Michael Rome continues to try and reason out how Rashad Evans can win against Lyoto Machida at UFC 98:
Dirty boxing deep into a fight appears to be Machida’s greatest weakness. He was hit by Tito from that position a few times in the third, and Nakamura had some success late in this fight. He landed one great elbow in the clinch that shook Machida up. At the same time, he was dominant in the clinch early on, so maybe it’s a cardio issue for Machida? People blame his exhaustion in the Tito fight on the flu, but he didn’t really get stronger as the fight went on in this one. Perhaps cardio for Lyoto is more of a question than we think.
I did a post a week or two ago on what Rashad needed to do to win, and after watching this fight and others it’s clear to me that he needs to spend a significant amount of time training the clinch. If Machida controls the clinch, he controls the fight, and Rashad has to be able to punish Machida with knees or dirty boxing whenever he initiates it.
At first everyone was saying Evans needs to take Machida down. Now as the fight draws nearer, people are starting to admit that taking down Machida is probably the kind of thing that results in a few rounds of frustration followed by a starching similar to what Thiago Silva received. Some have suggested Evans should try and doppelganger Machida, but you can’t out-slut the town slut. Are you fucking crazy?
My suggestion is that Rashad gets his bodyguard to go whack Machida on the knee with tire rod. Then we can stop thinking hard about strategy and gameplans and just enjoy a good old slugfest like Rashad / Rampage.