Can Lyoto Machida Win in His Middleweight Debut?

Published on October 26th, 2013 2:38 pm EST

Lyoto Machida will be taking on Mark Munoz in his Middleweight debut later this evening at UFC Fight Night 30. The event will be taking place at the Phones4U Arena in Manchester, England, United Kingdom.

The original main event for this card was supposed to be Mark Munoz vs Michael Bisping, but Bisping was forced to pull out due to an eye injury. Machida, who had already announced his intentions to drop down to Middleweight, filled in for the injured Bisping.

One of Machida's strengths has always been his quickness, and his slimmed down frame should be even faster now. Having said that, Machida was always a smaller Light Heavyweight. With his drop to Middleweight, Machida will still possess his unbelievable speed and quickness, but he should be on more even terms when it comes to strength. Machida had troubles dealing with some of the stronger Light Heavyweights, including the likes of Jon "Bones" Jones.

Machida will likely approach this fight much as he did his fight with Dan Henderson. He'll be looking to use his speed and elusiveness to strike from the outside, while avoiding the wrestling of his opponent. Munoz is a fantastic wrestler, and Machida will be looking to stay to the outside.

Expect Machida to engage and then quickly disengage. Machida will be hoping that Munoz starts to get frustrated and either:

1) Abandons his wrestling
2) Makes an ill-advised lunge at Machida

If you remember the Machida/Ryan Bader fight, Machida caught Bader perfectly as Bader made an ill-advised lunge. Machida caught Bader just right, and Bader crumpled to the campus. As per usual, Machida will be looking to frustrate his opponent and tempt him into making a bad error.

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How can Munoz win this fight? Well, you certainly have to give the striking advantage to Machida, as he utilizes a balanced and polished game that includes punches, kicks and knees.

Munoz will somehow have to close the distance and try and get Machida to the canvas. This has proven to be nearly impossible for some very accomplished wrestlers that Machida has fought in the past (Jones, Bader, Henderson), so I would be very surprised if Munoz were able to take Machida to the floor. Even if Munoz is able to take Machida to the floor, it's important to remember that Machida has a black belt in BJJ and is more than able to defend himself on the floor.

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In short, I don't see too many paths to victory for Munoz in this one, and neither do the bookmakers, as Machida is currently listed as a -400 favourite to win.


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