UFC 98 takes place this Saturday, May 23rd, in the MGM Grand Garden Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card includes a main event of undefeated young stars Rashad Evans against karate ace Lyoto Machida. In the co-main event, arch rivals and former UFC Welterweight champs Matt Hughes and Matt Serra will square off.
Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida- This fight is for the light heavyweight championship. Current 205 pound champ Rashad Evans won the belt over Forrest Griffin by pounding out Forrest for a third round TKO. Rashad, a former Michigan State wrestler will likely try to close the distance with Lyoto to utilize his wrestling base. On the other hand, "Sugar" Rashad may try to slug it out with Machida.
Rashad (16-0-1, 8-0-1 UFC) was the Ultimate Fighter season 2 Heavyweight champion. Rashad needed to win four times for the TUF 2 title, defeating Tom Murphy, Mike Whitehead and Keith Jardine before beating Brad Imes in a slugfest. In UFC competition, Rashad owns KO wins over Chuck Liddell, Jason Lambert and Sean Salmon. Rashad has decision victories over Micheal Bisping and Sam Hoger.
(Rashad Evans pictured above)
Lyoto Machida (14-0, 6-0 UFC) is a karate based fighter that has also excelled in sumo and Brazilian jiu jitsu. He reportedly earned his Shotokan Karate black belt at age 13 and recently got a back belt in BJJ. The elusive fighter is able to keep distance and counter punch very effectively. He will look to counter Rashad's takedowns and get Rashad moving forward. Before entering the UFC, Machida defeated Rich Franklin, Michael McDonald and BJ Penn. In the UFC he has defeated Thiago Silva,Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Tito Ortiz.
(Lyoto Machida pictured above)
Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra- This fight pits TUF 6 coaches and rivals Matt Hughes against Matt Serra. Matt Hughes is widely regarded as one of the best 170 pounders of all time, defeating some of the best in the game. Matt Serra is more known for his grappling credentials, but his defining moment was a knock out of Georges St. Pierre. Both fighters have real distain for one another, that built during TUF 4 and continued to TUF 6.
Matt Hughes (42-7, 15-5 UFC) used his wrestling base from Eastern Illinois University to transfer to mixed martial arts. He began his career fighting in small shows in Iowa before being asked to fight at UFC 22. After a decision victory against Valeri Ignatov, Hughes continued to hone his craft in smaller shows running up big winning streaks. Hughes has career victories over Joe Doerkson, Hayato Sakurai, Sean Sherk, Dave Menne, Akhiro Gono, Frank Trigg and Royce Gracie. He also has a split with BJ Penn and won once over Georges St. Pierre.
(Matt Hughes pictured)
Matt Serra (9-5, 6-5 UFC) is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Renzo Gracie. He used his talents to place second in the ADCC and 1st in the 1999 Pan Am Games. Getting in the UFC, he notched early victories over Yves Edwards, Jeff Curran and Ivan Menjivar. After losing to Karo Parisyan, Serra took a spot on TUF 4 Comeback. Serra was able to beat Pete Spratt and avenge a loss to Shonie Carter before defeating Chris Lytle in the finals. From there, Serra would defeat Georges St. Pierre in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. Since then, he lost a rematch to St. Pierre and dealt with injuries.
(Matt Serra pictured)
Xavier Foupa-Pokam vs. Drew McFedries- This slugfest will likely end before the end of the first round. The loser will likely be cut from the UFC. Professor X (20-10, 0-1 UFC) will have to use his kickboxing skills to maintain distance on McFedries and pick him apart. McFedries (7-5, 3-4 UFC) will have to close the distance, get in the clinch and land power shots.
Dan Miller vs. Chael Sonnen- Former 185 pound IFL champ Dan Miller (11-1, 3-0 UFC) will take on pseudo 185 pound WEC champ Chael Sonnen (21-10, 1-3 UFC). Both fighters are excellent wrestlers, but the edge in the submission game goes to Miller. Look for Sonnen to get the fight to the ground, and Miller to look for a submission. Miller has UFC victories against Jake Rosholt, Rob Kimmons and Matt Horwich.
Frank Edgar vs. Sean Sherk- This fight puts two excellent wrestlers against each other. However, the edge in the strength game probably goes to Sean Sherk (33-3, 7-3 UFC), who is notorious for crazy workouts. Sherk is a one time 155 pound champ in the UFC, holding victories against Kenny Florian, Nick Diaz, Hermes Franca and Benji Radach. Frank Edgar (9-1, 4-1 UFC) is a non-stop energy fighter who holds victories over Tyson Griffin, Spencer Fisher and Hermes Franca.
Brock Larson vs. Chris Wilson
Pat Barry vs. Tim Hague
Kyle Bradley vs. Phillipe Nover
Andre Gusmao vs. Krzysztof Soszynski
Brandon Wolff vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida
David Kaplan vs. George Roop