There is something fascinating to me about the downward spiral of Lyoto Machida. Did the MMA world suddenly figure him out, did he get complacent, or is he just burnt out of karate? I have a feeling we will find that answer out by the time his next fight is over.
Lyoto Machida will reportedly face Ryan Bader on the UFC on Fox 4 special in Los Angeles on August 4. Bader is coming off the biggest win of his career, a decision over Rampage Jackson at UFC 144. Bader is currently on a two-fight winning streak and will look to move to his first three-fight winning streak in the UFC since 2009.
[adinserter block=”2″]The downfall of Machida is something I have talked about with friends fairly often. It is really hard to figure out exactly what wrong. Machida looked unstoppable from his UFC debut through his dominating championship win over Rashad Evans at UFC 98. UFC commentator even went as far as to proclaim the “Machida Era” following the win. The era lasted all but that moment as he has never looked the same since, sans a brutal knockout win over an aging Randy Couture in Couture’s retirement fight.
This is as big a must-win fight for Machida as it gets. Machida is coming off a loss to Jon Jones which saw him get submitted in the second round. Machida brings a 1-3 record into this fight. Once again, that one win came against Couture in Randy’s retirement fight. There are no betting odds as of press time but I would presume that Machida will be a heavy favorite over Bader.
I have always found Bader to be a guy like Brendan Schaub that the UFC tries to pass off as a bigger star than he really is. I like Bader but I always found him highly overrated when it comes to fighting quality guys. Bader’s takedowns are his wheelhouse and Machida is the wrong guy to fight with takedowns. Machida has the skills to block or transition any takedown into a bad predicament for Bader. Bader is going to have to evolve to beat the former UFC light heavyweight champion.
I can’t foresee any scenario where Machida loses this fight other than the Dragon taking Bader lightly. While I don’t think the UFC would cut Machida with a loss, I have no idea what they could do with him at this point. He really let one get away when he lost a close decision to Rampage Jackson. He’ll never get that back and if he goes 0-3 he may have to look into switching divisions if he ever plans on competing for a championship in the UFC. Hey, at one time Machida did brag about moving to heavyweight.
[adinserter block=”1″]While this isn’t announced as the official UFC on Fox 4 main-event, I can’t imagine the fight playing second fiddle to anything else. I think it is a solid main-event with two name fighters that interest hardcore and even some casual fight fans. Brian Stann will welcome former Bellator star Hector Lombard as well on the card. Between these two fights it sounds like the UFC on Fox 4 is shaping up to be a heck of a show come August.