Rashad has improved leaps and bounds since the Tito fight and is a totally different fighter now. No point of mentioning it, or anything before the Chuck fight IMO.
Thiago Silva has a padded record, has always been overrated and stylistically a perfect match-up for Machida: an aggressive, always coming forward with his guard wide open, very slow striker with an average chin. The fact that Machida KO'd anybody after several years just proved it.
While Machida's TDD for single and double legs is very good, he remains vulnerable to Judo type TDs. He's been taken down several times with ease by Sokky and Nakamura in their fights. Rashad's Judo is nowhere near Sokky's level but he's got some solid technique and I can see him using it to take Machida down. Rashad has also some really good slams and he can use it in the clinch to end up on in Lyoto's half or full guard. I think both fighters will be on top of the other at some point, questions are will Machida be able to keep Rashad there and possibly submit him, and will Rashad display the top game he did against Griffin and finish Machida with GnP?
Now the stand up. This is going to be a pure chess match my friends lol. They are both counter punchers so I don't expect any of them taking the role of the aggressor for 5 rounds. It will be interesting to see who will be throwing first. I'm expecting lots of feints thrown by both fighters here and there to get the other one engaging first. IMO Rashad will be taking the center of the Octagon a bit like he did against Forrest, eating strikes (he won't be scared of Lyoto's, they're not powerful and dude has an iron chin) and trying to catch Machida as he's coming in. Lyoto will be using lots of movement to strike and score, and step back asap to stay out of Rashad's power. But Lyoto WILL get hit by Rashad in the face, anyone saying he won't because he "hasn't been hit before" need to rewatch his previous fights and need to think about Rashad's outstanding hand speed for a LHW. Lyoto's elusiveness relies on timing and speed and I believe Rashad's great hand speed and good timing will nullify part of Lyoto's biggest strength. He'll be looking less "elusive" against Rashad than he did against slow strikers like Tito or Thiago Silva (btw expect Machida to come in much lighter than he was against Thiago). So Lyoto should get hit more than usual by Rashad (+ this is a 5 rounder) but will it be enough for him to go down? I think the dragon has a good chin but Rashad on the other hand has some serious power in both hands. Another way I could see Rashad taking it would be by catching one of Lyoto's kicks (he throws lazy ones sometimes) and capitalize on it to finish the fight.
Rashad's a patient man. He'll have 5 rounds to capitalize on a mistake and/or catch Machida. If he does, he'll win via (T)KO, if not, he'll lose via decision.
Last edited by Xerxes : 04-02-2009 at 05:55 AM.