“UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida” takes place Nov. 20 at the Palace at Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit. The evening’s main event sees former light heavyweight champions Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida clash, while the night’s co-feature sees MMA legends Matt Hughes and B.J. Penn clash for a third time.
Jackson (30-8 MMA, 5-2 UFC) looks to bounce back from a May loss to nemesis Rashad Evans at UFC 114. The contest was the culmination of 14 months worth of rivalry and a coaching gig on “The Ultimate Fighter” opposite Evans. Prior to the loss, Jackson had earned back-to-back victories over Keith Jardine and Wanderlei Silva.
Meanwhile, Machida (16-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) also looks to bounce back from a loss – the first defeat of his career. “The Dragon” was knocked out in the first round of his May rematch with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and relinquished his belt in the process. Prior to the defeat, Machida had earned eight-straight UFC wins and both claimed and once defended the UFC’s light heavyweight title.
Penn and Hughes, of course, have met twice before. Penn won the first meeting via submission at UFC 46, but Hughes got his revenge at UFC 63 and scored a third-round TKO. Hughes lost his long-held welterweight belt for the first time with the UFC 46 loss. Prior to UFC 63, he reclaimed the title with a win over Georges St-Pierre and successfully defended it with the Penn victory.
Hughes (45-7 MMA, 18-5 UFC), who was once on the verge of retirement in recent years, has found new life in the UFC’s loaded welterweight division. After a 1-3 skid that saw him lose his belt, the recent UFC Hall of Fame inductee has rebounded with consecutive wins over Matt Serra, Renzo Gracie and Ricardo Almeida.
Penn (15-7-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) , meanwhile, looks to gain some traction at 170 pounds following his quick descent at lightweight. Once the world’s universal No. 1 ranked 155-pounder, Penn lost his belt to Frankie Edgar at UFC 112 and then suffered another decision loss to “The Answer” at UFC 118 in an August rematch. Perhaps surprisingly, Penn hasn’t fared well at 170 pounds and owns a career 1-3 mark in the division.