Gegard Mousasi asked for a UFC fight against Lyoto Machida and he’s gotten his wish. Mousasi will move down to middleweight to tangle with “The Dragon” on Feb. 8 at an event in Brazil.
Machida made an impressive debut in the 185-pound weight class at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, England as he took out Mark Munoz in the very first round with a head kick. The former light-heavyweight champion made a huge statement with such a dominant performance against Munoz, who had been ranked No. 5 in the UFC’s top-10 middleweight rankings heading in.
Mousasi’s UFC tenure has been a frustrating one due to injury and fight replacements. He was initially supposed to fight Alexander Gustafsson in Sweden, but “The Mauler” was forced to withdraw after suffering a cut over his eye in the last week of training. Instead, he ended up with unheralded Ilir Latifi as a late-injury replacement. Mousasi won the fight via dominant decision, but actually went through with the fight even though he was hurt. He underwent knee surgery immediately after the contest and this will mark by far his stiffest test with the promotion.
This fight should be an outstanding matchup involving two fighters who’ve had fantastic careers and are looking to make their mark in the middleweight landscape. Both men have been light-heavyweight champions. Machida in the UFC and “The Dreamcatcher” in Strikeforce and Dream. Mousasi hasn’t really been able to shine in the Octagon and now gets a huge opportunity against Machida. He’s no stranger to the 185-pound weight class as he captured the Dream Middleweight Grand Prix title back in 2008 when he knocked out Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Mousasi has 29 finishes via either knockout or submission in his 34 career wins and has never been knocked out.
Both fighers have been in against top-flight opposition during the course of their respective careers and this contest should be a terrific matchup for fans to enjoy. Mousasi would definitely make a statement of his own if he’s able to derail Machida’s title aspirations in Brazil. However, doing that shapes up as the toughest challenge of Mousasi’s career.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports.