Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida is now just hours away and the matchup between the two unbeaten lightweights can’t come soon enough for this MMA fan.
It’s seems like it’s been an eternity since we’ve seen anything resembling a real MMA fight. It’s been a month of Jose Canseco, Shaq and Roy Jones Jr. talking about entering the sport, as if anyone should care about that nonsense. But unfortunately, some do.
Then there was the sideshows within MMA like Fedor Emelianenko fighting a man 70 pounds lighter than him in an “exhibition” and Affliction promoter Tom Atencio challenging UFC President Dana White to a fight, to which White responded by calling Atencio a “goof.”
Inside the ring we saw the end of MMA legends Chuck Liddell and Frank Shamrock, while Tito Ortiz continues to flip-flop over which promotion he’s going to sign with next. And perhaps the most mind-boggling mystery of all to comprehend is one of the sport’s most feared strikers – Anderson Silva – has all of a sudden become a “counter puncher” versus inferior opponents.
So finally, through all the drama and sideshows, we have what we as fans strive to see in this sport: two fighters in the prime of their careers fighting for a title. Evans and Machida are arguably two of the five best fighters on a lot of people’s pound-for-pound lists and on Saturday night they settle round one in the cage.
I say round one because this is a feud between two young, talented fighters that is not likely to be decided Saturday night, regardless of who emerges victorious. More than likely, these two are on a collision course to fight three times throughout their long and lustrous careers.
The fight is tough to predict, largely due to Machida’s unorthodox style. But remember one thing about Machida; he reacts to his opponent’s style of fighting. How many boring fights have you seen Evans involved in?
Evans is going to come straight-forward and force the action, that’s just his style. That’s the way he fights. There may be times during the bout where Machida is successful in playing keep-a-way but overall, I think these two are going to deliver an action packed fight.
There has been a lull in MMA over last few weeks but that’s about to change. Following UFC 98, Strikeforce is putting out a real strong card on June 6, headlined by Jake Shields vs. Robbie Lawler. Also on that card is a heavyweight tilt I can’t wait to see between Andrei Arlovski and Brett Rogers.
The following night WEC puts on maybe the company’s biggest fight ever in the much anticipated rematch between featherweight champion Mike Brown and No. 1 contender Urijah Faber. Brown caught Faber the last time out with a big right hand but my bet is “The California Kid” comes back with a vengeance in what could turn out to be a classic.
So don’t worry fight fans. While the sideshows and melodramas have been dominating the news of late, there is a summer of great fights on the horizon, kicking off with Evans vs. Machida Saturday night and culminating at historic UFC 100 in June. Finally, the fights and the fighters will be the focus once again. What a novel idea.