The stage is set for a potential war between one of the most tricky strikers in the game, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, going against the defending middleweight titleholder, Chris Weidman, for the main event of fight night Saturday’s pay-per-view (PPV) card. This will be the first time Weidman will face someone not named Anderson Silva in a while, but his next opponent poses the same kind of threats in all areas of MMA.

Now let’s dig deeper into this matchup, shall we?

A big part of Weidman’s performance will be based on whether he can nullify Machida’s sneaky attacks by using his superior ground game, much like he’s done in the past with heavy hitters such as Mark Munoz and Silva. If he can keep Machida honest on the feet and weary of the takedown, it’s gonna make timing power strikes a lot easier if this happens to enter rounds 3, 4 and 5. I do expect things to start off a little slower than a typical Weidman fight, but I don’t expect this to enter the championship rounds. There’s just too much finishing instincts on both sides. Sure, Lyoto does tend to sit back and not really engage his opponent in the striking, but something tells me Weidman has the recipe to force him into a real mixed martial arts match that will test the Dragon’s mettle in all areas, where “All-American” should win more often than not.

If there’s one thing that separates Anderson Silva’s stand up technique from Machida’s it’s that Silva doesn’t really stay light on his feet as often as The Dragon, and that can be beneficial to him in a five-round battle with a powerhouse like Weidman. Instead of waiting around for the brute wrestler to set a high pace, he can try to puzzle the champ using quick feet and strikes from far outside. But the Shotokan karate stylists way of leaping in and out could also be his undoing this weekend. One thing that is surprising to many is Weidman’s timing on take downs and power strikes. Weidman’s ground and pound and positional grappling is what makes him so effective in MMA. He has a good single-leg and upper body take downs, while Machida is mostly just a striker.

When speaking on who has more ways to win this one, you can’t say Weidman isn’t that guy.

Prediction- Weidman by TKO