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MMA Fastball: Hughes wins grudge match; Serra gains respect

Matt Hughes wins the grudge match; Serra gains respect: Matt Hughes, for whatever reason, never came across as an easy guy to get along with on the TUF shows he appeared on. Could it be because he's not an easy guy to get along with? Of course. Then again, reality television is only the glimpse into a person's life that the producers want to give you.

On the other hand, during Matt Serra's first appearance on TUF (TUF 4) he came off great. He seemed like an easy guy to get along with and a great friend. What's more, he proved to be a hard working leader. And, of course, he won the show and achieved his now famous knockout victory over Georges St. Pierre as a result. However, during his second appearance as a coach on TUF 6 he seemed perhaps too happy to make fun of Hughes, noting his dislike of him at every turn. That said, he still put in a great coaching job and got along with just about everyone else, save Hughes.

In the end, Hughes won their UFC 98 encounter; so one could say that he won the grudge match. Further, the two seemed to bury the hatchet, to an extent, after their fight. That said, Serra fought well enough to earn a significant amount of respect. Said another way, Hughes really didn't seem to believe that Serra was a worthy opponent before their fight. Afterwards, guess is, he felt differently.

Are we entering the era of Lyoto Machida?: Everyone's saying it, but is it true? Are we entering the time of Lyoto Machida, or is it just that we're all still excited from his dominating victory over Rashad Evans?

The former. In the end, Machida poses problems that no other light heavyweight in the game today does. He's technically better than everyone on their feet, and no one has training partners that can mimic his style. He has great takedown defense, better than average takedowns, and better than advertised submission skills.

Could he lose his next fight to Rampage? Of course. Will he? Let's put it this way: Who is Rampage going to bring in that will get him ready for Machida's style? A tall order for sure.

Gegard Mousasi is as underrated as underrated gets: Mousasi just defeated heavyweight Mark Hunt, after fighting in the 185 pound division (and winning the DREAM Grand Prix at that weight class). Before everyone starts putting Hunt down as a fighter, it might seem important to remember that he gave Wanderlei Silva all he could handle many years ago. The bottom line is that Mousasi is underrated in America only because he doesn't fight in the UFC. It would be great to see him take on some of the best the UFC has to offer. Guess is that he would perform quite well.

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett at Affliction 3: Fedor has now gone on record to say that he and Barnett have agreed to fight in August at Affliction 3. The bottom line is that if this didn't happen, what worthy opponent was truly left for Fedor (that's not fighting in the UFC)? Barnett is it, hands down.

He's the only guy with a worthy resume that hasn't already lost to him.

Huge win for Frank Edgar: For some reason, Sean Sherk had simply fallen out of the UFC lightweight conversation. Sure, he lost to BJ Penn and yes, he tested positive for banned substances. That said, the guy is a great athlete that fights with a lot of heart. So even if it didn't make headline news, when Edgar beat him at UFC 98 he took a big step up. That UFC lightweight division is something to behold.

Speaking of Sean Sherk, what happened to the takedowns?: Coming into his UFC 98 encounter against Edgar, Sherk seemed to have a strength advantage. With that amazing cardio of his, you would've thought that he would've attempted more takedowns, particularly when it became clear that his adversary's footwork and global stand up skills were better. In fact, Sherk has been more and more willing these days to stand and trade (see the Penn and Griffin fights).

Perhaps he should've looked to implement some of his patented ground and pound at UFC 98.

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic back in the UFC: It hasn't yet been officially announced by the UFC, but Cro Cop has indicated that he will be mixing it up with Mustapha Al Turk at UFC 99. Cro Cop hasn't looked like his old self recently. In fact, he hasn't looked anywhere near his old self. But anyone that remembers what he used to do to opponents back in PRIDE has to be kind of psyched. If he could somehow recapture that magic, it would be a whole lot of fun to watch, wouldn't it?

There's nothing like a bunch of high kick knockouts for a highlight reel.

Dan Hardy vs. Marcus Davis could be that sleeper fight to watch: Hardy is a tough guy. Davis is a tough guy. And both of them like to strike and have a bone to pick with one another. This could be the UFC 99 encounter that everyone is talking about afterwards, when it's all said and done.

Strikeforce just keeps doing it with Andrei Arlovski vs. Brett Rogers: Okay, it's pretty obvious that Arlovski has a way better MMA resume than Rogers. That said, Rogers is an undefeated up and comer with a lot of size and power and a willingness to bang it out on his feet. Said another way, it's an interesting matchup, which is something that Strikeforce specializes in.

Someone will almost assuredly be knocked out in this one.

Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin is one of the smartest matchups the UFC has put together: The UFC always does a great job matching fighters up. Still, Anderson Silva's most recent fights have registered pretty low on the excitement scale. Enter opponent Forrest Griffin, a man that has never engaged in a boring fight. No matter how this one goes down, it's sure to generate significant interest and be worth the price of admission. There is just no way it's boring, no matter how long it lasts.