UFC 123 caps off a pretty hectic two weeks of fighting for Zuffa. Between WEC 52, UFC 122 in Germany and UFC 123 tomorrow night, Zuffa has put on three high caliber events in only ten days — pretty impressive. Although it's another non-title card, this is without a doubt the best of the three. Let's try to gauge how these fights may pan out.
It should be interesting to see how these two elite grapplers decided to go about things on Saturday night. These aren't wrestlers, these are grapplers. Wrestlers will usually concede to keep it standing, but we'll have to see how this fight goes. Lauzon is going to have a hard time staying competitive with Sotiropoulos if he tries to roll with him. He's not fighting Gabe Ruediger here. After seeing how George was able to handle Joe Stevenson and how Lauzon struggled with Kenny Florian, I have to give the edge to Sotiropoulos.
I like Boetsch but it's easy to see why he is such an overwhelming underdog in this fight. Tim went a spotty 2-2 in the UFC from 2008-09, but those two wins are against guys no longer fighting for the promotion. His three losses during that time — one being to Vladimir Matyushenko before being signed by the UFC — were all against better wrestlers. Davis is more of the same. The Phil Davis hype train rolls on through Detroit.
Gerald Harris vs. Maiquel Falcão
This fight is Harris' to lose. Falcao is an impressive striker — winning 84% of his 28 fights by T(KO) — and hasn't seen the third round since 2007. Harris will want to use his grappling to take this fight to the mat and grind on his opponent. If Harris can hang on his feet long enough to get some good takedowns, I see him possibly adding to his highlight reel slam of Dave Branch. I love strikers out of Chute Boxe, but I'm going with Gerald Harris on this one.
This fight is kind of a mystery to me. While B.J. Penn is the better fighter, he's a headcase. Hughes is always incredibly consistent, but getting up in age and — aside from Almeida — hasn't beaten a top ranked opponent since his rematch with Penn back in 2006. I've been burned by B.J. the last two times he's fought, so I'm going to be upset if he does it to me again. I'm going to with Penn because I'm hoping he was finally able to get it together for this fight, but that assumption is based on absolutely no empirical evidence.
I don't see Rampage Jackson winning this fight but I hope he at least got in shape. Jackson shouldn't do well trying to strike with Machida's 'in and out' style and it will be nearly impossible to land the KO punch. This is sort of the downside on relying on one punch. Machida will avoid Rampage's power like the plague, all while out-pointing Jackson throughout a three round decision. If Rampage starts chasing he's going to be caught by Machida's counter fighting. He also doesn't throw leg kicks which would help slow Machida's mobility. Basically, I see much more possibly going wrong for Quinton than Lyoto. I'm picking the Dragon.