MMA legend Randy “The Natural” Couture campaigned for some time for a bout against Lyoto Machida because the Brazilian karateka’s enigmatic offense presented him with interesting stylistic challenges which he believes he can overcome. Couture got his wish, as the two are now scheduled to meet on the main card of the upcoming UFC 129 event. Speaking with MMAInterviews.tv following Dan Henderson’s knockout win over Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante at the Strikeforce show over the weekend, Couture discussed his strategy for taking on Machida.
“The goal for me is to cut him off, to force him to fight me, to not let him run around and avoid two rounds of fighting,” said Couture of the fellow former UFC light heavyweight champ. “I think he’ll engage. I’m gonna force him–hopefully, with the cage–to play a little clinch game and pin him against that and make him work from there. That’s always been a strength of mine. So, the key is to cut him off and to get my hands on him, though he’s not easy to catch up with.”
For his part, Machida told FightersOnly.com recently that he has no intentions of letting Couture, who possesses an impressive and well-documented grappling acumen, grab hold of him or force the clinch game.
“He is an Olympic-level wrestler, therefore, I won’t play this game with him,” said Machida. “We will fight standing or on the ground. There won’t be clinch against the cage.”
Couture and Machida will meet on April 30 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at UFC 129, where the two will see who will be able to implement–or prevent their opponent from implementing–their respective gameplan.