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‘The Dragon’ Machida vs. ‘Sugar’ Rashad Evans

Evans MachidaThis Saturday is UFC 98 which will host a battle between two of perhaps UFC’s best Light Heavy Weight fighters. The challenger Lyoto Machida vs. the champion Rashad Evans.

I can’t wait for this fight. A lot of people think this is gonna be a boring main event and may not draw a huge crowd since it might not be so entertaining. I beg to differ. I think Machida’s fighting style is just great to watch. He does lots of little things during the fight that some people don’t pay attention to or don’t realize, and hence can’t appreciate. Sure, he may not be an explosive fighter, or one that goes for the knock out punch everytime, but I don’t need just that to enjoy a good technical fight. Sometimes an all out slugfest can get kinda boring, ’cause it just seems like a bar fight with two drunk idiots that are simply throwing wild punches at each other with no planning, or strategy or intelligence. Might be entertaining for a bit, but I don’t expect that from professional fighters.

Both Machida and Evans are counter strikers and intelligent fighters which will make for an epic battle between two undefeated fighters. Something’s gotta give.The Light Heavy Weight division in the UFC is surely the most stacked and the most competitive one but I think the winner of this fight will be able to hold that belt for a while.

Rashad Evans has extremely lethal punches and is really quick. Watching some of his fights, I’m beginning to think that he’s even quicker than Machida. At least his hands seem quicker, so I wouldn’t count out the possibility of Machida getting caught with one of Rashad’s quick and powerful punches. Then it comes down to how well Machida can take a punch.

That’s the dilemma… I don’t think anyone knows whether Machida has a strong chin or not. Well, that’s mainly because he hasn’t let anyone test his chin yet. He has taken very few hits and almost none that troubled him. Statistically, Machida’s taken the least amount of hits in the UFC, ever. Evans also seems to take a while before he feels comfortable enough to unleash his full fury. So I’m guessing both fighters will just be waiting for the other to strike in the first round, and round 1 might just end with very few exchanges… Machida winning that round with a few leg kicks and sweep attempts.

I have no doubt in my mind that Rashad has the power to knock out Machida… if he catches him. But seeing as how Machida is so elusive, I don’t see how Rashad’s going to get a strong punch in without Machida moving out of the way and countering it with a leg kick. Evans’ stance makes him light on his feet and quick with his hands, and therefore making him rather elusive as well, but it would be absurd to think Machida’s going to try and chase Evans. I think it will be the opposite. Evans chasing Machida and getting in a few hits and perhaps even attempting a few take-downs.

But as we’ve seen against Tito Ortiz, Machida has excellent take-down defense. I personally don’t think Rashad’s wrestling abilities will be that great of a factor in this fight, ’cause Tito Ortiz gave Evans a pretty tough time when they fought each other, which ended in a draw. But  Ortiz looked like he didn’t know what to do when he fought Machida and simply couldn’t take him down at all. Machida spoiled all of Ortiz’s take-down attempts by just shrugging him off, or by countering and taking Ortiz down instead.

I think that might be the mistake the champ is going to make. Confused as to what to do against Lyoto and his unorthodox style, Evans might end up chasing Machida after the first round or so. That would just play into Machida’s plan, and then Rashad’s just gonna get picked apart by the dragon.

So there… I say Machida’s gonna take it, I don’t know how.. submission, knock out or decision. I can obviously be wrong, but that’s just the way I see it. The only way the champ might successfully defend his belt in my opinion, is if he somehow catches Machida with a quick strong punch and knocks Machida out. I don’t know how likely that may be, so I’d pick the cerebral technique of Machida on this one. He’s just too technical and too smart of a fighter to fall for whatever Evans throws at him.

Evans’ quick punches might pose a challenge, but nothing too serious maybe. He won’t be able to take Machida down with ease, that’s for sure. But even if he does, Machida, having a black belt in BJJ, is a better ground fighter than most people think. He’ll probably counter the attempt with his own take down, and then Evans is going to have to be very careful. Evans’ ground game is gonna get tested. If I were Evans, I’d watch out for that punch and quick sweep or trip that Machida does so well to take his opponents down.

I’ll say we’re gonna have a new Light Heavy Weight champion this Saturday, and if so, Machida will be most probably be able to successfully defend his title in his first fight after becoming the champ, against ‘Rampage’ Jackson. I really don”t think a fighter like Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson would have much of a chance beating Machida. Evans has more of a chance beating Machida than Rampage in my opinion. I’d like to see someone like Griffin or Shogun Rua (if he is indeed back to his best) fight him though. Or perhaps even Anderson Silva. Now THAT would be an awesome fight.

So there, Machida takes it in my opinion. You may disagree, and you’re free to do so. Nothing I say is written in stone. My analysis may be completely wrong, or it may be correct… Whatever the case, we’re going to see a great fight. Good luck to both the fighters.


May 20, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment