I’m going with Hughes by TKO in the third.
Gore Factor: Light. Neither guy knows how to bleed.

Middleweight Bout
Gerald “Hurricane” Harris (16-2) vs. Maiquel Jose “Big Rig” Falcao Goncalves (25-3, 1 NC)
The Breakdown: I almost tapped out writing that guy’s name. Information on Goncalves is spotty; UFC.com doesn’t even have a picture of him, and his “strengths” file is still just a placeholder. From what I can gather, he’s supposed to be some kind of blood-crazed berserker who charges into the gate and knocks people out, probably by forcing them to say his name until they lose the will to live. If there’s a cure for berserkers, elocutionary or otherwise, it’s a good wrestler. That’s Harris. If he can weather the initial storm, he should be able to do what he does best.
My Pick: And that’s pound out a round 1 TKO win.
Gore Factor: I’ll go with light, since I don’t see this thing leaving the first round.

Light Heavyweight Bout
Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis (7-0) vs. Tim “the Barbarian” Boetsch (12-3)
The Breakdown: There’s a lot of pressure in owning a nickname like Mr. Wonderful. Here’s the hilarious thing: he named himself after his favorite cat. Ladies, you may swoon now. Davis is sort of a poor man’s Jon Jones, with a similar but less flashy style. That’s not really saying much. Spider-Man has a less flashy fighting style than Jon Jones. Boetsch is as close to a pure striker as this sport still has, and he’s dangerous if he can connect with one of those hams he calls fists. If not, Davis will drop him on his ass and go to work from the top.
My Pick: I’m tempted to pick a round 3 TKO, but I’ll play it safe and say decision.
Gore Factor: This one has the potential for medium to heavy blood.

Lightweight Bout
George Sotiropoulos (13-2) vs. Joe Lauzon (18-5)
The Breakdown: Two of the best grapplers at 155 go to war in your fight of the night. Seriously, it’s not even a question. Lauzon has always been one of the most innovative ground fighters, but he’s added something else to the arsenal. In his last effort, he hulked out so completely, I half expected him to leap out of the Octagon and go after the other guy’s family. Meeting Lauzon’s barely controlled nerd rage is masterful technician and virtual gi-pants rules bender George Sotiropoulos. These two are going to spend three rounds rolling around on the mat, which is going to be great for hardcore fans and slightly uncomfortable for everyone else.
My Pick: I’ll stick with Sotiropoulos by decision.
Gore Factor: Light. Lauzon has the habit of cutting and getting cut.

Undercard Highlight: Welterweight Bout
Matt “the Immortal” Brown (13-9) vs. Brian Foster (16-5)
The Breakdown: Part of me wanted to pick the Karo Parisyan fight. Not because I think it will be a good one, but because Karo is such a head case that I’m not even sure he’ll step into the Octagon. Instead, I’ll go with the Brown/Foster bout that’s free on Spike. Why? Because Brown needs the win to stay in the UFC. This fight is going to look like a street brawl.
My Pick: Brown by submission.
Gore Factor: Medium.

This is a weird card. It seems like it was put together specifically to alienate the casual fan. Maybe that’s because the upcoming GSP/Koscheck card will draw in the dilettantes. Who knows? Anyway, I’m looking forward to this one, but if you get it, make sure you watch with someone who knows their stuff.

About Justin

Author, mammal. www.captainsupermarket.com
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3 Responses to UFC 123 Preview

  1. Justin says:

    Just a fantastic show tonight. Absolutely great.

    Jackson vs. Machida
    My pick: Machida by decision
    What happened: Jackson by decision
    Questionable, but I can’t really find too much fault since Machida showed no real interest in finishing the fight.

    Hughes vs. Penn
    My pick: Hughes by TKO r3
    What happened: Penn by KO r1
    KO of the night. Bittersweet fight for me since these are my two favorite fighters. Still, very nice to see BJ kick major ass and prove me wrong.

    Harris vs. Goncalves
    My pick: Harris by TKO r1
    What happened: Goncalves by decision
    Good fight marred by a terrible third round. Not sure what Harris was thinking there.

    Davis vs. Boetsch
    My pick: Davis by decision
    What happened: Davis by submission
    Submission of the night. Also, Davis appears to have invented a new kind of kimura, so that’s pretty awesome.

    Sotiropoulos vs. Lauzon
    My pick: Sotiropoulos by decision, fight of the night.
    What happened: Sotiropoulos by submission r2, fight of the night

    Brown vs. Foster
    My pick: Brown by submission
    What happened: Foster by submission r2
    That might be the last we see of Brown.

    Wow… I picked pretty bad this time around. Still, great show!

    • Louis says:

      Goncalves was interesting as fuck when he actually did fight, what with his hyperactive Rock Em Sock Em Robots thing going on. Trouble is, he barely did that.

      The Penn fight was ridiculous; rather, the 21 seconds of the Penn fight was ridiculous.

      I’m amazed the one judge gave Machida the fight. He earned the third round, definitely, but the other two were Rampage’s. I didn’t understand the split.

      • Justin says:

        Yeah. The Goncalves fight was two great rounds marred by a crappy finish. What I didn’t get was what Harris was thinking. He had to know Goncalves had those first two rounds, so why didn’t Harris attack?

        Regarding the Penn fight, I’ll tell you what I told my favorite crackwhore: “A motivated BJ is an unstoppable BJ.”

        As for Machida, I think it came down to timidity. The judges were tired of him running away and because he didn’t land anything of substance, they gave it to Rampage. Sort of the inverse of Machida/Shogun I.

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