Ah, to be a dork this summer. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is already out. Then the Star Trek and Terminator franchises are receiving a makeover. Don’t forget the sixth Harry Potter hits the silver screen this summer, and how could I forget Michael Bay’s ode to himself in Transformers 2? Did I mention that Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida will be fighting as well?
That’s right Evans vs. Machida is a fight that only a fight dork could love. Luckily for me that’s exactly what I am.
The light heavyweight title match later this May will be the ultimate physical chess match, well besides chess boxing, and I can’t wait to see what these unique fighters bring to the table.
In one corner there is Lyoto ‘The Dragon’ Machida. A karate fighter that has yet to be defeated in his professional career. While Lyoto Machida takes a lot of flak for being evasive, it is one of the reasons why he is such a great fighter. Much like a guerilla commando, Machida is always moving, probing and striking. Never staying in one place long enough to be caught but constantly adapting and changing the cadence of a fight. Sun Tzu would be proud of this modern warrior. The less educated fan may bemoan the style as cowardly or boring but I find it a fascinating application of a martial arts form that the MMA community thought was irrelevant sometime ago.
Opposite of Machida is ‘Sugar’ Rashad Evans; a fighter that continues to surprise everyone since his debut on the second season of The Ultimate Fighter. In Evans past two fights he has completely reinvented himself into a well rounded champion. Once simply a wrestler—who looked far from impressive in a victory over Michael Bisping and a draw against Tito Ortiz—now Evans demonstrates excellent boxing an instinct for finishing fights. A great trait for the light heavyweight champion to have. But can Evans match Machida’s unorthodox striking and movement or will he Evans employ a more wrestling-centric game plan?
Evans greatest asset may be the man in his corner, Greg Jackson. Jackson has elevated himself to Freddie Roach status within the MMA community. Many feel he is the supreme tactician within mixed-martial arts, and his camp contains an impressive cadre of fighters. Now whether Jackson can utilize his impressive intellect (his favorite philosophers are Hume and Descartes) to find a crack in Machida’s armor remains to be seen.
While the fight may not be filled with the adequate amounts of blows and blood for a certain quality of fan, it will have no shortage of cerebral combat. After all, both fighters are dealing with an extremely intelligent, dangerous and adaptable opponent so it makes sense that will be cautious and prudent in executing the fight. But that doesn’t mean that these two fighters won’t be engaging in top-level MMA, and I know I can’t wait to see what happens.
Zak Woods is the founder of the mixed martial arts blog WatchKalibRun.com.