UFC 104 Predictions
By: Rich Burmaster
Lyoto Machida (15-0) VS Mauricio â€œShogunâ€ Rua (18-3)
Lyoto Machida is a boring fighter, at least that had been the general feeling about him for the better part of the last two years. Â But as UFC 104 approaches, it seem thatâ€™s no longer the feeling regarding â€œThe Dragonâ€. Â After his latest highlight KO of Rashard Evans, and before that with his destruction of Thiago Silva, Machida can now be regarded as an elite striker in the UFC.Â His mixture of Shotokan karate, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Sumo, Muay Thai, and wrestling, combined with his brand of Machida karate, has proven to be a very powerful and defensive fighting style that very well may rule the MMA world for quite some time. He is extremely hard to hit, he almost never misses and has the power to KO his opponent at any given moment. Add to that his strong arsenal of trips and takedowns and you have a very formidable champion.
4 years ago Mauricio Shogun Rua was considered one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world. He was a 23 year old up and comer with a vicious fighting style.Â In a 5 month span he defeated 4 of the worldâ€™s top fighters (in succession);Quentin â€œRampageâ€ Jackson, AntÃ´nio RogÃ©rio Nogueira , Alistar Overeem , and Ricardo Arona, with Overeem and Arona both being defeated on the same night (a feat we no longer get to see with the Pride grand prix tournaments being shutdown). The only lose on his record from October 2003 until his defeat at the hands of Forrest Griffin was a TKO loss to Mark Coleman in 06 due to a broken arm when he fell wrong on a takedown attempt from Coleman. The Shogun we saw at UFC 97, where he turned Chuck Liddellâ€™s lights off with a big left, was the Shogun MMA fans had been wanting to see for a long time. He had been hampered by knee surgery and bad conditioning in his precious 2 fights in the UFC and it showed in two ugly fights with Griffin and a 3 round debacle with Mark Coleman.
Rua claims he has the key to unlocking the style of Lyoto. Of course Rashard Evans, Thiago Silva, and Tito Ortiz all said the same thing, only to be proven otherwise. In comparing the two, I really donâ€™t see Rua being better at any aspect of fighting versus Machida.Â Machida has more experience in the octagon and has shown he has the ability to make the cage as large as he wants; and so far, nobody has been able to cut him off and shorten it up.Â Rua has not looked overwhelming in the cage and without his foot stomps and soccer kicks, he doesnâ€™t seem as aggressive as he once was. I think we are going to see Rua try and push the pace, but Machida will defend and wait to counter with his big shots.
My prediction: Lyoto Machida TKO round 2
Ben Rothwell vs Cain Velasquez
Cain has the wrestling ability to shutdown most heavyweights, but he has shown to have a suspect chin. Against Cheick Kongo, he was rocked many times, but did show an ability to weather those shots and continue. Rothwell has the edge in striking and experience but will have a hard time with Cainâ€™s wrestling ability. Look for Cain to take this to the ground right away.
My Prediction: Cain by Decision
Josh Neer vs Gleison Tibau
Tibau is a huge Lightweight, and he has very good ground skills. Neer has an iron chin and loves to brawl. Look for Neer to try to get Tibau into a stand up war.
My Prediction: Tibau by submission in the 2nd
Joe Stevenson vs Spencer Fisher
Just a few months ago, Joe Stevenson was a top level lightweight, that is until a loss to Kenny Florian and then another loss to Diego Sanchez sent him tumbling down the rankings. Spencer Fisher is an unorthodox striker who loves to bang and has underrated ground skills. Hopefully Joe Daddy has learned from his mistakes and will throw something other than the jab/big right combo he has fallen in love with.
My Prediction: Stevenson Round 2 submission
Anthony Johnson vs Yoshiyuki Yoshida
Yoshida is a high level Judo player with great throws and decent hands. Anthony Johnson is a HUGE 170 lber with big power in both hands and very good speed
My Prediction: Anthony Johnson First Round KO
As far as the undercard on Spike goes, Iâ€™ll take Bader over Schafer and Hardonk over Barry in what could be fight of the night.
Other winners will be Sonnen, Rivera, Al-Hassan, and Gormely.
Iâ€™ll be Tweeting live during the fights, so follow along (http://www.twitter.com/thecagedoor) and tweet back; Iâ€™d love to hear your thoughts.Â Also, feel free to comment back and let me know what you think, and enjoy the fights; it should be a good card.