On Saturday, November 20th, UFC 123 will take place at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
This is the first UFC event at this venue since UFC 9 back in 1996. While fans were already intrigued by the card when Matt Hughes vs. BJ Penn III was announced, the main event will be Quinton Jackson (30-8) taking on Lyoto Machida (16-1).
Cutting to the chase, both these fighters really need a win here to remain top contenders within the light heavyweight division.
Machida will be fighting for the first time since losing the UFC Light Heavyweight Title to Mauricio Rua in May.
The Dragon defeated Rua by unanimous decision in October of 2009, but the win was fairly controversial as Rua hung in the fight the whole time and hurt Machida on several occasions.
Many believed Machida defeated Rua by a narrow split decision at best, which is a big reason why Rua got an immediate rematch and gave Machida his first professional loss.
“The Dragon” remains a top contender since he just lost the title in his last outing, but a loss to Jackson would drop his stock significantly.
We have seen the best of both worlds from Jackson in his five last fights. He has beaten highly regarded opponents in Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva and Keith Jardine.
However, he also got beaten handily by both Forest Griffin and Rashard Evans, losing both matchups my unanimous decision.
Throughout his career, Jackson has proved to have tremendous skills in wrestling, boxing, kickboxing and not to mention his incredible strength.
The best example of this is bringing a WWE move into the octagon; in the past Jackson has utilized a powerbomb to counter the triangle choke submission hold.
Although he has a great well rounded skill set, Jackson is not as quick and agile as some of his fellow light heavyweight counterparts and has limited jiu-jitsu skills.
Furthermore, it is also worth mentioning that many consider Jackson’s most embarrassing professional loss to have come at the hands than none other than the aforementioned Mauricio Rua.
Rua broke several of Jackson’s ribs in the first round; taking away just about any defense he had from there. Rua then finished him off with soccer kicks to the head before the round ended.
On the other hand, Machida was making a case as one of the greatest light heavyweights of all time before losing to Rua in a rematch.
Heading into that fight, Machida was 16-0 and held notable wins over the likes of BJ Penn, Tito Ortiz, Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans.
Machida is a tough opponent to prepare for since aside from his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he trains in the lesser used martial arts styles of Shotokan Karate and Sumo.
He calls the use of these aforementioned marital arts, along with wrestling, in unison, Machida Karate.
Machida had the luxury of growing up with a Japanese Shotokan karate master as his father, who got him into training at a very young age.
This makes his skills finely honed to a level that many fighters could not dream of.
Nevertheless, Rua showed that The Dragon struggles with aggressive strikers that are both quick and precise, since a lot of Machida’s game relies on patience and counterstriking.
Even with Jackson knowing what is on the line for this one, expect Machida to come out victorious.
Machida has shown the ability to stop takedowns from great wrestlers in the past, and Jackson’s striking and grappling will not be enough to even out the odds.
Regardless of the outcome, expect a great fight to top off what looks to be an exciting card.