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UFC 104:

Take Five: Five things to know about UFC 104

A quick list of things to watch for in Los Angeles this weekend

UFC 104 Pre-Fight Press Conference

Justin M. Bowen

Mauricio Rua addresses the media during a UFC pre-fight press conference Thursday at the Westside Pavilion Mall in Los Angeles. Rua will fight Lyota Machida at the Staples Center.

Fireside Chat with Dana White: UFC 104

UFC President Dana White is known for sitting down with media members at every pre-fight press conference to answer any and all questions about his organization. In our second installment of Fireside Chat, White discusses everything from Dan Henderson's possible deal with Strikeforce to the lastest episode of the Ultimate Fighter to Chuck Liddell's appearance on Dancing with the Stars.

UFC 104 Pre-Fight Press Conference

UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida and challenger Mauricio Rua face-off during a pre-fight press conference Thursday at the Westside Pavilion Mall in Los Angeles. The two will headline Saturday's fight at the Staples Center. Launch slideshow »

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LOS ANGELES — Light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida said that his dream for the UFC belt was what drove him toward a 15-0 professional record thus far in mixed martial arts.

With that dream accomplished earlier this year at UFC 98, it's time to see if hanging onto that title will be enough to keep "The Dragon" perfect.

The fighting world will find out Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Here are five of the top story lines to keep an eye on throughout the event.

Pound-for-pound shakeup?

Naming the top pound-for-pound mixed martial arts fighter is a lot like naming the two college football teams that deserve to play for a national title. Everyone seems to have an opinion and only occasionally is it the same as the guy next to him.

Currently, Anderson Silva (24-4) sits deservedly at the top of most rankings, alongside other terrific fighters like Georges St. Pierre (19-2) and Fedor Emelianenko (30-1-1).

Lyoto Machida (15-0) is the only undefeated fighter in the discussion and he could skip closer to the top with a convincing win over Mauricio Rua this weekend. To put in perspective how good Machida is, this is a championship fight in arguably the most stacked division in the UFC, and the Brazlian opened as a minus-450 betting favorite.

Which Shogun will show?

During his glory days in PRIDE, where he went 12-1 over four years, Rua was considered the top light heavyweight in the world. That distinction was stripped of him quickly at his UFC debut, when his conditioning appeared to be suspect in a loss to Forrest Griffin by submission in the third round.

Since the loss, Rua has no doubt been impressive, scoring back-to-back TKO wins. Those wins, however, were over fighters Mark Coleman and Chuck Liddell who were probably past their primes. For Shogun to have a chance against the current light heavyweight champ, he’ll need to return to the form of his PRIDE days.

The wrath of Rothwell

This will be Ben Rothwell’s first fight in the UFC, but he’s already making a name for himself because of his strong personality and open confidence. There’s a reason the 28-year-old believes he can beat one of the hottest heavyweights in the organization, though.

Rothwell carries a strong record of 30-6 into his UFC debut with wins over fighters like Krzysztof Soszynski and Roy Nelson, a contestant in this season of The Ultimate Fighter. It’s why even though few casual fans are aware of his reputation, Rothwell enters the fight as just a 2-to-1 underdog.

The Anthony Johnson diet

Perhaps after his fighting career, welterweight Anthony Johnson can start his own weight-loss program. He’s got the credentials. It’s been well-documented that the fighter originally came into training camp 50 pounds overweight.

Trouble selling tickets?

UFC President Dana White is known for his generosity and tendency to give away tickets to UFC events. But in the weeks leading up to the event at Staples Center on Oct. 24, he’s been handing them away at a pretty alarming rate. In his recent video blog, White is shown giving away up to 12 tickets at a time to fans at Palace Station.

On Thursday, the day of the pre-fight press conference in Los Angeles, White was scheduled to give away more tickets in the nearby city of Carson. Again, this isn’t completely non-Dana behavior, but it makes one wonder.

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].

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