On Saturday, December 20, Lyoto Machida will enter the Octagon for the first time since his failed title bid against UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC 175 in July.

At UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dollaway, the former light heavyweight champion will look to close 2014 with a win in front of his countrymen at the Ginasio Jose Correa in Barueri, Brazil against C.B. Dollaway.

While Dollaway is a game opponent, he is not on Machida’s level. Machida is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world today and his blend of karate, sumo and BJJ have made him one of the most difficult matchups in the sport.

Dollaway has earned his shot at the former champion by racking up impressive wins in back-to-back outings, but he just doesn’t have the weapons to threaten Machida anywhere. Machida should cruise to an easy victory, but anything can happen in this unpredictable sport.

Utilize Distance

Machida is a unique striker as he utilizes a more tradition karate style and stance. He knows how to create attack angles and he knows how to get in and out better than most fighters in the sport today. Machida doesn’t excel when fighting in the pocket; he is at his best on the outside where he can draw opponents in and counter.

Dollaway isn’t a dangerous striker in the pocket, but he is a solid wrestler with improved striking. Staying out of the clinch and avoiding damage from short punches will be key for Machida on Saturday.

Don’t Initiate the Grappling

While Machida is a very good grappler and an effective MMA wrestler, he has a huge advantage over Dollaway on the feet. Dollaway has a solid wrestling background and he has shown solid submission skills over the years. Even though Machida would still have a slight edge on the ground, there is no reason to level the playing field against a fighter as hungry as Dollaway.

Be Aggressive

There is no question that Machida is an elite fighter and a dangerous striker, but if there is one thing he has had problems with from time to time its aggression. Granted Machida is a counter striker, but there are times when his lack of aggression has cost him fights; see his bouts against Phil Davis and Quinton Jackson. When he pushes the pace and presses the action, Machida is a killer. If he wants to get back into the title picture anytime soon, he is going to need to show off that killer instinct.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.