Eryk “Ya Boy” Anders wanted it, now Anders is getting it: A chance to go to Brazil, his wife’s place of birth. He didn’t just get the dream destination either. After publicly calling for a shot at the Brazilian former-light heavyweight champion, he faces Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida in Brazil...in Machida’s hometown no less.
While Anders prefers to fight on short notice, he and Machida have a full camp for this one:
Those, Anders said, are preferable “rather then wait three months, train three months with no action, with no competition. I feel like sometimes, this isn’t my first time doing this as a professional, and I feel like the longer that I train without a fight, without that break, the more chances there are for overtraining, injuries, stuff like that.”
Anders is the more physically imposing of the two, more powerful and more aggressive, and has the reach advantage by a good bit over Machida, who has short arms even for his weight class. The once-invincible Machida has advantages in grappling and traditional martial arts, and they are noticeable. Machida is a third-degree black belt in Shotokan karate and has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Machida has smooth open hips, and at one point was lightning fast, quickly able to go on the offense from nearly every point in the octagon.
Of course, the book on Machida is that he’s too passive and doesn’t use his considerable skills advantage to the degree that he ought, instead waiting for the fight to come to him. That plays in to Anders’ game. Ya Boy has a low center of gravity, cuts off angles with his reach, and is very aggressive with his more powerful boxing skills to get the knockout. But, perhaps Anders’ greatest advantage in this emotional bout for both men, is Father Time. Machida (22-8, 9TKO) comes into this one the loser of three straight and fresh off an 18-month PED suspension. You wouldn’t know it looking at him, but Machida is pushing 40. Anders (10-0, 6TKO) is a full decade younger and in his physical prime.
The Anders - Machida middleweight bout is the main on February 3, 2018, live from Manguerinho Arena in Belem, Brazil. UFC Fight Night 125 will be broadcast live on FS1.