Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida will head back to his hometown of Belem, Brazil to face off against the undefeated Eryk Anders for the main event of UFC Fight Night 125 on Saturday night.
Machida (22-8) is a former Light Heavyweight champion in UFC, but may be reaching the end of his career. Now 39 years old, the Brazilian (who now fights as a Middleweight) has lost four of his last five fights, and was knocked out in his last two bouts.
Anders Favored Over Aging Machida
Meanwhile, Anders (10-0) is one of the rising stars in the Middleweight division. A linebacker on the University of Alabama’s 2009 team that won an NCAA national championship. After 22 amateur fights, Anders turned pro in mixed martial arts in 2015, and has shown himself both to be an excellent athlete and an increasingly polished fighter.
Anders has installed as a -275 favorite at William Hill, and it is easy to see why he is expected to win the fight. The former football player has plenty of knockout power, scoring a first round KO against Rafael Natal in his UFC debut in July.
That’s a problem for the aging Machida (+210), who has been finished in his last three fights. As his athleticism has diminished over the years, his susceptibility to knockouts has increased, and Anders likes to land large numbers of heavy strikes throughout his fights. Of course, Machida also has the ability to end a fight in a quick flurry of strikes, meaning this could be an exciting and competitive fight even if Anders is the more likely victor.
Bantamweights Clash in Co-Main Event
The co-main event for the evening is much closer to a true toss-up. John Dodson (19-9) will face off against Pedro Munhoz (15-2) in a battle between two very different fighters that could make for an intriguing Bantamweight matchup.
Dodson is ranked eighth in the UFC’s Bantamweight division, and is one of the best athletes in MMA. Munhoz, ranked 10th, has only lost to two of the top fighters in the division (Raphael Assuncao and Jimmie Rivera), and offers a well-rounded set of skills that make him a difficult opponent for any fighter.
Despite his history of poor tactical fighting, Dodson probably has the better tool set overall, and that has made him a slight favorite at -150. But Munhoz is given every chance of winning the fight as just a +120 underdog, and as a Brazilian, he’ll certainly have the home crowd behind him.
Two other fights stand out as ones to watch at UFC Fight Night 125. In Women’s Flyweight action, Priscila Cachoeira (8-0) will make her UFC debut against Valentina Shevchenko (14-3). This will be a difficult first opponent for Cachoeira, as Shevchenko is a former Bantamweight contender. Shevchenko is heavily favored at -1000 odds against the inexperienced Cachoeira (+600).
More competitive should be a fight between Lightweights Michel Prazeres (23-2) and Desmond Green (20-6). Prazeres, an outstanding wrestler, takes a five-fight winning streak into the bout, while Green is a former Titan FC Featherweight champion. Prazares is a slight -150 favorite over Green (+120).