All of us are itching to bet on UFC 123 where Lyoto Machida will look to step back up the pedestal in the light heavyweight division when he goes after a win against Rampage Jackson this weekend.
The biggest question mark about Lyoto Machida is what he’s learned after losing back-to-back meetings with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Has he learned to step out of the action like he used to? Can he rely on his karate and elusiveness after getting caught on the chin by Rua? Is he still smart enough to be one of the most cerebral fighters in the UFC?
When you discuss Rampage Jackson, you’re talking about the least cerebral fighter in the light heavyweight division. Talent, skill, power and a brazen attitude make him a great draw, but he oversteps himself in a lot of fights as well. He grows impatient and frustrated and can be taken out of fights mentally by smart, elusive fighters. Like Machida, Rampage is also coming off a loss making any bet on UFC 123 a tough call.
The fight lines here make stomaching this fight a bit easier. Jackson is being pegged as a +200 underdog, which reflects how low he’s fallen in the eyes of the oddsmakers. You can’t dog him for wanting to cash in on a blockbuster movie like The A-Team, especially when he was actually pretty good on the big screen. But his mental focus shifted away from the UFC and fighting in general, and he’s struggled to recapture it.
Chris Strait predicts that Machida will frustrate Jackson early on and take a decisive lead in the points, but he makes a daring call to bet on UFC 123’s underdog in the main event because he thinks Machida will step in to one of Jackson’s heavy hands in the third round.
It’s hard to argue with that fact aside from one major point – Machida knows his biggest mistake in his championship bout with Rua was going after him. He won’t make the same mistake again, especially if The Dragon is leading on the scorecards.
I can’t get over one sterling nugget when it comes to Jackson. While he enters the fight looking like the last guy you’d want to run in to in a dark alley, he checks out of fights mentally. That’s why I can’t encourage a puncher’s chance bet on UFC 123’s main event. I’ve already got Machida as a decision winner.
Elsewhere on the card, Matt Hughes fights B.J. Penn and Australian standout George Sotiropoulos tries to continues his momentum against Joe Lauzon.
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