According to an interview with GracieMag.com, Rashad Evans believes he can frustrate and bother Lyoto Machida:
"Probably after my fight with Tito Ortiz. After that fight I really believed I could make it. That was when I thought: ‘These guys aren’t that much better than me. I can fight these guys, and I can beat these guys.’ [Lyoto is] a very strategic fighter, just as I am. It will surely be a tough fight. I think if we fight, the winner will be the one with the better strategy. Machida is a really tough and disciplined fighter. He doesn’t get emotionally shaken in his fights, for being so disciplined. When this fight happens, I’m go to make him frustrated and bothered in the octagon. It will be a tough fight, for sure."
The quote is interesting for a number of reasons. It shows the huge boost in Rashad's confidence following the Tito Ortiz fight. In watching some of the fights following the Ortiz bout, it's evident that he feels much more comfortable against better competition, almost to the point where he has a swagger about him. This is probably due to the fact that Evans found out that he can physically and skillfully compete with some of the top guys in the division. Knocking out Chuck Liddell further cemented that confidence.
The real question becomes whether Rashad can frustrate and bother Lyoto Machida in this matchup and how he intends to do that? My gut tells me that this fight could see both guys using a similar gameplan in trying to stay away and waiting out each other to move. Machida has shown a reluctance to do so in almost every single fight, and he relies on his opponent making the first move to counter. Evans has equally used the same gameplan, although he's also managed to use his quickness to beat opponents to the punch... literally.
I'm still leaning toward a Machida win here. I still believe that even if Rashad decides to sit back and wait for Machida, Machida's dynamic striking will score the points to win this one. He has solid leg kicks, dynamic striking in terms of using those leg kicks to keep his opponent at bay. His hands are obviously very quick as well, and this is where fans believe Evans has the edge. I'm not so sure. Machida's elusiveness is definitely a big issue here, and I've never seen Evans simply frustrate someone. Machida's style has visibly frustrated nearly every fighter he's faced.