1. Has Machida Developed A Definitive Answer For Shogun’s Kicks?
Lyoto Machida’s defenses seemed virtually impenetrable in his professional MMA career until Mauricio Rua’s kicks proved to be an effective weapon and showed that the champion was human after all.
The question now is whether Machida has been able to head back to the drawing board and come up with an answer for them, and if so, what does it entail?
My personal feeling is that he won’t do anything drastically different, but rather will simply refine the core of his current style – his base, his distance and his timing to counter-act the threat. If that does prove to be the case, will it be enough to swing the fight in his favor?
2. Will Shogun Look To Implement A Different Game-plan?
The other intriguing aspect of this fight is how Shogun will approach a second fight against the champion. Will he continue with his kick-based strategy, or will he look to go in a completely different direction, such as taking the fight to the mat?
To my mind a combination of both makes sense. If the fight ends up being as close as the last time they fought then scoring a takedown or two along the way could make all the difference in the final scorecards.
3. Can Either Man End This Fight Definitively?
The best way to ensure that there’s no repeat of the controversy of the previous fixture is if the bout ends inside the distance.
In the build-up to the title showdown both Machida and Shogun have suggested that they will be looking for the finish, but to do so would likely require a more aggressive strategy than either man displayed in their original encounter.
4. If the Fight Goes To A Decision, Will The Judges Get It Right?
If neither man can find a way to finish the fight then the two fighters fate once again lies in the hands of the judges. After the backlash that they faced from all quarters for the verdict in the UFC 104 encounter, it will be interesting to see what, if any, influence that will have on the way they score the rematch.
If this turns out to be another close fight, will they now be more likely to be biased in favor of Shogun after everything that’s happened?
5. Is The Fight Going To Live Up To Expectations?
There’s been some rumblings of discontent recently regarding the UFC’s headline fights. GSP’s five round domination of Dan Hardy on the ground at UFC 111 wasn’t to some fans liking, while UFC 112’s main event between Anderson Silva and Demian Maia was almost universally criticized.
Therefore there is a lot resting on Machida and Rua’s shoulders to deliver in their long awaited rematch at UFC 113. This is by no means a fight that guarantees fireworks and blockbuster entertainment though.
With so much riding on the result for both men it’s just as likely to be another tense, strategic bout that goes the full five rounds, or indeed as happened in the recent Henderson Vs Cerrone rematch, it may end far quicker than anyone had anticipated.