After five weeks off, the UFC is back on Saturday night with UFC 104, featuring a light heavyweight title fight between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. We've got a full preview and predictions below.
What: UFC 104: Machida vs. Shogun
When: The undercard starts at 7 PM ET Saturday, Spike TV will show an hour of fights beginning at 9 and the pay-per-view begins at 10.
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles
How: You can buy it for $44.95 on UFC.com or from your cable or satellite provider ($54.95 in HD), or you can just follow along with our live coverage here at FanHouse.
Predictions on the five pay-per-view fights:
Lyoto Machida vs. Shogun Rua
I'm a longtime Shogun fan, and I've been a little annoyed at the way so many UFC fans I hear from are dismissing him as not even a serious challenge to Machida, as if Shogun is just some bum who has no business in the Octagon with a world champion. I don't buy that at all. I think Shogun is a legitimate No. 1 contender and a legitimate threat, and I'm looking forward to this fight. Having said that, I've long believed Machida was the best light heavyweight in the world -- I had him No. 1 in my light heavyweight rankings even before he was the champion -- and I don't see him losing to anyone at 205 pounds. Pick: Machida.
Cain Velasquez vs. Ben Rothwell
This heavyweight fight is a way for the UFC to give some exposure to Velasquez, whom the promotion views as a potential future heavyweight champion. I actually think Rothwell -- who's bigger, better on his feet and much more experienced -- is going to give Velasquez a much tougher time than most people realize, but I do expect Velasquez to take Rothwell down and keep him there enough to come away with a close decision. Pick: Velasquez.
Gleison Tibau vs. Josh Neer
Both of these guys are very good on the ground, but I think Tibau will show that he's bigger, stronger and has better Brazilian jiu jitsu and submit Neer. Pick: Tibau.
Anthony Johnson vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida
Johnson is a great athlete and a great striker who, at age 25, could be a future welterweight champion of the world -- at least if he can stay at 170 pounds, a weight limit he has trouble making. Yoshida has better submission skills and could get Johnson into trouble on the ground, but I don't think he'll be able to get him there. Pick: Johnson.
Joe Stevenson vs. Spencer Fisher
Stevenson came back from a two-fight losing streak with a big win over Nate Diaz at the UFC Fight Night in June, but I like Fisher, who's on a three-fight winning streak, to keep this fight standing and beat Stevenson on his feet. Pick: Fisher.
We'll have full UFC 104 coverage on Saturday night, and you can follow all the action by following my UFC Twitter updates.