Photo Zuffa LLC/UFC
A tale of a legend and a rising star is set to be told in Belem, Brazil this Saturday night as #14 middleweight Lyoto Machida looks to derail the hype machine that is Eryk Anders.
As always with any combat sports event, it’s often better to analyse the fight after all is said and done but you would be absolutely forgiven if you have a perplexed look on your face with this particular fight announcement.
The matchmaking for the UFC of late has been pretty good as of late and it is hard to understand the thought process behind this fight but who knows, it could be one of the biggest surprises of the year….
SEEKING FORMER GLORY?
Lyoto Machida (22-8) has been an exceptional mixed martial artist and has been involved in some incredibly enthralling fights in his career. Since his drop to middleweight, he has a 3-2 record and is currently on a three fight losing streak. A loss to up and comer Eryk Anders (10-0) could leave the Brazilian in an incredibly difficult spot.
The former light-heavyweight champion is one of 11 Brazilians to have held UFC gold and the 39 year old Machida is determined to re-live those former glories.
A three fight skid doesn’t help matters and the karate expert will need to put on a serious showing to remind fans and indeed, the 185lb division as to why he is still relevant.
For Anders, you can’t help but feel that he has won the lottery somewhat. At 30, he is still early in his mixed martial arts career and in just his third UFC appearance is given a main event showcase against one of the all time greats. A win would certainly see him shoot up the middleweight rankings and place himself in the contender pool.
In only his first headline show, Anders has the chance to silence a Brazilian crowd and announce his arrival as a top prospect and knock off one of the sport’s most illustrious fighters.
Eryk Anders, a former American Football linebacker has 10 wins with no defeats in his professional career.
Lyoto Machida is on a 3 fight losing streak and has not won since 2014.
Anders has 6 KO’s to his credit whilst Machida possesses 9.
Machida has fought 22 times in the UFC whilst Anders has only seen two fights under the UFC banner.
It’s all or nothing you feel for Machida who really has a point to prove to his fans and himself if he is to be a legitimate contender at middleweight.
Machida is a karate specialist and is one of the most unorthodox fighters in UFC history. If he can use his leg kicks early and often, he may have the range to halt Anders’ forward movement.
Anders is a southpaw fighter who likes to find range with his quality jab but he does like to close the distance and engage in the clinch. Some of his best work is found in the clinch in terms of slowing down his opponent. However, he is prone to leaving himself open – particularly around the midsection – and if he does manage to engage with Machida, the Brazilian would be wise to target knees into Anders’ body to make him think twice about engaging again.
While Machida is on a losing streak at the moment, he does have the advantage in terms of experience. Both fighters prefer the stand up game and as we saw in Anders’ last fight against Markus Perez, he does tend to get a little wild if he feels he is down on the scorecard which could lead him to make a costly mistake in search of a big statement in the eyes of the judges.
Machida will no doubt have learned from his experience with getting knocked out by Derek Brunson last time out and should look to throw from angles and not offer a stationary target for Anders to attempt to land his sweet left hook.
Anders has the momentum with him for sure. A 10 fight streak is nothing to be sniffed at but he does come up against a veteran in Lyoto Machida who has held titles and fought the best of the best.
If Machida can weather an early storm, he can certainly pick openings that Anders does expose a lot in his fights.
Momentum is one thing but inexperience of a 5 round fight could prove to be too much too early for Anders and despite a losing record of late, Machida can claw his way out of a pit if he is patient and doesn’t let the emotions of the hometown crowd take over.
WritingIrish Prediction: Lyoto Machida via Decision