Saturday’s UFC Fight Night will feature a marquee main event between middleweight championship contenders Lyoto Machida and Mark Munoz in Manchester, United Kingdom.
The bout was originally supposed to include English star Michael Bisping, but he was forced to pull out of the matchup with an eye injury. That news opened the door for Machida.
With Dana White and high-ranking UFC officials taking a vested interest in this bout—searching for new contenders worthy of fighting for the middleweight championship—the battle between Machida vs. Munoz will be must-watch TV.
Where: Phones 4u Arena, Manchester, United Kingdom
When: Saturday, Oct. 26 at 3 p.m. ET
Watch: FOX Sports 2
Machida’s Keys to Victory
There is no mistaking a Lyoto Machida fight. With one of the most unique styles in UFC history—mixing a blend of karate with Jiu-jitsu and wrestling—the key for every fight for the Brazilian is sticking to his strengths.
Munoz will be trying to bait Machida into becoming more aggressive, but the veteran knows what it takes to not absorb punishment and how to pull out the close victories. Machida will frustrate Munoz as he has so many fighters before him.
One of the biggest focuses for the Brazilian star is the wrestling ability of Munoz. Not only can the challenger take his competitors to the ground, but he is also one of the most dangerous ground-and-pound fighters in the company.
With a takedowns defended percentage of 79.41, Machida will stop Munoz’s assault and use it to set up the counterpunch or even open up a possible submission late in the fight.
Munoz’s Keys to Victory
The UFC is littered with great wrestlers across all weight divisions, but one of the best pound-for-pound wrestlers today is Mark Munoz. While his striking has improved, he still leans predominantly on his ability to take the fight to the ground and pound out victories.
While the plan should simply be to take down Machida and beat him on the ground, he is one of the best takedown defenders in the sport. Add in the Brazilian’s ability to counter with strikes or submissions, and Munoz must be weary when shooting.
Munoz must not abandon his strengths, though. The key to victory will be working through Machida’s defense and taking him down regardless. Once this fight hits the ground, the distinct advantage goes to Munoz.
Look for Munoz to shoot early and often Saturday.
Main Event Preview and Prediction
For the fans that complain about slow-paced fights that feature heavy amounts of wrestling and mount positions, this main event has the potential to drive you crazy. With Munoz thriving on his wrestling abilities and Machida renowned for fighting his defensive style, this matchup will feature several futile shoot attempts and plenty of backpedaling.
The winner will be the fighter that sticks to his game plan the longest. Each man depends on their opponent to waiver and fall into their trap, but that creates long periods of stalemate that can cause fans to become impatient.
It doesn’t matter whether critics like Machida’s style or not, he has the experience and ability to wait for his chance to beat Munoz. Machida will land enough strikes and keep his challenger from taking this fight to the ground long enough to win via unanimous decision.
Predicted Winner: Lyoto Machida via Decision (unanimous).