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UFC 123 Reaction: Rampage, Machida deliver despite decision; Penn drills Hughes

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The UFC's return to Detroit was, well, interesting.

In the main event, Quinton Jackson knocked off Lyoto Machida by split decision in a fight that has a lot of people scratching their heads, even Jackson.

Although the fight was close enough to go either way, many, myself included, scored the fight for Machida.

Regardless of how you scored the fight, it was an extremely intriguing fight for all 15 minutes, especially in the third round when Machida flurried and sent Rampage into the cage. After getting a takedown and moving into mount, Machida made an interesting decision to try for an armbar instead of trying to rain down punches and elbows. Machida couldn't covert and Rampage went to go for one of his signature slams but Machida smartly bailed on the move.

This fight was as billed: Power vs. technique. And it certainly delivered for a main event fight.

What's best for the UFC is that the disputed decision and how the fight went down leaves both fighters coming out of this fight in good shape, despite Machida taking his second straight loss.

In the co-main event of the evening, B.J. Penn absolutely destroyed UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes, cranking him with a right and then immediately finishing him on the ground in 21 seconds.

Although the fight only lasted 21 seconds, Hughes throwing a body kick after Penn came out aggressive and blitzed him was one of the biggest head scratchers of the night (and now a source of comedy).

This was an aggression from Penn that we didn't see when he fought Frankie Edgar twice. This was a Penn he needs to be, especially as he now is scheduled to fight Jon Fitch in February. 

As for Hughes, you have to wonder where his career goes from here. As a competitor, I don't think Hughes will let himself go out like that, but once again, we have to wonder at what level he can be competitive at anymore.

Overall, UFC 123 was a fun show that provided some good action from start to finish. A very solid return for the UFC to the Motor City.

SBN coverage of UFC 123: Jackson vs. Machida