UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida Preview
A preview of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card, set to take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Updated: Oct. 25, 2017 • 3:30 PM ET
Lyoto Machida's lengthy hiatus finally ends this weekend.
UFC Fight Night 119 heads back to Brazil this Saturday and will feature a top talent looking to make a statement, and the return of a former champion. Derek Brunson, the No. 7 ranked middleweight in the world, will take on Brazilian legend Lyoto Machida in a fight that means something vastly different to both fighters.
For Brunson, Saturday’s clash is a chance to defeat a legend and prove that he belongs in the top 5 of the middleweight rankings. He’s coming off a first-round TKO and dismantling of Daniel Kelly in June. Prior to defeating Kelly, Brunson was on a two-fight losing skid with losses to interim champion Robert Whitaker and long-time champion Anderson Silva.
The loss to Silva was highly controversial, as Brunson landed more strikes and two takedowns in the fight. A win over Machida, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, would be a career defining victory for Brunson. Brunson has put together impressive win streaks, but when fighting the top contenders in the middleweight division, he has failed to be victorious.
Machida will fight for the first time since June 2015. Last November, the United States Anti-Doping Agency suspended the 39-year-old for 18 months after a sample collection in April 2016. Machida tested positive and disclosed his usage of a product containing the banned substance 7-keto-dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), but he claimed he didn’t know the substance was banned. Nevertheless, USADA showed no leniency. The fight against Brunson is a chance to finally put it all behind him.
"The supplements I use are pretty simple, whey protein, thing like that,” Machida recently told MMA Fighting. "Sometimes we tend to judge people for what happens, but everyone is subject to this because many people don’t know that doping is not only anabolic steroids. It can be a lot of things, and anyone is subject to going through a situation like this. I learned a lot.”
Prior to his suspension, Machida lost two straight contests to Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero, respectively, and he hasn’t won a fight since December 2014. It’s difficult to determine how a fighter of Machida’s age will return to the Octagon after such a long layoff, but his unorthodox striking style is still dangerous for any fighter. During his respected career, Machida has had key wins over other big MMA names, including Gegard Mousasi, Dan Henderson, Ryan Bader, Rashad Evans, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, BJ Penn and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Saturday night’s co-main event is a welterweight bout between a highly ranked veteran and a rising star looking to make a statement.
No. 3 ranked welterweight Demian Maia is fighting for the first time since losing to champion Tyron Woodley in July. He’ll take on the No. 8 ranked welterweight, Colby Covington, with the benefit, or perhaps the added pressure, of fighting in his native Brazil.
Prior to the unanimous decision loss to Woodley, Maia had reeled off seven straight victories, using his superb jiu-jitsu to his advantage against his opposition. Covington has high-level wrestling, which Maia will certainly test. Woodley was the first and only fighter to completely shut down Maia’s takedown attempts, so Covington will have his hands full.
Covington is riding a four-fight win streak, but Maia will without a doubt be his toughest opponent yet. He last defeated Dong Hyun Kim in June, and his last loss was in December 2015 to Warlley Alves. A win over Maia would likely propel him into the top 5 of the welterweight division.
A win for Maia would put him right back in the title conversation, but he would have to wait for his shot at the belt. UFC president Dana White has announced that the winner of December’s fight in Winnipeg between Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos will get the next title shot.
Rest of the FS1 main card
Bantamweight fight: No. 12 Pedro Munhoz vs. No. 13 Rob Font
Lightweight fight: Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jim Miller
Middleweight fight: No. 15 Thiago Santos vs. Jack Hermansson
Bantamweight fight: No. 5 John Lineker vs. Marlon Vera
Welterweight fight: Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price
Middleweight fight: Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Jack Marshman
Lightweight fight: Hacran Dias vs. Jared Gordon
Welterweight fight: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Max Griffin
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims
Flyweight fight: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Jarred Brooks
Heavyweight fight: Marcelo Golm vs. Christian Colombo