It's the riddle that no one in the UFC has solved. Lyoto Machida already six fights under his belt with the organization but his style confuses the heck out of most fighters. He's one the rare karate practitioners who has made a successful transition into MMA.
Machida's awkward southpaw stance is tough to deal with especially if he gets a rhythym with his kicks. His only weakness may be on the ground but we haven't really seen anyone test his defense on his back. Tito Ortiz could never corral Machida while Thiago Silva, David Heath and Sokoudjou all chose to strike with Machida. Kazahiro Nakamura is too small for 205 and Sam Hoger wasn't talented enough to get it to the mat. Can Rashad Evans, a wrestler by trade, track down Machida to get him to the ground?
Fellow Brazilian Ricardo Arona says Machida may actually want to hit the mat and stay away from Evans on the feet:
"Rashad Evans is dangerous with his hands, good at boxing. He’s coming off a win too, which is important. But I think the best way for Lyoto is to keep his distance, the way he does. I think he has a good chance of taking this belt. I want to say the most dangerous place against Rashad is standing, but Lyoto is also really secure in this fundamental. If he keeps his distance, like he does, he’ll do well, but I think this fight will play out on the ground."
In this training video, does Machida's work with Satoshi Ishii means he's competing at the highest level or does it show him having a tough time? Ishii, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in Judo really works over Machida on the mat. On the positive side, Machida kicks look absolutely brutal.
- Lyoto Machida
- Rashad Evans