Date: Sunday 3rd February, 1am (UK)
Location: Belém, Brazil
Venue: Arena Guilherme Paraense
The legendary Lyoto Machida headlines UFC Fight Night 125 in his home nation of Brazil in a somewhat surprising match-up with Eryk Anders; surprising due to the fact Machida is nearing the end of his illustrious career, desperate for a win after losing three on the bounce and has agreed to fight an unbeaten, athletic beast who is relatively unknown – for now.
The ex-light heavyweight champion is struggling to put on the performances that made him a fan-favourite worldwide. Since a vintage TKO over CB Dollaway back in 2014, Machida has been submitted by Luke Rockhold, viciously knocked out by Yoel Romero, served a drug ban for PED use and then got knocked out in his comeback fight against Derek Brunson.
Now, these losses were against absolute killers and at this stage of his career you wouldn’t blame him for seeking more glamourous fights, but a true testament of his fighting spirit is accepting the call out of this rising star which will be by far the biggest fight of his blossoming career. A win won’t do much for Machida in terms of title hopes but will have great significance for Anders who is looking to trade places in the rankings and firmly stamp his name on the middleweight map.
The former college linebacker will bank on his speed and power to get the finish and is confident his powerful left only needs one connection to finish the fight. However, even at the age of 39, Machida is still an absolute assassin and one of the most deadly and accurate counter strikers in the game. Wary of this threat, Anders has enlisted the help of Stephen Thompson who is the perfect training partner to prepare for the elite skills of the Karate master.
So, the key will be Machida’s defence – defence of the takedowns and strikes which will set up his clinical counter striking but will the athleticism and power of Anders be too much for the legend at this stage of his career? See below for the statistical breakdown:
Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric.