We have one week to decide who is going to win the match-up between Welter weight champ Matt Hughes and accomplished Jiu-Jitsu fighter and UFC legend Royce Gracie.
I have been very vocal in my belief that this could very well be a mismatch. Matt Hughes is at the peak of his game. While Royce Gracie has not set foot in the Octagon in perhaps 9 years. He has had other fights, none all that impressive.
It's my contention that even during Gracies hey day of the mid 90's, he won so many fights because his opponents did not know what he knew. That is no longer an advantage for him.
While Gracie is a very highly skilled Jiu-Jitsu practioner, Matt Hughes at least understands that game and has won many of his fights by tap out using submission moves. This may nullify Gracies ground game.
If I were in Gracies corner I would have encouraged my fighter to effectively learn hot to strike with his hands and feet. He would then be able to use his height and reach advantage in a "boxing fashion" forcing the shorter less gifted puncher Hughes into an awkward position.
Did Gracie train to "kickbox" or is he simply going to bring his Jiu-Jitsu "A" game to the Octagon?
Either way, Gracie is going to have to overcome more than just Hughes superior strength, Octagon savy and outstanding wrestling skills. Hughes is a seasoned veteran when it comes to submission at this point. And while the great BJ Penn taught him a lesson a short while ago, Hughes has learned from that experience and will be ready for Gracie style Jiu-Jitsu.
Unless Gracie comes to the game with some new tricks, such as a solid striking game, I think we can expect a referee stopage sometime in the second round.
How do the rest of you feel?