I keep hearing a lot of odd predictions for Rampage and Machida in the last 48 hours. It seems like fans and pundits don't really watch or analyze fights as much as they claim to. Or maybe they just have concrete stereotypes of the fighters as we would like them to be, and not as they truly are.
"Machida can't knock him out."
Rashad rocked Jackson pretty hard in the first round of their fight and Machida hits with much more lethality and precision than Sugar.
Why would the Dragon have any problem scoring a power shot on Rampage and putting him out? But apparently nobody in the MMA world thinks it's possible.
"Rampage has one punch KO power."
Rampage couldn't finish Rashad with one punch, or even land that many to begin with. If you look at the history of Rampage's KO's there is a story to be told there. Wanderlei had just came off a succession of brutal knockouts. Chuck Liddells chin hadn't really been tested until Rampage fought him, and then everybody in the game was putting Chuck to sleep. Against fighters with well rounded game plans he rarely gets a knockout.
"Machida is boring and Rampage puts on a show."
People also seem to be forgetting that four of Rampage's last five fights have been decisions, two of which he has lost. It doesn't really flesh with the picture I keep seeing on the blogs and forums today. Rampage isn't really a brawler who is trying to please his fans with excitement anymore. His lack of development prevents it.
And then I see the exact opposite with Machida.
"Machida will only win on points."
If you look at Lyoto's last few fights he has knocked out two of his last 3 opponents.
Machida has actually gone against the trend of modern MMA in that he has stopped playing it safe. Lyoto's early career was all about winning on points. When he got to the UFC and decided it was time to please his fans and his boss he started pulling out more aggression while taking more risks.
This ultimately led him to lose to Shogun I believe, though the Shogun fights were an outlier and hard to gauge with the rest of his career. Just like Rampage's KO of Wanderlei is an outlier in his recent history.
I do believe Machida won the first fight, and just got caught in the second one. Shogun's natural ability and killer instinct are on another level than Jackson's right now, or at least against a man he fought for 25 minutes before hand. Cage time is king.
It is possible that Rampage could put Machida down with one punch. But there isn't any evidence in the last few years of fights from either man that would suggest this is the likely outcome, bar two anomalies from each fighter.
I think it's much more likely that Machida will KO Rampage before round 3.
Machida is still in his prime and only lost once, where Jackson has been on the decline since 2007.