In the semi-main event at UFC on Fox 4, former UFC champion Lyoto Machida (17-3 MMA; 9-3 UFC) faces Ryan Bader (14-2 MMA; 7-2 UFC). This Light Heavyweight fight is the third of four main card fights to air on Fox. Machida is currently ranked #5 in the world according to the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, with Bader a few spots below him at #7. UFC on Fox 4 airs live on Fox Saturday night August 4 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
According to our rankings, this is a battle between two top 10 fighters, which is reason to be interested. Plus, Dana White stated that the winner here could be next in line for Jon Jones (or Dan Henderson) and the UFC Light Heavyweight title. But with both men sporting rather recent loses to to Jones, it's a little harder to get excited about either Lyoto or Bader as the new #1 contender. Still, this should be an interesting battle of Machida's technique vs. Bader's wrestling and power.
How do these two stack up?
Machida: 34 years old | 6'1" | 74" reach
Bader: 29 years old | 6'2" | 74" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida is a former Light Heavyweight champion who was, at one time, seen as potentially the dominant Light Heavyweight of the era - an unbeatable martial arts superman. But ever since his two battles with Shogun Rua, he's looked distinctly mortal, going just 1-2 since losing the belt. In fact, since winning the title in an amazing performance against Rashad Evans, his only wins have been a highly contested decision over Shogun, and a win over an aged Randy Couture in Couture's final fight. He did have some success against Jones in round 1 of their battle, but left that fight unconscious in a heap on the mat. If the Machida Era is going to return, it needs to happen now.
Ryan "Darth" Bader is a TUF champion who started his career impressively, going on a 12-0 run. But back to back loses last year against Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz really set him back. He's had two wins since then, including the biggest win of his career over Rampage in his last outing. Those wins have helped to put the Ortiz fight behind him, though that loss will likely color fan perception of him for quite some time. Bader is a good wrestler, with heavy hands and KO power, but some holes in his striking defense. Next to Jones, this is the toughest test of his career.
Why should you care?
Dana wants you to care because of the title implications, but frankly, I'm more interested just for the match-up. This could provide a fun clash of styles, and I'm intrigued to see who can best implement his game. Plus I am always a sucker for watching Lyoto do his thing.
More UFC on Fox 4 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.