It has only been a little over two months since Lyoto Machida dropped a controversial unanimous decision to Phil Davis at UFC 163. Many believe Machida should have walked out of the fight as the winner and one step closer to getting a rematch with Jon Jones. That didn’t happen.
Now, Machida finds himself making his middleweight debut on Saturday against a dangerous Mark Munoz. A win over Munoz would help Machida find his footing in the new weight class and prevent him from dropping back-to-back fights since he did so in 2010.
Already a difficult fighter to figure out, Machida will have success in the middleweight ranks. There are few fighters who have been able to successfully solve the puzzle — Shogun Rua, Quinton Jackson, Jones and Davis.
It’s hard to consider that Munoz will be added to the aforementioned list. A winner of eight fights inside the Octagon, Munoz will be no push over by any means. He has defeated some of the better competition the division has to offer. To date, his signature win would have to be Tim Boetsch or Demian Maia.
Munoz is a great wrestler and has heavy hands when he connects, but Machida is not a fighter that’s known to get hit. Rua is the only fighter to knock Machida out. Besides Jones, his other losses have come by way of decision.
At this point, the only way Munoz will have a chance to beat Machida is to take him down, which is easier said than done, and make the fight ugly. Then it’s possible that Munoz can win a decision.
The previously mentioned scenario is doubtful. It is much more likely that Machida will impress those who watch by using his usual awkward angles and come out with a KO/TKO victory.
A win against Munoz, who has only lost to middleweight champ Chris Weidman, Yushin Okami and Matt Hamill, should give Machida a firm foundation to stand on in the middleweight division.