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Trading Punches: UFC 104 Main Card Preview & Predictions is back to break down the main card of UFC 104 via verbally sparring session between 5 Oz. managing editor Cory Brady and fellow loyal 5 Oz’er David Andrest.

UFC 104 is set to go down this Saturday evening from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California..

Set to feature a headlining light heavyweight title fight between champion Lyoto Machida and challenger Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, also set for action will be Cain Velasquez, Josh Neer, Spencer Fisher, Joe Stevenson, Anthony Johnson and others.

As always feel free to agree or disagree with either of us in the comments section below, and please post your very own set of picks so they can either be voted up or down by the people: You guys.

Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

Cory Brady: While logic may tell me one thing in this match-up, my gut tells me another.

Lyoto is the least hit fighter in the history of the UFC, and very well may be the most difficult riddle to solve in mixed martial arts, but in my estimation he is ripe for a loss. Not just to anyone, but to the most complete mixed martial artist he has faced to date. Definitely the most complete fighter he has faced of the same size.

You’re not going to beat Machida with one facet of the game. We’ve seen what happens when Lyoto’s opponents employ a one dimensional approach, such as relying on standing up or trying to drag “The Dragon” to the ground, and it’s not pretty. The only way to beat a fighter as tactical as Machida is to be well rounded and dangerous enough in all areas to constantly keep him guessing.

Shogun is that guy. The combination of a slick submission arsenal, underestimated takedowns, and a punishing stand up and clinch game make Mauricio much more of a threat than his is commonly given credit for.

If Machida wins this fight I feel like it will most likely be by decision. Shogun has never been knocked out and he has been punched in the face by some of the best of them. The odds of Lyoto pulling off a submission on Rua are also just as unlikely.

I expect the best Shogun we’ve ever seen to show up at UFC 104, and in my own personal opinion, when the best Shogun shows up to fight, nobody can beat him at 205 pounds. Mauricio is one of the most naturally gifted fighters that has ever stepped foot into the sport, the time is now for him to finally recognize his full potential.

Winner: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via TKO

David Andrest: I have little to add to that masterpeice Cory, however the only thing I can say is YOU ARE WRONG.  It pains me to type it, as I am a big fan of  Rua and the memory of his aggressive style, and great finishing percentage.  Machida wins this fight, he is at the top of his game, and I can not pick against him with a straight face.   Answer this for me, when is the last time you saw Machida in trouble?  ………..don’t worry I’ll wait.

Winner:  Machida UD

Cain Velasquez vs. Ben Rothwell

Velasquez is a far cry from the poor fat kid that Big Ben put a merciless beatdown on early in is career.

Rothwell has never beaten anyone that tells me he can handle a fighter such as Cain Velasquez. On the other side of that coin, I feel like Velasquez has in Cheick Kongo, a stand-up fighter much like Andrei Arlovski, only with a better chin.

Velasquez has been active and successful against top notch competition while Rothwell hasn’t. This is going to be one of the deciding factors in this bout. There’s no known cure for ring rust, and I expect for Big Ben to have a bad case coming off of a win over Chris Guillen nearly a year ago.

I expect for this fight to be a carbon copy of the Velasquez vs. Kongo bout, without Cain being rocked.

Winner: Cain Velasquez via unanimous decision

David Andrest: You know what the difference between Cain and the poor fat kid that Big Ben put a merciless beatdown on early in is career?  The kid had more power behind his punches.  I am painfully aware of the Velasquez hype train that rolls past my window every 5 minutes as this event draws closer.  Hype based on what?  Potential?  A win over Kongo?   you have got to be kidding me.  I’m not saying Velasquez isn’t talented, and a great wrestler, and a blue chip prospect with a ton of upside.  I think people are overlooking Rothwell a bit, as well as over hyping Velasquez buy a tremdous amount.   I’ve seen it everywhere, you can’t surf the MMA internet and not see someone crowing Velasquez the next challenger.   Rothwell is the toughest, and most experienced guy Velasquez has ever fought.  I’ve seen Rothwell KO  people, submit people and finish fights.  Other people seem to forget that.   I’m not prepared to purchase my ticket aboard the Cain Velasquez hype train at this time.

Winner: Rothwell  TKO

Josh Neer vs. Gleison Tibau

I’m a huge fan of Josh Neer’s because the guy brings it every single time, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that seeing two guys coming off of losses on the main card didn’t seem a little bit odd. This bout makes more sense on a Fight Night card, or the undercard, but either way it should be exciting. Neer usually guarantees that.

These lightweights are just getting so good and well rounded that it’s hard for me to see this one going any other way than the distance. This should be a hard fought battle with transitions and exchanges a’plenty. In the end I see The Dentist’s grit and durability being the deciding factor in what should be a 155 pound scrap to remember.

Winner: Josh Neer via decision

David Andrest: “grit”  That is a perfect word to describe Josh Neer.  Entertaining every single time. This fight should be exciting while it lasts with an equal part stand up, ground work and scrambles.  I like Tibau as a fighter, but I think Neer is going to preform and on air extraction and end this fight.

Winner: Josh Neer  TKO

Spencer Fisher vs. Joe Stevenson

The winner of this bout could very well be just a fight or two away from a title shot. Fisher is coming off of three wins over the likes of Jeremy Stephens, Shannon Gugerty and Caol Uno, while Joe Daddy is fresh off of his impressive decision victory over Nate Diaz on June 20. Either way you slice it, one fighter moves on and the other is suspended in motion.

This fight has a ton of potential to end up as the “Fight of the Night”. Both guys are well rounded in all areas, with a slight advantage going to Fisher on the feet and a minor edge going to Stevenson on the ground.

I don’t think Stevenson is going to have as huge a wrestling advantage over Fisher as he had over Diaz recently. I’d go as far as to say that I expect Fisher to be capable enough to keep the fight on the feet for the most part.

If you’re a betting man, stay away from this one, it’s either man’s fight.

Winner: Spencer Fisher via decision

David Andrest: Spencer Fisher vs. Joe Daddy I’m really looking foward to this fight. My vote would be to send the loser to Japan to smash Aoki, but I digress.  This is a classic fight that should be very entertaining, but very predictable.  Stevenson spent a bit of time at Jackson’s preparing for this fight, and I belive is a much better figher on the floor.  I’m going to pick Stevenson, based on that, with the understanding that if Stevenson for some unknown reason decides to test his stand up against Fisher all bets are off.

Winner:  Joe Stevenson  choke

Anthony Johnson vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

The only way Yoshida wins this fight is on the ground via some type of choke or joint lock. It’s not going there though. Johnson is absolutely massive and powerful for 170 pounds. He’s also the much more explosive and technical striker.

This fight plays out a lot like Yoshida’s bout with Josh Koscheck. Johnson will utilize his superior wrestling game to keep the fight upright on the way to another vicious highlight reel knockout.

I’m a huge fan of watching “Rumble” in action. Looking forward to this one.

Winner: Anthony Johnson via knockout

David Andrest: Cory you have nailed it,  this will be another fight to make the case for  Johnson being a true contender at 170.   Yoshida could be dangerous on the ground, if  Johnson somehow forgets his roots  in wrestling.  I like Yoshida and will always appreciate the entertaing  choke he put on War Machine.  Yoshida is a good 170, however  good isn’t going to be enough to stop Rumble.

Winner: Anthony Johnson  via TKO

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