When UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans steps into the cage on Saturday night, he will do so as an underdog in many peoples’ eyes. The fact that he is the current champ and is also undefeated seems to not matter to those setting the odds in Vegas, or in living rooms and sports bars across the country. The challenger at UFC 98, Lyoto Machida, has a very unique and strategic way of fighting. One that has caused each of his opponents to date fits, as he also carries an unbeaten record. Evans is well aware of Machida’s style and actually seems pretty comfortable with it.
“You know there’s just certain aspects that he does,” Evans told MMAFighting.com last week. “And his movement may mask it a little bit but it’s simple – the simple principles what he’s trying to do that you look for. And if you get a couple of guys who do those principles like he does then you can find some partners that give you the same look.”
Evans has been studying footage of Machida’s six fights in the UFC, in which he has yet to drop a round, and sees little, if any challenges in Machida’s elusive fighting style.
“You know it doesn’t present any problems you know,” Evans said. “Watching somebody fight, breaking them down, sometimes the best evidence you get is when there’s not really a weakness that somebody else hasn’t been exploited it’s just something that you may be able to do or something you think you may be able to do you know. And watching Machida’s tapes I’ve definitely seen enough that I can do myself in areas that fit into what I do well. So I’m not worried about it.”
Lyoto Machida will definitely present a new challenge for Evans, as his last two opponents, Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, are more stand-and-bang type fighters who like to apply the pressure in the cage. Machida’s style is pretty much the exact opposite of that, and Evans appears to be more than content with that.
“You know he’s got an interesting style,” Evans said. “It’s pretty tricky at times but I think that anybody going against him is going to have their own way of doing things. And they’re going to have their own style. So it’s just making simple adjustments and you know it should be all right.”
In only a couple short days at UFC 98, we will see exactly how comfortable Rashad Evans is with Lyoto Machida’s style when they square off for the light heavyweight title.