UFC Fight Night primer: Lyoto Machida vs Gegard Mousasi

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bloody Elbow presents a preview of UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi live from Brazil in our fight card primer series. Here we look at the main event: Lyoto Machida vs Gegard Mousasi live on Fox Sports 1.

In the main event at UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi, former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida (20-4 MMA; 12-4 UFC) takes on former Dream and Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi (34-3-2 MMA; 1-0 UFC). This five round Middleweight fight headlines the five fight main card live on Fox Sports 1. The UFC Rankings have Machida as the #4 contender at Middleweight, while Mousasi is unranked. UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi is live from Jaragua, Brazil and airs this Saturday, February 15 on Fox Sports 1 with a late start time of 10:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. PT for the main card.

Machida vs. Mousasi is a very interesting fight, and the perfect headliner for a Fight Night card. Both are supremely talented men who, when they are firing on all cylinders, look like Pound for Pound greats. But both have also had their ups and downs - Mousasi much more so than Machida. If they both come in to this fight crisp, determined, and ready, this could be a classic where the winner immediately thrusts himself into the intriguing Middleweight title picture.

How do these two stack up?

Machida: 35 years old | 6'1" | 74" reach
Mousasi: 28 years old | 6'1" | 76" reach

What have these two done recently?

Machida: W - Mark Munoz (KO) | L - Phil Davis (UD) | W - Dan Henderson (SD)
Mousasi: W - Ilir Latifi (UD) | W - Mike Kyle (Sub) | W - Ovince St. Preux (UD)

How did these two get here?

When Lyoto Machida won the UFC Light Heavyweight title from Rashad Evans in 2009, he looked like an unbeatable superman - a modern day ninja whose tricky karate and rarely seen jiu jitsu made him virtually invincible. Years since have been less kind, as the once undefeated champion is a just barely above .500 5-4 since winning the belt. After a highly contentious loss to Phil Davis last year, Machida decided to drop down to Middleweight. His 185 debut could not have gone any better, as he crushed Mark Munoz in just 3 minutes. Is the shift in weight classes the spark Machida needed to re-ignite the famed "Machida Era"? We'll get more of an answer to that question tonight.

More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC Fight Night: Machida vs Mousasi

Gegard Mousasi is a tough fighter to figure out. Until 2009, he was absolutely incredible, with an amazing 28-2-1 record, titles in different weight classes in Dream and Strikeforce, accomplishments in kickboxing... Mousasi was a beast. Then he lost his Strikeforce belt in a lopsided decision to King Mo, and he's never really recovered. Mousasi is undefeated since that loss, but all of his momentum is gone, as a combination of Strikeforce/Dream organizational problems, injury, and a seeming lack of focus have impacted his MMA fight schedule. Tonight marks only his 3rd fight since 2011, and his first time at Middleweight since defeating Jacare in 2008. There's no doubt that he has the potential to be a world class, top-end fighter. There is doubt if he has the drive to turn that potential into reality. He may not need a win here, but he does need a good showing.

Why should you care?

If you've only seen Mousasi's one UFC fight, I understand thinking he kind of stinks. And yes, if that Mousasi shows up again, I won't be thrilled. But if he is on point, this will be great.

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