UFC 123 Predications


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Lyoto Machida has been touted as one of the legends of MMA.  His gracious disposition leading up to UFC 123 has really demonstrated the poise of a traditionally trained martial artist.   Machida has stayed cleared of trash talking and other antics often seen in a fight with this much hype.  I am going to agree with Sherdog's Jake Rosen who thinks this fight may just be a bore.  When Lyoto Machida takes on Quinton Jackson Saturday night, you will hear fan's disapproval.    This match up does not have the ingredients of other headliners in UFC history.    It will not have the exchanges of Chuck Liddell and Anderson Silva. Although Jackson is a wrestler first in training, he is considered to be a striker.  His striking game should not pose much threat to Machida.  In fact, Machida is the most frustrating fighter to be matched up with and Jackson does not have a keen skill set to be able to answer The Machida style of MMA.  Without listing Machida's pedigree of training partners and coaches - I expect to appreciate the fight; despite being lackluster and not the ideal match-up for an Action Jackson bout. 

Matt Hughes has recently said that he does not know which BJ Penn will show up Saturday night for UFC 123.  Hughes is not one to be unprepared in any way, he says he is expecting the best BJ in the octagon in front a sold out crowd in Auburn, Michigan.  Any long time MMA fan knows that BJ does not have the training work ethic of most of the top fighters out there.  BJ is simply pure talent and not a lot of conditioning.  A fighter like Hughes does not have the natural all around talent of BJ, but has a work ethic that makes up for lacking a lot of BJ's innate hand speed and ground game.    Most would agree that BJ in his peak state and with the right focus is unbeatable.  What is interesting about this fight is that Hughes is coming off a winning streak and BJ off a losing streak. Though both legendary veterans their mental state is juxtapose.

Mike Chiapetta from the MMAfighting.com reported that BJ didn't think he would be fighting Hughes again and actually was planning on training with him before UFC 123 was proposed.   BJ has made a serious change in preparation for this fight, replacing Rudy Valentino with Troy Mandaloniz as head trainer.  We should all be able to see within the first 30 seconds if BJ is motivated to win this rubber match.  Hughes is certainly going to come with takedown skills that probably don't worry BJ too much since his ground game if far superior.  Hughes as of late has really conformed into a boxer - but he lacks speed, reach and I would even say power.  With that being said, Hughes does have great use of his boxing ,he knows how and when to use it and does not run out of energy and juice. The odds on this fight are close BJ Penn (-140 to -180) and Matt Hughes (+120 to +150).   I believe BJ's head coach will be the difference and was brought in specifically to manage BJ's focus- we all know he does not need someone to  structure his skills or application of MMA techniques - BJ has been there done that!  I expect a split decision with BJ as the winner.

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