clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Keys to Victory! Who will win Derek Brunson vs. Lyoto Machida UFC Fight Night 119 main event fight tonight

UFC 104: Machida vs. Shogun Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

The puzzling striking of Lyoto Machida returns later tonight (Sat., Oct. 28, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 119 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside Ginasio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as the former UFC light heavyweight champion steps back inside of the Octagon against veteran contender Derek Brunson.

Machida will be making his first appearance since losing to Yoel Romero via knockout back in June of 2015. Unfortunately for “The Dragon,” his return will not be an easy one, as the 39-year-old must wade through the punching power and aggressive wrestling style of Brunson.

In order to prepare ourselves for Machida’s main event clash with Brunson later this evening in Sao Paulo, we take a closer look at the keys to victory for each fighter.

Derek Brunson

1. Pressure early...

Considering Machida is fighting under the bright lights of the Octagon for the first time in well over two years, Brunson would only be hurting himself if he doesn’t turn the pressure up early. Because it doesn’t matter who it is, cage rust is real and more than capable of slowing down a fighter who needs time to get up to fight speed.

That said, Machida is one of the best counter strikers the UFC has ever seen, so it’s extremely important that Brunson approaches the Brazilian in a cautious, yet aggressive, matter. He needs to throw heavy leather early and give Machida little time to regain his composure after such a long layoff.

2. Stalk and slam...

While Brunson’s punching power can take out almost anyone at 185 pounds, including Machida, the most resourceful way for the 33-year-old to defeat “Dragon” while absorbing limited damage is to lean on his wrestling. People tend to forget that Brunson scored three unanswered takedowns against Romero a few years back, so he’s more than capable of using his athletic base and powerful drive to force Machida to the canvas.

Once there, Brunson will need to take a page out of Chris Weidman’s book to score points in bunches against the black belt and sap his energy from top control. This vastly limits Machida’s offensive abilities and immediately puts his conditioning under the spotlight.

Lyoto Machida

1. Quickly establish range...

Not fighting in over two years is never a good thing, unless you’re off making movies or marrying supermodels. So when Machida steps back inside the Octagon later this evening on home soil he’s going to have to make up for lost time. The end goal is obviously a victory over Brunson, but “The Dragon” will also try to regain his former prowess.

In order to do so he’ll have to establish his range has quickly as possible. The longer it takes for the Brazilian to refine his distance control, angle work, counter striking, and footwork, the more dangerous the fight becomes for him. Brunson may very well come out firing in his second UFC main event bid, so it’s key that Machida is at his best self when the powerful knockout artist bulls forward.

2. Pace and preserve...

The promotion is really turning the heat up on Machida in his return to the Octagon. Not only is UFC throwing him a superlative finisher like Brunson, but they’re booking “The Dragon” for a five-round main event. That is usually a good thing for a title contender like Machida, but not when he hasn’t fought in 28 months.

As it is for any fighter, especially an aging one, coming back from such a long hiatus, Machida must pace his output and regain the feeling of being in a main event fight. If he’s unable to preserve his energy and pick his windows of opportunity then an athletic-gifted finisher like Brunson is going to take full advantage in the later rounds.

Prediction: Brunson via second-round TKO will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 119 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 2 at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania