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Machida’s Era of Hiccups
By Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester
With UFC on FOX 4 looming, there are several questions going into this event. One of the biggest questions though should center on one of the fighters in the co-main event. In the co-main event is a former UFC light-heavyweight champion fighting an aspiring contender: Lyoto Machida versus Ryan Bader. The question fans should be asking is, what is going to happen if Machida happens to lose on Saturday?
Coming into this fight, Machida is 2-3 since defeating Rashad Evans in a fight that crowned him the UFC’s light-heavyweight champion. Despite winning a controversial title defense against Shogun Rua, he would later be knocked out by the same man in the rematch. Since then, Machida has not been able to accomplish the same kind of victories that he was achieving before the Evans fight.
Machida’s lone victory since October 2009 took place April 30, 2011 when he defeated Randy Couture with a spectacular front kick. While this garnered him a title shot against current UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, he lost the fight via a standing guillotine submission. So where does Machida really stand in the UFC’s light-heavyweight division?
With a victory on Saturday, Machida will still be able to remain relevant at the top of his division. However, a loss here may be detrimental for his career in the UFC. Losing to former UFC champions is not something to be embarrassed about but with that being said, Ryan Bader is still a young and hungry contender whose only blemishes have been to current UFC champion Jon Jones and UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz.
By now everyone knows the Machida relies heavily on his ability to counter and jump in and out with strikes. This is likely one of the reasons why his success with this style has not been as beneficial to him in his recent matchups. Ryan Bader on the other hand depends heavily on a powerful right hand and his collegiate wrestling skills. Bader’s takedowns may very well be the sum of his success in the Octagon. Machida is much quicker on his feet than his opponent, and Bader usually lumbers forward looking to land that right hand of his. But comparing their skills, this fight could easily be more competitive than the main event between Shogun Rua and Brandon Vera as long as it does not come down to Bader outwrestling Machida on the mat; a feat that is not easy to achieve by any means as Machida has impressive takedown defense.
It is time for Machida to right the ship. Once an undefeated champion, he has had many moments where he shined and appeared to be the next big thing in the light-heavyweight division. Since that startling proclamation of the “Machida Era”, Lyoto has appeared to be hot and cold. Withholding the criticism, Machida has fought very tough opponents since his win over Evans but none has been as decisive as his victory over Evans either, besides the Couture knockout in some fans minds. Some say he was robbed in his fight against Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson but that is what you get when you leave it in the hands of the judges.
So has Machida just found himself in a rut as of late? Or is he one foot out of the door with the UFC? One thing for sure, his fight against Ryan Bader will surely answer a number of questions on where Machida will stand in the UFC’s light-heavyweight division following this Saturday night.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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