UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Anders Preview
A preview of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card, set to take place in Charlotte.
Updated: Jan. 31, 2018 • 7:46 PM ET
Lyoto Machida has been one of the most exiting fighters in the UFC over the past decade.
The UFC will return to Brazil for UFC Fight Night this Saturday. The Belem event will feature a middleweight fight between a Brazilian hero, No. 13 ranked Lyoto Machida, and a promising prospect in Eryk Anders in the five-round main event.
Machida, a former light heavyweight champion, is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Derek Brunson in October. It was his first fight in more than two years after serving an 18-month anti-doping suspension.
“The Dragon” turns 40 years old in May, but he doesn’t consider retirement an option at the moment.
“Of course, age comes for everyone,” Machida said during an online scrum with Brazilian reporters earlier this month via MMAjunkie. “But as long as I feel good and willing, as long as I have the feel to train and to take part, I don’t see why – as long as I can train well with the younger folk, people at a high level, who are fighting in the same promotion, I don’t think there’s a reason to think about stopping. I still have plenty left in the tank.”
Machida is riding a three-fight losing streak to top contenders, and a fourth straight defeat to a newcomer may be a true sign of the end for the Brazilian. He hasn’t won a fight since 2014.
Meanwhile, Anders, who is 2-0 in the UFC and 10-0 overall, is a former standout linebacker at college football powerhouse Alabama. His last victory was a unanimous decision win over Markus Perez in December. After the fight, he asked for a bout with the veteran Machida.
Anders has displayed raw power in his striking and given the fading durability of Machida’s chin, that power could result in a brutal win for Anders.
Co-main event - No. 8 John Dodson vs. No. 10 Pedro Munhoz
Saturday’s co-main event will be a bantamweight fight between No. 8 John Dodson and No. 10 Pedro Munhoz. Dodson lost a close decision to Marlon Moraes in November that could have gone to either fighter. He’s 2-2 in his last four with another close and controversial decision loss to John Lineker in October 2016.
Dodson is a former Ultimate Fighter winner and knocked out bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw in tremendous fashion to win the series in 2011. He has also challenged Demetrious Johnson for the flyweight title twice, losing both, though, by unanimous decision. A win would put him back on track to entering the top 5 of the bantamweight division and prove that the bad decision losses are behind him.
Brazilian Pedro Munhoz is on a four-fight win streak with his latest win earning Performance of the Night honors for his submission victory over Rob Font in October. His only two losses have come against two of the division’s best fighters in Jimmie Rivera and Raphael Assuncao. A win over Dodson would represent a marquee victory and establish him as a real threat in the bantamweight division.
Women’s Flyweight Fight - Valentina Shevchenko vs. Priscila Cachoeira
Former bantamweight title challenger Valentina Shevchenko will make her flyweight debut against Priscila Cachoeira this Saturday. Shevchenko is coming off a split-decision loss to bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in September, and she has victories over some of the best in the bantamweight division such as former champion Holly Holm and Julianna Pena.
Shevchenko’s move down to flyweight could spell trouble for the division, as she already had overwhelming strength and power at 135 pounds. Shevchenko believes the move down in weight is the best decision for her.
"I think this is the perfect weight class for me," Shevchenko told FloCombat in early January. "Because I fought at 125 naturally and I don't have to cut weight for 135. This is my normal walk weight and I can cut with just a little bit of a diet before the fight.
“It will be very good for me. I feel like every time when I fought at 135, I know my opponent is much taller than me, with much longer arms, legs. And that's why I have to think about distance and not receiving punches back when I move out from a close distance. I think in the flyweight division I will fight with the same size of girls like me. I will have more opportunity to explore and show more techniques and more skills and abilities that I have that I will be able to show like I did in Muay Thai. Now I will show it in MMA."
The Brazilian Cachoeira will make her UFC debut on Saturday. She has put together an 8-0 record in other organizations.
The Rest of the FS1 Main Card
Lightweight fight - Michel Prazeres vs. Desmond Green
Heavyweight fight - No. 15 Timothy Johnson vs. Marcelo Golm
Middleweight fight - No. 15 Thiago Santos vs. Anthony Smith
Welterweight fight - Sergio Moraes vs. Tim Means
Lightweight fight - Alan Patrick vs. Damir Hadzovic
Bantamweight fight - Douglas Silva de Andrade vs. Marlon Vera
Bantamweight fight - Iuri Alcantara vs. Joe Soto
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims
Flyweight fight - No. 14 Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Joseph Morales
Strawweight fight - Maia Stevenson vs. Polyana Viana