One of the year’s most anticipated fights is just around the corner, as Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida get set to throw down in Las Vegas next Saturday night, July 5, 2014.
Capping the UFC 175 pay-per-view event, Weidman will lay his middleweight championship belt on the line against the No. 2 ranked Machida, in a war that many would see as a conflict between a two styles – stand-up and ground.
Certainly, that’s how Lyoto Machida is looking at it.
In conversation with Inside MMA’s Bas Rutten, Machida stated that Weidman’s “background is wrestling, and (his) background is stand-up.” As such, and given Machida’s formidable takedown skills, “The Dragon” is of the mindset that he will be able to force the 185 pound champion to defend his belt on the feet, and in Machida’s world.
However, “The Dragon’s” logic is a double-edged sword. As Machida’s grappling skills have improved, so too have Weidman’s stand-up skills. Indeed, in preparation for his fight with Machida, Weidman has brought in welterweight karate wizard Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson as a training partner.
Thompson is 4 – 1 in the UFC, 9 – 1 professionally, and a former undefeated Kickboxing world champion; 20 – 0. His one loss, a unanimous decision defeat, came at the hands of Matt Brown at UFC 146 in April of 2012, and stands as “The Immortal’s” lone decision victory in his current 7 fight – 6 T/KO driven – winning streak.
As to whether or not he’s worried about Weidman training with Thompson, Machida appears unconcerned. By the Brazilian’s account, Thompson is an Orthodoxed fighter, where “The Dragon” is a southpaw, and the distance from which they emanate an attack is also askew. As such, Machida seems unworried as to what Weidman may have learned from Thompson.
According to Machida he can find “holes” in Weidman’s stand-up game, and he can beat him “100%.”