Bader vs. Machida Will Be a Clash of Styles
By Michael Hatamoto
After a fan backlash, former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida and contender Ryan Bader will both be in the title mix with impressive showings on Saturday night.
Both fighters – especially Bader – have a difficult task on Saturday night, but the reward could be a light heavyweight title shot in early 2013.
The fight will come down to which competitor is able to better utilize the practiced game plan and prevent his opponent from finding success.
Here is what Machida had to say regarding the fight:
“I respect Ryan Bader very much as a fighter. He will pose some great problems but I believe my training camp has been one of the best of my career. My striking is very sharp, and I’ve worked on my wrestling because Bader is a strong wrestler. I’ve made some radical changes in my training, although karate will always be my main focus. I am getting back on the road to the title. I know what I have to do, and I am ready for this opportunity.”
Bader looks forward to the challenge of trying to beat Machida, as it could set him up for a title shot.
“Machida is a former champion but so were three out of my last four opponents. I’m no longer looking at these guys as fighters I used to watch on TV– they’re now my peers, my rivals. Machida is no different. No one is invincible and it is now my time to beat him and go on to a title shot.”
Machida clearly isn’t invincible, and Bader must be in-shape, healthy, and well prepared to deal with Machida’s unique fight style. If Bader can’t get a hold of Machida and drag him down to the ground, the Brazilian fighter should be able to pick his shots.
In addition to his strong wrestling pedigree and dangerous overhand right hand, Bader’s overall boxing skills have increased. However, I’m doubtful if he’ll be able to land any significant strikes while trying to chase Machida around the cage.
I expect it to be a tough fight with Machida having his hand raised when all is said and done.