UFC Light Heavyweight bout: Quinton Jackson vs. Lyoto Machida
Betting Pick: Lyoto Machida
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In the main event of the evening, two former Light Heavyweight champions, both coming off losses, will try to reinsert themselves into the title picture as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson faces Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida. Machida tasted defeat for the first time in his last fight, while “Rampage” saw his return to the ring spoiled by Rashad Evans. Both of these guys are still firmly at the top of the division, though, so all it would take is a win here to put either of them back in the title picture.
Rampage, who became a star in Japan’s PRIDE organization and later captured the UFC Light Heavyweight title by knocking out Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell, is a very dynamic fighter with great wrestling, great submission defense, a solid chin, and extremely heavy hands. While he tends to not use his offensive wrestling very much, he is very good in the clinch and nearly impossible to take down. Usually, he prefers to stand and let his hands go, something he does to very great effect. He has a ton of punching power, and his accuracy and handspeed are pretty good too. Still, to survive against a striker of Machida’s caliber, he is going to want to score some takedowns and control range with the clinch as much as possible.
Machida is definitely one of the premier strikers in the world. Although he was knocked out in his last fight by Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, there is no denying the effectiveness of Machida’s kickboxing or how difficult he is to hit. To go with his striking he has a very underrated submission game. That said, on the ground underneath Rampage is not where he wants this fight to take place. As always, he would rather turn this into a technical kickboxing match where he can backpedal and counterpunch until he finds an opening.
This is going to be a hard fought match, because Machida is hard to get a hold of and Rampage is hard to put away. Rampage is the more versatile fighter, but Machida’s style is frustrating and Rampage showed he can be taken off his game in the Rashad fight. I think Machida should take this one with superior footwork, movement, and hand speed. Machida by decision.
Prediction: Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida via Unanimous Decision.
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