What To Expect at UFC 123
UFC fans will be treated an action-packed card full of intriguing fights. The main event will see two former light-heavyweight champions, Lyoto Machida and Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, square off and look to bounce back into the 205lb tile picture. The co-main event will see BJ Penn and Mat Hughes collide in a profliic bout to end their trilogy, and it will certainly answer a lot of questions about the future of both competitors.
In a lightweight bout, submission artists Georges Sotiropolous and Joe Lauzon will meet, with the winner likely receiving more competitive fights. While middleweight Gerald Harris and light-heavyweight Phil Davis will look to earn a win within their respective divisions.
Here are some things to expect at UFC 123.
Be Ready To Feel the Heat
Karo 'The Heat' Parisyan will make his return inside the Octagon, after being cut by UFC last year for testing positive for a banned substance. Parisyan will square off against grappling veteran Dennis Hallman.
Holding a professional record of 19-5-1, Parisyan uses his renowned Judo background effectively while on the offense and initiating a takedown. The Armenian-born fighter will look to make a statement in his return this weekend.
Parisyan's well-balanced offense, along with his superior grappling skills should frustrate Hallman en route to a victory.
Fighting for Octagon Supremacy
Middleweight Gerald Harris and light-heavyweight Phil Davis have been impressive in their previous bouts, to say the least.
Harris is coming off a highlight reel knockout after he delivered a brutal slam on Dave Branch at UFC 116. The former Ultimate Fighter cast member has shown promise so far, finishing all of his opponents by KO or TKO stoppage while remaining undefeated inside the Octagon. Look for Harris to continue his dominance in the middleweight division as he squares off against newcomer Maiquel Falaco.
Phil Davis has also been on a promising run in the UFC and is one the young, exciting prospects in the light-heavyweight division. Davis, who is also undefeated, has registered four wins inside the Octagon. The four time All-American division 1 wrestler only continues to improve every time he enters the cage and he will look to impose his well-rounded offense against veteran Tim Boetsch.
Expect both fighters to be nothing short of dominant in their respective bouts.
A Submission Clinic
Two lightweight competitors will battle in a highly competitive bout, that should see it's fair share of time contested on the ground.
George Sotiropolous is an experienced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter, holding majority of his victories by submission. The Austrailian is unbeaten in his last seven bouts and a win would put him in the mix for a title shot.
Joe Lauzon is also an accomplished BJJ fighter, holding a majority of his victories by submission as well. Lauzon has proved that he can grapple with some the best fighters in his division, picking up wins over Jeremy Stephens and Gabe Ruediuger.
Expect this bout to be a canidate to earn Fight of the Night honours or Submission of the Night honours.
Settling the Score
Two legends will look to put their rivalry to rest, as BJ Penn and Matt Hughes square off for a third and final time.
Since their second encounter last occurred four years ago, both competitors have taken different paths en route to their third meeting.
While dominating the lightweight division for quite some time, BJ Penn has not looked to be himself recently. Not only did he lose his title to a younger, faster challenger in Frankie Edgar but he lost in a rematch to Edgar at UFC 117, failing to recapture the Lightweight crown.
Matt Hughes has seemed to revitalize his career after coming up short against opponents Georges St-Pierre and Thiago Alves. He has improved his weaknesses and become rededicated to MMA and has looked to be much more well-rounded, as he has earned three consecutive victories over Matt Serra, Renzo Gracie and Ricardo Almeida. A fourth win in a row, and a second win over Penn, would undoubtedly put Hughes into a title contention bout.
While this fight is not the main event, it is more compelling to hardcore MMA fans and it will certainly determine the future of both Penn and Hughes.
A Shot at Redemption.
Lyoto Machida and Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson are two competitors set to meet in a high profile main event, with both men looking to ascend back into the UFC Light-Heavyweight title picture.
Since suffering the first loss and first knockout of his career, Lyoto Machida is determined to put the past behind him and concentrate on his upcoming fight. The elusive and technical counter striker, is extremely well-rounded and is frustrating for any opponent who has to deal with his unorthodox style. While MMA critics and fans are questioning whether or not he can recover from a knockout, it is certain he'll look to exploit his opponent's flaws and stay true to his gameplan to earn a victory.
While fans question Machida's mentality, other fans are questioning whether Rampage Jackson has the heart to compete in MMA any longer. The former Light-Heavyweight Champion lost a one-sided fight to Rashad Evans at UFC 114, disappointing many fans. Prior to his anticipated bout with Evans, Jackson portrayed the role of B.A Baracus in the action film "The A- Team." Following the loss Jackson stated that there many distractions around him, which prevented him from performing in form that night.
Despite the loss, Jackson will get his chance to fight Lyoto Machida, a match up that many fans see him at a huge disadvantage stylistically.
However once the cage door closes, the time for talking and questioning will be over and it will be time to fight, inching the winner closer to a title shot.