The UFC travels overseas for the first time in 2018 with UFC Fight Night 125 in Brazil.
In the main event, Lyoto Machida looks to snap a losing streak against the undefeated Eryk Anders.
Height: 6’1″ (186cm)
Reach: 74.0″ (188cm)
Lyoto Machida’s days might be ending, but they’re not over just yet.
“The Dragon” returned to the octagon in October last year when he faced Derek Brunson at UFC Fight Night 119. In a disappointing way to end the night for the Brazilian fans there, Machida was knocked out after just 2:30 of action. The loss means that Machida hasn’t experienced victory since December 2014 when he defeated C.B. Dollaway at UFC Fight Night 58.
But instead of receiving a relatively easier fight, Machida is now up against one of the rising stars in the division – Eryk Anders.
Height: 6’1″ (185cm)
Eryk Anders only recently arrived in the UFC but has done some significant work in the short time he has been there.
He got things going when he knocked out Rafael Natal in the first round at UFC on FOX 25, despite entering the contest on short notice. He then backed it up with a victory in a battle of two undefeated fighters when he met Markus Perez at UFC Fight Night 123.
There should be no questioning Eryk Anders intentions in this bout. Despite showcasing gradually improving stand-up abilities, he is likely to still be out of his league when striking with “The Dragon”.
Although many of Machida’s attributes are clearly deteriorating, particularly his speed and power, he still has an incredible ability to time his opponent and set traps. Brunson managed to catch Machida only because he very smartly smothered the former champion before launching a devastating punch. Anders would need to play a similarly dangerous game if he wants to score a KO in this match-up.
The safest route is, of course, get Machida to the mat. Anders’ wrestling ability and athleticism should be enough to move Machida around the cage before shooting for single-leg takedowns and then slicing through the guard. If Anders gets an opponent to the ground, he is usually quite capable of stopping the fight. But it remains to be seen just how easy he can manipulate Machida in this contest.
In fact, we might see a more patient Anders than usual, and that combined with a usually counter-striking focused Machida will result in a possibly uneventful main event.
It’s hard to see Anders losing this contest considering he is the naturally more explosive and athletically gifted of the two. Machida is still capable of stunning Anders with some big shots here and there, but it will take something we haven’t seen before to end Anders’ night early.
Prediction: Eryk Anders by KO/TKO (ground and pound) – Round 3
The best bet in this scenario is taking the + odds on this fight lasting longer than 2.5 rounds.
Lyoto Machida vs. Eryk Anders
Total Rounds – Over 2.5
Sunday, 4 February – 1:00 am (ET) / 6:00am (GMT)
Odds: +140 – BetOnline