Karate chop: Lyoto Machida focusing on keeping the fight standing against Randy Couture

via mmafix.com

The term "grinder" is a naughty word in the world of mixed martial arts and any fighter with his name attached to it is essentially blacklisted from the hearts of fans.

Except Randy Couture.

"The Natural" is a legend in the sport who's built an entire career -- and sizable fanbase -- on imposing his will on his opponents via his often superior grappling abilities.

His style has served him well throughout his time in the cage; it's one suited quite nicely for someone at his advanced age. Now, at 47 and headed into the thirtieth fight of his storied career, the gameplan is no different.

He wants to grab Machida, take him down and choke him until he taps.

It's for that reason that "The Dragon" is drilling his takedown defense in advance of April 30 but he's also mixing it up with his Karate and boxing training. Obviously, that's where he stands the best chance of winning the fight (via Sherdog):

"Of course, I'll always train the ground and takedowns. Nevertheless, I've trained hard in my karate, mixing in muay Thai and boxing. We have trained many situations, and I've trained hard to fight standing because I think this is a fight I cannot let happen much on the ground. If the fight goes to the ground, he might score points, and that's the game he wants to play. He is very strong on top. I'm very focused on the fight standing because that's where I was born and where I always distinguish myself."

Indeed, Machida came to fame via an elusive stand-up style that baffled each and every one of the hapless opponents that ran up against him. 

So dominant was he, that after winning the light heavyweight title, complete with a spotless record and a stanky-leg knockout, color commentator Joe Rogan quickly ushered in the "Machida Era."

That proved premature, as the Brazilian lost his strap just one fight later and dropped consecutive bouts with a split decision defeat at the hands of "Rampage" Jackson.

Despite those losses, the allure of a fight against the puzzling Karate master was too much to pass up for Couture, who still wants to see if he can implement one of his notoriously brilliant gameplans and navigate his way through the maze.

The way he wants to do so is a strong wrestling base and a drag-it-out grind 'em down fight.

Contrasting styles will collide north of the border in the UFC's first trip to the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. But whose skills will prevail?


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