Which Matt Will Win at UFC 98?
Seldom do we see a fight where the combatants hate each other as much as Matt Serra and Matt Hughes do.
Both fighters have swung verbal haymakers at each other for over two years, the ferocity of which has only seemed to increase as the months drew on. At UFC 98, fans will finally get to experience the biggest grudge match in UFC history.
The reasons for picking either Matt to win are as divisive as the fighters themselves. Serra brings to the table a strong Brazilian Jiu Jitsu background and knockout power, Hughes a wrestling base considered to be one of the best ever seen in the octagon.
Let us examine the fight from both perspectives, to see if we can determine who will finally have their hand raised.
Matt Hughes will beat Matt Serra
It is no secret that both of these fighters are on the decline stage of their careers. The only difference is that Hughes is descending from a much higher peak.
A surefire hall of famer and one of the most dominant champions the UFC has ever seen, Hughes is an icon of the sport.
When comparing the bodies of work of both fighters, Hughes is clearly the better fighter. Serra’s record is an uninspiring 9-5, with the only win of real consequence coming via a fluky knockout of an unprepared Georges St. Pierre.
Fans need only to look at the St. Pierre/Serra rematch to see that said victory was a fluke.
Critics cry that Hughes has lost three of his last four fights, but two of those losses were to St. Pierre (who Hughes also holds a victory over) and the other was to top contender Thiago Alves. Serra is not nearly on the same level of competition as either of these fighters.
Serra is also coming off of a major injury. While both fighters have had extended layoffs, Hughes’ athleticism will allow him to shake off the ring rust much easier.
Hughes will have no problem taking Serra down to the ground, and will neutralize Serra’s Jiu Jitsu much like he neutralized the Jiu Jitsu of Serra’s mentor, Royce Gracie.
Matt Serra will beat Matt Hughes
Serra predicted that Matt Hughes’ ego will be his downfall, and this Saturday will prove that prediction true. Georges St. Pierre took Serra lightly before their first bout, and the result was an early knockout in Serra’s favor.
Hughes will fall into a similar trap, and will gaze up at the lights with a stunned look as the fighter that he proclaimed is not even a top 20 welterweight celebrates.
At this stage in his career, Hughes’ wrestling abilities are significantly overrated, and Serra will have no problem warding off takedown attempts.
If the fight does stay standing, Serra will have the significant striking advantage, and the fight will end by knockout. If the fight goes to the ground, Serra will use his superior Jiu Jitsu to catch Hughes, who will only be looking to lay on him, in a submission.
Most importantly, Serra is coming into this fight in the best shape of his career. The extended layoff has given him time to get healthy, and he has prepared for the fight like never before.
Serra has not even touched a slice of pizza or pasta in the last three months, and to hear him tell it, someone is going to have to pay for him not getting any sauce. That someone will be Matt Hughes.
Cameron Gidari is the Associate Editor at MMAMadness. When he is not busy playing UFC Undisputed, he responds to reader comments and questions. He can be reached at email@example.com