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UFC 104:

Breaking down UFC 104: Lyoto Machida v. Shogun Rua

Could Machida win set up super-fight with Anderson Silva? Fighters say no

UFC 104 Weigh-Ins

Justin M. Bowen

UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida (left) and challenger Mauricio Rua face-off during the weigh-ins at the L.A. Live Event Deck Friday in Los Angeles. The two will headline Saturdays fight 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 Weigh-Ins

UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida (left) and challenger Mauricio Rua face-off during the weigh-ins at the L.A. Live Event Deck Friday in Los Angeles.  The two will headline Saturdays fight at the Staples Center. Launch slideshow »

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LOS ANGELES — It’s just one of those inevitable facts of life. Sometimes best friends get into fights.

Unfortunately for UFC President Dana White and his organization’s fans, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva.

You’re never supposed to look ahead in the game of fighting, but it’s obvious that fight fans around the world can’t help themselves from wondering if Machida would fight Silva in the near future if he gets by Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at Staples Center tonight.

White has said many times that if the two continue destroying opponents in the light heavyweight division, he would make that fight — despite the fact that both fighters, and their manager Ed Soares, have said it will never happen.

“Should they both keep winning, that’s a fight that everyone wants to see,” White said. “It’s one of those fights that could spill over to people that don’t even watch the UFC. I think anything is possible.”

After Silva made quick work of Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 in August, White compared the Machida/Silva situation to two friends facing one another in basketball, football or any other sport.

Apparently the fighters remained unconvinced, as White admitted that Silva is still completely against the matchup.

“Anderson just said yesterday that it will never, never, ever happen no matter what I say,” White said on Thursday. “I disagree.”

This isn’t to say that Rua doesn’t have a chance to defeat Machida on Saturday night.

At the very least, the fight should provide plenty of excitement for UFC fans, as Rua was once considered the top 205-pound fighter in the world and is known for his explosive Muay Thai standup skills.

“I don’t expect to see any submissions or wrestling Saturday night,” White said. “This fight is going to be punches kicks, knees, elbows from two of arguably the best strikers in the business.”

So fight fans should still enjoy the fireworks in Los Angeles this weekend. Even if it’s difficult to get a potential super-fight off their minds.

Quick hits:

By now everyone — everyone — is aware of Machida’s style of fighting.

His karate base has proven more than effective in the UFC. He absorbs fewer strikes per round than any fighter in UFC history and has never even lost a single round.

On top of his elusive defense, Machida is the second most accurate striker in the UFC, behind pound-for-pound champ Anderson Silva.

“The thing that makes Lyoto Machida great is he can do things other people can’t,” White said. “He throws feet like they’re hands.”

The compliments and praise being thrown towards Machida, however, are very similar to the ones that Rua received in his days of PRIDE, before losing his UFC debut to Forrest Griffin.

Rua has since bounced back with two TKO wins in his previous fights and says that he was hampered in the Griffin fight by a knee injury that later required surgery and kept him from fighting for over a year.

“A lot of people don’t know the back story on Shogun and the two surgeries he went through,” White said. “I don’t care who you are, if you take that time off it takes time to come back and that’s why I’ve been trying to keep him active. I’m pretty sure this is going to be the best Shogun we’ve seen since the PRIDE days.”

If White is right, Shogun could be the stiffest test to Machida so far. Of course many believe that even the best version of Shogun won’t be able to figure out the undefeated Machida.

Last time out:

Machida: Second round win by knockout over Rashad Evans at UFC 98.

Rua: First round win by TKO over Chuck Liddell at UFC 97.

The lines: Machida: minus-450 ; Rua: plus-325

Final words:

Machida: This fight is going to be a MMA fight. I know that I represent karate and he represents Muay Thai, but on Saturday night it’s going to be a MMA fight.

Rua: Lyoto brings a very different style, he’s a very different fighter. Obviously, we know that and we worked hard in camp to develop a plan to be able to fight him.

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

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