“UFC Tonight” hosts Kenny Florian and Brian Stann offered up their thoughts on the keys to Saturday’s UFC Fight Night main event contest between Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi.
Machida, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, earned a knockout victory over Mark Munoz in his middleweight debut last year.
Mousasi also scored a win in his Octagon debut a year ago at light heavyweight. He has bounced between divisions for the majority of his career.
“He’s a tricky southpaw,” said Florian, of Machida. “He’s so accurate with his striking. He’s excellent on the ground, too. He has to control the range.
“He’s been able to dominate with his style. He has to be the first and use the speed advantage. He can’t let Mousasi take charge in the fight and he has to finish strong each round.”
Machida has defeated the likes of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Rashad Evans, Randy Couture, BJ Penn and Tito Ortiz during his career.
“Machida has looked fantastic in this division,” Stann said. “He’s smaller for the light heavyweight division. In this division, he can be faster and more aggressive.”
As for Mousasi, Stann believes “He’s a very great striker. He’s got fantastic timing, (and) when he gets you on the ground, he hammers you.
“He needs to push the pace, use movement and feints and disrupt the timing of Machida. He has to use leg kicks to finish his combinations.”
Florian questioned the 10 months off Mousasi has had since his last fight, adding, “that can really affect your timing and rhythm.
“Mousasi is a smart guy. He’s a former champion and has beaten some of the best guys in both middleweight and light heavyweight.”