Can Ryan Bader solve the puzzle of Lyoto Machida?Posted on August 3, 2012, 01:35 PM by Mike Drahota
With UFC on Fox 4 rapidly approaching, Light Heavyweight Ryan Bader knows his chance is right now. He knows that Saturday, he is fighting for a potential title shot that should he gain, may match him up against one of the two fighters to ever defeat him. He is also thankful to be in this position whatsoever, as two submission defeats to Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz, consecutively, left the former rising contender with some re-evaluating to do. Bader has since rebounded nicely by knocking out Jason Brilz then soundly defeating Rampage Jackson by decision at UFC 144. Faced with the tall task of former titleholder Lyoto Machida this Saturday, Bader is looking to evolve his career with a defining win. Bader knows that he must fight smart to have a chance of leaving with his hand raised:
“After those few losses, I looked back and we had to change a lot of things. We did it as a team, and I got a new boxing coach and a new head coach, most importantly. He's put everything together as far as making each fighter the best they can be by taking their strengths and not trying to add anything that they're not really going to use. I've been working with them to do a lot of little things like footwork, head movement, and just putting it all together. I brought in a guy that is a karate world champion that studied Machida and helped me out for this fight, and I definitely believe that will be one of the keys to my success against him.” - via Bloodyelbow.com
Bader's new lease on fighting seems to have served him well as of late. The question is, can he defeat the elusive, unorthodox style of Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida? On paper, I would have to say no. Bader has appeared to have gone back a bit to his main base skill of wrestling, evident by his effective takedowns on Rampage. However, I see Machida as coming to this fight much more in shape than Jackson did, and using his surprisingly effective Sumo base as a means for controlling Bader's takedown attempts. Each shot that Bader takes will be answered with Machida's precise combinations if unsuccessful. Still, Bader always has the flash knockout capability in his right hand, and will look to find an opening for it. Machida knows all-to-well the ill effects of an overhand right KO, which came courtesy of Shogun Rua in his first career loss. When asked about the potential title shot , Bader's clear intent is to simply finish the fight:
“It's great, but it really doesn't change anything. I'm looking to go out there and win as impressively as I can, anyway . Right now, I can't really think about it.”
Judging by this week's interviews, both Bader and Machida are not looking towards that title shot. They are focused on the task at hand. Will that be enough for Ryan Bader to emerge victorious as the heavy underdog. I think he will put up a valiant effort, but the striking of Machida will be just a bit too dynamic for Bader to handle. I could see this one actually going to a decision. Either way, it should provide a great fight for the fans. What are your thoughts? Does “Darth” Bader stand a chance when he enters the Octagon to face Lyoto Machida on Saturday?