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UFC Fight Night 36 Preview

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Event: UFC Fight Night 36
Date: February 15, 2014
Venue: Arena Jaraguá
Location: Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil

Lyoto Machida (20-4) vs. Gegard Mousasi (34-3-2)

Sportsbook.ag Line: Machida -260, Mousasi +200

Lyoto Machida looks to build off a dominating victory as he faces Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Brazil.

In his last fight on Oct. 26, Machida looked as dominant as ever in a victory over Mark Munoz, delivering a vicious head-kick in the first round, and did not allow his opponent to land a single strike. In his previous fights, Machida was in the 205-pound weight class, where he had mixed results. He posted wins against Dan Henderson and Ryan Bader, but struggled in losses to Jon Jones and Phil Davis. The Brazilian Machida is an explosive athlete that is looking for a potential title belt, but will be going up against a much less accomplished fighter that is still looking to make a name for himself in the sport. Mousasi won his first UFC match against Ilir Latifi by decision in his most recent bout on April 6. Like Machida, he has been a fighter at the heavyweight class for much of his career, but now sees an opportunity to make some noise in the 185-pound weight class. While Mousasi is a talented fighter, he is going up against a guy in Machida that is oozing with confidence.

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Machida has shown throughout his career that he is able to win a fight in many different ways. Of his 20 career victories, 10 have come by way of decision with eight wins by knockout and two by submission. He is a fearless competitor, and the biggest advantage that Machida has going into this match is his experience in big fights. The 35-year-old who now fights out of Los Angeles is one of nine Brazilians to own a UFC championship at one time, and has fought some of the top fighters in the sport’s history. While "The Dragon" does not land as many significant strikes (2.78 per minute) compared to 3.81 for Mousasi, he is a little more accurate landing the punches (57% to 51%). He also does an outstanding job of avoiding the takedown, as he successfully defends 79 percent of his opponents' takedowns. With the fight being in his home country, Machida, who is a black belt in both Shotokan Karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, will come into this match with a lot of energy.

While he has only one UFC win, the 28-year-old Mousasi has been a star in MMA for years and is currently riding a seven-fight unbeaten streak (6-0-1). The Iranian-born Mousasi is a knockout specialist, as 19 of his career victories have come in that fashion. He also is terrific on the ground, with 10 wins by submission and only five victories by decision. He will look to use his takedown ability (1.8 average, 65% accuracy) to try and get Machida on the ground. While this is a strength for Mousasi, Machida has proven to be terrific against the takedown. Both of these opponents are versatile and can fight in any kind of bout. The key will be which guy is able get off to a fast start, as both of these fighters can end the match in a hurry once they gain confidence.

Ronaldo Souza (19-3) vs. Francis Carmont (22-7)

Sportsbook.ag Line: Souza -615, Carmont +415

Ronaldo Souza will look to continue his dominating streak as he goes up against Francis Carmont Saturday at UFC Fight Night 36 in Brazil.

Souza has been on quite the tear, winning his past five matches. Not only has he won those matches, but the last four have all been first-round finishes. In his most recent bout on Sept. 4 against Yushin Okami, he delivered a vicious knockout just 2:47 in to the fight, ending with a 28-1 advantage in striking. Souza has terrific strength for a fighter in the middleweight class, and uses that strength to overpower his opponent and set up the submission. While Carmont is looking to win the match in different fashion, he has been on an even more impressive run. He has won 11 consecutive fights, and is a perfect 6-0 in the UFC. At UFC 165 on Sept. 21, Carmont did a great job of wearing his opponent Costas Philippou down, and ultimately secured the victory by decision. This is the type of matchup where both fighters have to come out and set the pace of the fight early.

Of Souza’s 19 career victories, he has 14 wins by submission. He also has three wins by decision and two knockout victories as part of his 13 career first-round finishes. However, the 34-year-old who fights out of Rio de Janeiro is showing an improvement in his punching ability, as his two knockout victories have occurred in his past four matches (Okami and Derek Brunson). "Jacare" Souza is now 9-1 in his past 10 bouts and will have a major advantage when it comes to grappling, as he has a takedown average of 3.83, compared to just 2.45 for Carmont. However, Carmont does a terrific job of avoiding the takedown, defending 86 percent of his opponents' takedown attempts, compared to 50% for his opponent. Right now, Souza has a lot of momentum on his side and has an opportunity to inch closer to a title bout with a win. He will need to remain focused on this fight, as Carmont has the ability to steal a victory and make a run for the belt in his own right.

The Paris-born Carmont has 10 career wins by submission, as well as six victories by knockout and six via decision. The 32-year-old Carmont has shown the ability to be on the offensive during the fight, but has the cardio to back it up. His past three victories have all been decided by the judges, but he thoroughly dominated Costas Philippou five months ago with a 29-7 striking advantage and 5-0 takedown advantage. Carmont, who is a teammate of Georges St-Pierre, has a two-inch height advantage in this bout, but both fighters are very comparable when it comes to significant strikes landed per minute (Souza 2.33, Carmont 2.15). However, Carmont is more accurate with his strikes at 47% compared to 42% for Souza. But this fight is likely going to come down to Souza’s takedown attack against Carmont’s takedown defense.

UFC Fight Night 36 - Other Bouts

Welterweight Matchup
Albert Tumenov -155
Ildemar Alcantara +125

Featherweight Matchup
Felipe Arantes -105
Maximo Blanco -125

Bantamweight Matchup
Iuri Alcantara -280
Wilson Reis +220

Lightweight Matchup
Francisco Trinaldo -185
Jesse Ronson +155

Lightweight Matchup
Ivan Jorge -150
Rodrigo Damm +120

Lightweight Matchup
Joe Proctor -180
Cristiano Marcello +150

Middleweight Matchup
Ronaldo Souza -615
Francis Carmont +415

Featherweight Matchup
Charles Oliveira -625
Andy Ogle +425

Welterweight Matchup
Viscardi Andrade -130
Nicholas Musoke +100

Welterweight Matchup
Erick Silva -725
Takenori Sato +475

  
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