Hello again fans and friends and welcome to a new segment I’ll be calling “Crash Course”. “Crash Course” will be a quick synopsis of an upcoming major MMA card a few days before the card is set to air. It’ll contain a quick history on the big matches, why you should care, some other matches to look forward to, positives and negatives of the card as a whole, and a final recommendation on whether or not the show is worth a purchase. And what better way to start out this new series of columns than with UFC 123? Featuring two amazing Light Heavyweight talents mixing it up in the main event, here’s the inaugural “Crash Course”, highlighting UFC 123: “Rampage vs. Machida”.
The Event: UFC 123 “Rampage vs. Machida”, which airs live on Pay-Per-View Saturday, November 20 from the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Why You Should Care: The main event features two former UFC Light Heavyweight Champions, both of whom are very popular and have very powerful strikes. The co-main event also features two former UFC Welterweight Champions that are widely regarded as two of the best Mixed Martial Artists of all time, and they’ll be fighting each other for a third time.
What to Look Forward to in the Main Event: Quinton Jackson is known for his street-tough personality that bleeds into his fighting style. The man known as “Rampage” is heavy on the brawling and the striking, so he very rarely has a boring fight. Lyoto Machida is also a very versatile and cunning fighter, with very good counter-punching and sneaky one-hit KO power. If this becomes a brawl, look for someone to get viciously KO’d and for both men to add several moments to their highlight reel during the course of this bout.
What to Look Forward to in the Co-Main Event: Matt Hughes and BJ Penn have a long and historic rivalry. BJ Penn put an end to the long championship reign of Matt Hughes in their first fight, and in their second fight Hughes became the first man to ever finish BJ Penn (Hughes won by TKO, until that point Penn had only ever lost by decision). Both men are at a crossroads in their career: Hughes is fighting for a legacy while Penn is fighting to recapture his relevancy. These two always bring out the best in each other, and since they’re so good to begin with, this has all the makings of an incredible fight.
Why to Buy This Card: The main event and co-main event puts most other MMA cards to shame. Hughes/Penn 3 could headline its own card, having it as the co-main only sweetens the pot. Rampage vs. Machida is better than most championship matches.
Why Not to Buy This Card: Besides the co-main and main event, the rest of the card seems decidedly average, maybe even a bit underwhelming. Anything is possible when the Octagon closes, but on paper, the top two matches clearly anchor this show and everything else feels a little flat.
Closing Thoughts: Having two great fights doesn’t make your card a “super-card”, but it does make your event well worth watching. If you go in expecting greatness from Rampage/Machida and Hughes/Penn 3, I sincerely doubt you’ll be disappointed. If you go in expecting greatness from the start of the show until the show’s end, you may be a little bit disappointed. But, all in all, the strength of the two marquee matches easily propel this card into “definitely buy it” territory.
And that’s it, fans and friends! Look for more “Crash Courses” in the near future. Until then, please let me know: what do you think of this new series? What areas did you like or dislike, what would you add or subtract? Comments and opinions are welcome. Also, what’s your take on “Rampage vs. Machida”?