In MMA action on Saturday night, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida will look to remain undefeated in his rematch with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 113 in Montreal. Machida defeated Rua in October and looks to notch a convincing win in hopes of retaining his world championship.
Machida should have the edge, according to his jiu-jitsu coach Walter Broca, if the match goes to the ground. However, he has rarely featured his ground skills and only has two victories by submission. Some have doubted Machida’s ability on the floor, but Broca believes that he is much better than Rua on the ground and is an overall complete athlete.
“It’s amazing to talk about it,” Broca said. “Machida is a complete athlete at everything. Lyoto is a guy who learns really fast, and he likes to be on top or on the bottom. He’s a complete fighter. He has ability in any area. I’m a guy who has a good game on the floor, so I can speak to it. I train with him, and I know how hard it is to deal with him in any area.
“The world does not know his full potential,” he added. “He has not explored everything, and he’s the UFC champion. He’s very good on the ground and very good in wrestling. In striking, nothing needs to be said.”
In his first title defense against Rua at UFC 104 in October, Machida won a highly controversial decision. Now, he knows what to expect from Rua this time around according to Boca.
“It was his first title defense, so that’s always a little bit difficult,” he said. “Now he’s aware of Shogun’s game. This time, it will be easier to exploit his weaknesses.”
Rua, who has a professional record of 18-3, has been considered one of the top light heavyweights in the world for some time. He punishes his opponents and scores points in abundance with his powerful leg and body kicks. He used this strategy in his first fight with Machida and some believe it should have been enough to give him the win. He does have some impressive wins, including a first round KO over former world champion Chuck Liddell. Now, he has the opportunity to claim the No.1 ranking that quite a few feel he deserves.
Boca has a great deal of respect for Rua, but doesn’t feel he will come out on top on Saturday night.
“Shogun has good ground, but as I said, if Lyoto put on the gi, he would probably be near the top of the world in jiu-jitsu,” he said. “I think Machida has the advantage in stand-up, on the floor and in wrestling. He just has to know the right time to explore that.”
MMA sportsbooks seem to agree with Boca and have Machida as the favorite with odds at -185. Rua has his set at +155.