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UFC Fight Night 36: Machida vs. Mousasi
By: Mark Kern - StatFox
Published: 2/15/2014  at  1:59:00 AM
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UFC Fight Night 36: Machida vs. Mousasi

Saturday, February 15 – 11:00 p.m. ET
Jaragua, Brazil

Lyoto Machida (20-4) vs. Gegard Mousasi (34-3-2)

Middleweight bout
Line: Machida -260, Mousasi +200

Lyoto Machida looks to build off a dominating victory as he faces Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Brazil.

In his last fight on Oct. 26, Machida looked as dominant as ever in a victory over Mark Munoz, delivering a vicious head-kick in the first round, and did not allow his opponent to land a single strike. In his previous fights, Machida was in the 205-pound weight class, where he had mixed results. He posted wins against Dan Henderson and Ryan Bader, but struggled in losses to Jon Jones and Phil Davis. The Brazilian Machida is an explosive athlete that is looking for a potential title belt, but will be going up against a much less accomplished fighter that is still looking to make a name for himself in the sport. Mousasi won his first UFC match against Ilir Latifi by decision in his most recent bout on April 6. Like Machida, he has been a fighter at the heavyweight class for much of his career, but now sees an opportunity to make some noise in the 185-pound weight class. While Mousasi is a talented fighter, he is going up against a guy in Machida that is oozing with confidence. Look for the favorite MACHIDA to come into this fight just like he did against Munoz, dominating early and winning this fight in convincing fashion.

Machida has shown throughout his career that he is able to win a fight in many different ways. Of his 20 career victories, 10 have come by way of decision with eight wins by knockout and two by submission. He is a fearless competitor, and the biggest advantage that Machida has going into this match is his experience in big fights. The 35-year-old who now fights out of Los Angeles is one of nine Brazilians to own a UFC championship at one time, and has fought some of the top fighters in the sport’s history. While "The Dragon" does not land as many significant strikes (2.78 per minute) compared to 3.81 for Mousasi, he is a little more accurate landing the punches (57% to 51%). He also does an outstanding job of avoiding the takedown, as he successfully defends 79 percent of his opponents' takedowns. With the fight being in his home country, Machida, who is a black belt in both Shotokan Karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, will come into this match with a lot of energy. However, Mousasi will also be geared up for this match with the opportunity to earn the biggest victory of his career.

While he has only one UFC win, the 28-year-old Mousasi has been a star in MMA for years and is currently riding a seven-fight unbeaten streak (6-0-1). The Iranian-born Mousasi is a knockout specialist, as 19 of his career victories have come in that fashion. He also is terrific on the ground, with 10 wins by submission and only five victories by decision. He will look to use his takedown ability (1.8 average, 65% accuracy) to try and get Machida on the ground. While this is a strength for Mousasi, Machida has proven to be terrific against the takedown. Both of these opponents are versatile and can fight in any kind of bout. The key will be which guy is able get off to a fast start, as both of these fighters can end the match in a hurry once they gain confidence.

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