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UFC 123 was all about redemption. The fighters in the main event and in the co-main event have all been champions but they are all fighting to get back to the top. This event, UFC 123, was an opportunity for Quinton Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, BJ Penn, and Matt Hughes to prove to the MMA world that they are still relevant, that they can still win.
Quinton Rampage Jackson vs. Lyoto Machida
In the main event, Machida started by throwing a few kicks. However, as is usually expected in a Machida fight, the first round was mainly uneventful. For the majority of the round, Jackson stalked Machida or had him pinned against the fence. Jackson threw punches to get to the clinch and was able to catch Machida on the way out.
Again, the second round had a slow beginning, but Rampage was able to take Machida down. Jackson did not completely establish position and Machida was able to get back up. Machida connected with jumping knees to Jackson’s mid section. However, Jackson was able to connect with his hands. At the end of the round, Jackson fell to the mat, but it was only a slip.
In the third round, Machida was finally able to catch Jackson with a chingaso and stunned him. He kept throwing punches as he backed down Jackson. Jackson fired back and caught Machida with a couple of chingasos of his own. Machida had enough of the exchange, clinched with Jackson, and got the takedown. As the two fighters were on the ground, Machida worked for a kimura from half guard. He did not get it, but he was able to pass and ended up in the mount. It took work, but Jackson was able to escape the mount. The two men ended up on the ground again and Machida went for an armbar. In a move reminiscent of his days in Pride, Jackson started to pick up Machida. Not wanting to end up being slammed, Machida let go.
Jackson won a split decision.
Matt Hughes vs BJ Penn
This was a quick one. Penn threw a straight right, put Hughes on the mat, and finished with chingasos on the ground.
Penn won by TKO.
Gerald Harris vs. Maiquel Falcao
These two had an extended feeling out process. Finally, Falcao attacked and put Harris on the mat. Falcao went for a rear naked choke to end the round, but Harris was able to defend. The second round looked a lot like the first with Falcao putting Harris on the mat, taking his back, working for the submission, and Harris being able to escape. The final round was one of the worst in UFC history with neither fighter doing anything.
Falcao won the unanimous decision.
Phil Davis vs. Tim Boetsch
Both men came out slowly, feeling each other out. However, Davis clearly had the better wrestling. He was able to get takedowns and control Boetsch against the fence whenever he wanted. In the second round, Davis had Boetsch pinned against the fence before finally taking him down. Davis finished the fight with a one-arm kimura.
Davis won by decision.
George Sotiropoulos vs. Joe Lauzon
These two fighters did not disappoint with their opening exchanges, as both men came out throwing chingasos. Sotiropoulos was clearly the superior grappler, however. Lauzon was looking to sprawl and brawl while Sotiropoulos just wanted to get the fight to the ground. Lauzon was able to sprawl and stuff many of the takedown attempts. He was also able to escape the submission attempts by Sotiropoulos. However, Lauzon finally had to tap to a kimura.
Sotiropoulos won by submission.
Matt Brown vs. Brian Foster
These two men came out to put on a show. They both threw chingasos and both had submission attempts. Brown got a tight armbar on Foster, but Foster was able to escape. Foster caught Brown with a guillotine. Brown was not able to escape and had to tap out.
Foster won by submission.
Aaron Simpson vs. Mark Muñoz
As often happens when two wrestlers fight each other, both men came out throwing chingasos. Simpson started out strong, coming after Muñoz and was the aggressor throughout round one. However, Muñoz did get the better of the exchanges throughout the fight. Muñoz threw leg kicks that Simpson would catch, but they were landing, nonetheless. The fighters bumped heads, but it was Muñoz that was cut in the forehead. Muñoz caught Simpson with a head kick and an elbow, and he was also able catch Simpson with some ground and pound.
Muñoz won the decision.
Karo Parisyan vs. Dennis Hallman
Parisyan clinched up with Hallman and drove him against the fence. The action stalled and the referee broke it up. Hallman threw a right hand chingaso that put Parisyan on the mat. Hallman followed Parisyan to the ground and threw hammer fists until the referee stopped the fight.
Hallman won by TKO.
Edson Barboza vs. Mike Lullo
Barboza got leg strike after leg strike in this fight. Lullo did not check the kicks and they began to take their toll. In the third round, Lullo crumpled to the ground again after a leg strike from Barboza. The referee stopped the fight.
Barboza won by TKO.
Paul Kelly vs. TJ O'Brien
Kelly won by TKO.
Tyson Griffin vs. Nik Lentz
Lentz won by split decision.
For the casual MMA fan, UFC 122 pretty much flew under the radar, mostly due to the lackluster fight card. Fortunately for all MMA fans, UFC 123 comes back strong with a top-notch card that is headlined by Quinton "Rampage" Jackson facing off against Lyoto Machida and the rubber match of the BJ Penn vs. Matt Hughes trilogy.
While Rampage, Machida, BJ Penn and Matt Hughes are the big names on the UFC 123 fight card, I am looking forward to seeing whether Mark Munoz will continue his rise in the 185 lbs division and seeing how Karo Parisyan will do in his return to the UFC.
Check out the UFC 123 main event preview video:
What will happen when these two former champs trade chingasos?