Image of Lyota Machida from lyotomachida.netWith all eyes on the looming UFC100, let’s not overlook what will be an interesting battle at UFC98 where Lyoto Machida will replace Rampage Jackson in a title bout against Rashad Evans.

You’ve heard about the video – two undefeated fighters, one cup of pee…. or something along those lines. Well, here it is live in Vegas.

Machida has quietly dismantled some of the biggest names in the sport – Rich Franklin, BJ Penn, Tito Ortiz and yes even Sokoudjou. And by quietly some would say boring. Machida has countered, as is his style, that boring is fine with him provided he continues to win. He’s not looking to dazzle, he’s looking for the belt.

Being able to pull Machida in as a “replacement” shows the depth the UFC enjoys in the light heavyweight category. He is by no means a long shot to take out Evans for his first loss and in fact, if you have kept an eye on Machida’s career you would have to give him the edge. He’s barely been touched in his last several fights with his counter striking abilities clearly at the top of the UFC totem pole. The recent knockout of Thiago Silva showed he is also ready to unleash some power against top competitors.

Evans is no slouch, going undefeated in his time in the UFC and it will take a long time for anyone to forget his punishing knockout of Chuck Liddell, but as was shown in Montreal, it is sadly tough to put a lot of weight on being able to catch Chuck with a right hand these days. Evans still has a lot to prove but comes in with a belt around his waist as a good place to start.

I’m lining up for UFC98 and UFC100 but my bet is that when all is said and done, 98’s main event will be the highlight of the two events and Machida will be looking at Rampage as his next opponent.