PRESS RELEASE / Las Vegas, NV (USA) – Detroit will be infused with adrenaline on Saturday, November 20, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to the Motor City for the first time since UFC IX in 1996. In the main event, two former UFC light heavyweight champions collide as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson takes on Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida at “UFC 123: RAMPAGE vs. MACHIDA”, presented by Bud Light and live from the Palace at Auburn Hills in Detroit, Michigan.
Also on this stacked UFC 123 card, former welterweight champions will settle their score as UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes and former two-division champion BJ Penn face off in the rubber match of one of the greatest trilogies in fight history.
“When you think of Detroit, the first names that come to mind are legends like Joe Louis and Tommy Hearns,” UFC President Dana White said. “This is a real fight town with diehard fight fans, so I’m happy to be the guy bringing big fights to the Motor City.”
“We’re bringing the best UFC fighters here on November 20th,” added White, who is heading to Detroit on Thursday, September 16th, to meet with the media and officially announce UFC 123. “Rampage Jackson and Lyoto Machida are two of the top light heavyweights in the world. I expect this fight to be a war, as both of these guys want to get back in the title run. The co-main event is Matt Hughes vs. BJ Penn, two of the best fighters in UFC history. They have both beat each other and jumped at the opportunity to fight a third time.”
“We’ve stayed in constant touch with the UFC for several years now in working together to develop an opportunity to place one of their electrifying events at The Palace of Auburn Hills,” said Stu Mayer, Senior Vice President, Sports & Events for Palace Sports & Entertainment. “We’re both extremely pleased that it’s finally become a reality. UFC 123 will no doubt be embraced by the greater Detroit area and throughout the state of Michigan.”
A ferocious competitor known for his aggressive slams and knockout power, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (fighting out of Memphis, Tenn. / professional record: 30-8) has been in there with the best and has beaten the best. A former PRIDE veteran and UFC light heavyweight champion, the Memphis native’s UFC stint has seen him score knockout victories over Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva and decision wins over Dan Henderson and Keith Jardine, making it clear that the 32-year-old can stand in the Octagon with anyone.
“I started this camp very early,” Jackson said. “I stayed in shape from the last fight and the weight hasn’t been an issue this time. Every single minute of this camp will be focused on technique, not getting back in shape or shaking the ring rust after a long time off.
“If Machida decides to fight me, it will be an exciting fight for one round before he goes to sleep. I am expecting him to run from me, though. He’d wear sneakers into the Octagon if he could! But don’t worry, I will hunt him down and get him anyway.”
A black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Machida Karate, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (fighting out of Belem, Brazil / 16-1) has proved he is dangerous anywhere the fight goes. The former UFC light heavyweight champion won his first 16 professional fights and is focused on getting back into the title picture. Winning five of his first six fights in the UFC, the 32-year-old has finished three bouts, including a submission win over Rameau Sokoudjou and knock out victories against Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans.
“I know what it’s like to be the champion and I want to be the champion again,” Machida said. “I respect Rampage and I think he is an incredible fighter, but I’m going to expose his weaknesses – I’m going to win this fight on November 20 and go after the light heavyweight title.”
A fighter that is seeing a renaissance during an already brilliant career, Matt Hughes (fighting out of Hillsboro, Ill. / 46-7) has won his last three fights, putting himself back in the title picture once again. After a unanimous decision win against Matt Serra, a KO victory over Renzo Gracie, and a submission victory over Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt Ricardo Almeida, the 36-year-old has cemented his UFC Hall Of Fame status as he looks to get his welterweight title back.
In a move back to the 170-pound class after a very successful run as champion at 155 pounds, former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn (fighting out of Hilo, Hawaii / 15-7-1) will meet Hughes in a highly-anticipated rubber match. After Penn won their first fight via submission at UFC 46 and Hughes evened the score via TKO at UFC 63, both fighters are hungry to break the tie. Penn, a highly decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, has always been known as a finisher, and with fighters such as Kenny Florian, Diego Sanchez, Sean Sherk, Joe Stevenson, Jens Pulver and even Hughes on that list, the 31-year-old Hawaiian is one of the sport’s most dangerous competitors.
Tickets for UFC 123 will go on sale Monday, September 20 at 10 a.m. ET and will be priced at $400, $300, $200, $150, $100 and $50. Tickets are available at Palacenet.com, Ticketmaster.com, charge-by-phone (800.745.3000) and all Ticketmaster retail locations.
UFC Fight Club members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Friday, September 17 starting at 10 a.m. ET via UFCFightClub.com. A special internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers on Saturday, September 18 starting at 10a.m. ET. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.
UFC 123 will be available live on Pay-Per-View on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH Network, TVN, BellTV, Shaw Communications, Sasktel, and Viewer’s Choice Canada for a suggested retail price of $44.99 US/$49.99 CAN for standard definition or high-definition broadcasts (where available). UFC 123 will also be available on Pay-Per-View in Spanish in the United States.