Machida’s expectations

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Photos: Josh Hedges

After the middleweight title fight between Anderson Silva and Demian Maia that was enshrouded in controversy, but which yielded an undisputable win for the Spider, UFC fans’ attention has turned to the next title contest, the rematch between Lyoto Machida and Maurício Shogun. The bout is set to go down this Saturday at UFC 113. In the penultimate issue of Brazil’s NOCAUTE magazine (86), Lyoto spoke of what has changed for the all-important showdown.

“What changed is that I know him now. I might not know him entirely, but I got a feel of what he’s like. It’s one thing to watch from the outside, it’s another to be in there and feel the distance, the timing, the strategy. So I already know his game, as he does mine. Nevertheless, despite the two of us knowing each other, this is a new fight. A lot can change. Surely, our strategies will be different. At the level where the sport is today, this competitiveness, strategy and training count a lot. It’s not that MMA from years ago, the demands are much greater,” says Lyoto in analysis.

“The fact we know each other now makes it easier to train. Of course we have to close all the angles to not get taken by surprise, but it makes the work easier,” adds the karateka.

Regarding his performance, Lyoto hints that, despite his pursuing different methods, he won’t stray much from his main characteristics.

“It’s hard to completely change your style. You have to try and correct the mistakes made and maintain what you did right in the last fight. I think that will be the key to success in this one. Everyone is waiting to see who has the better game plan and who will take the initiative,” he says.

Now regarding his opponent, he doesn’t rubbish the idea Shogun may be completely different from when they last faced each other.

“I watch our fight a lot, but also his other ones. The Shogun who fought me wasn’t the one people were used to seeing. I felt that his game was defensive against me. As he is very versatile, he may change. That’s why I watch all his fights, like the last time we met,” he says.

As for the action in their next trip to the octagon, this time around could make for a more exciting fight.

“I think a lot may change. Both Shogun and I have some well-defined fundamentals, our standing games, takedowns and grappling. Hence we can switch up as we please. We can be more or less offensive and work in all these realms. The profile of the modern-day fighter is to be complete, which is why I believe this fight will be totally different from the last one. It might not be, but I believe we learned a lot from the first confrontation and we’re going into a new battle.”

One thing is for sure, there are a lot of expectations surrounding this bout!

“It’s a title fight and, just for that reason, it creates greater expectations. He wants to be champion and I want to hold on to my title. That brings about a healthy rivalry and makes for a more anticipated fight. What new elements will arise now? What has changed? All that brings expectations, much more than the first time,” he says in finishing.

UFC 113
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
May 8, 2010

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