Everybody knows Lyoto Machida. His only definitive losses have come to Shogun and Jon Jones. He's had some other close decisions, some where the judges favored him, and others where I feel the judges made a mistake. He's incredible at hitting his opponent without getting hit. People originally thought he was just a points fighter, but he has gotten so good at hitting with accuracy and picking spots to go in for the kill that this is no longer an issue for him. Watching him in a standup fight will always be fascinating as his style is so different than his opponents.
Most UFC fans don't know as much about Gegard Mousasi, but this dude is the truth. In the last 7 1/2 years, he's lost once. And this fight marks his move back to middleweight which is a much better weight class for him as his biggest walking around weight was only about 210-215 pounds. It is either hilarious or maddening how much this guy seems to not give a shit when it comes to fighting. I once saw him in an exhibition against Fedor at an M-1 Global event, and he looked like he just woke up from a nap. He was sparring with the best fighter in the world at the time and was just going through the motions until Fedor through a left high kick that nearly took his head off. He seemed more upset that he was fully awake than anything else.
Also on that card was Muhammed Lawal (beating the shit out of Mark Kerr; it was originally scheduled to be Don Frye) who gave Mousasi his only recent loss. Lawal was able to do this, because Mousasi doesn't give a shit about wrestling defense. He still did more damage from his back than Lawal did from the top, but judges love position more than damage, so Lawal got the decision victory.
He had a draw with late-career Keith Jardine for the same reason. If somebody wanted to take him down, he'd let them. Luckily, he fought a lot of his career in Japan where Shinya Aoki was considered to have good takedowns (then he came to the United States where he was completely outclassed by real wrestlers), so it didn't matter. He could just stay on his feet and blast fools. He even did a little kickboxing where he showed that he's
Now it has been three years since Mousasi fought Jardine and four since he fought Lawal. There is a good possibility that his takedown defense has gotten better. But that's the beauty of this fight. It doesn't matter. These two are going to strike with each other, and Mousasi is silky smooth on his feet. He has that style that looks effortless but can still absolutely turn his opponent's lights out.
So I know that the names and hype aren't necessarily there tonight, but Machida vs. Mousasi is a fight that is going to deliver. I've loved Mousasi for a long time, but Machida is a guy who has made me look stupid many times in the past. Still, this is definitely a case of listening to my heart and taking Mousasi by TKO.