At UFC Fight Night 36, in Jaragua, Brazil, Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi will look to show the world who is the biggest threat to the upcoming middleweight winner for the title between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort.
After a controversial loss to Phil Davis, the former light heavyweight champion Machida made a big move to 185 lbs. In his first fight he stopped Mark Munoz cold with a head kick in round one.
In April Mousasi made his first UFC appearance by coasting to a decision win against Illir Latifi. He (Mousasi) also chose to drop to 185 where most believe he would be more comfortable. Comfortable may be a challenge for the former Strikeforce champion considering his welcome to the division match is against none other than “The Dragon”.
Although heavily underrated on the ground, Machida rarely seeks a takedown. With only two takedowns attempts in his last six fights in which he has only been able to successfully take down Dan Henderson in that time.
Mousasi is probably not one Machida wants to take to the ground. Despite his low takedown defense he is no slouch on the ground, and not afraid to mix in takedowns in to his game plan. Although Mousasi has had success against fighters like Ovince St. Preux and Keith Jardine, Machida will prove to be a much bigger challenge than either of them on the ground.
Overall takedowns may be an important role in eithers chance to steal a round or two I doubt it will be eithers primary focus. Machida has a lot of success at countering jabs with his catch and stepping left but it leaves him open to being taken down.