Phil Davis and Lyoto Machida’s first match from 2013
Photo: CBS Sports
A fight set to determine the No. 1 contender for the Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship features a rematch between Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis. The two are set to brawl in the main event at Bellator 245 on Friday, September 11th.
The fighters previously fought seven years ago while both were in the UFC. That match ended in a narrow decision in favor of Davis but many had felt that Machida had been the true winner. Machida will not only get his chance to settle the score against Davis, he will be fighting for an opportunity at the title as well.
Machida and Davis have had their share of ups-and-downs since the last time they met. Davis won the Light Heavyweight title back in 2016 but subsequently lost the belt in his first title defense against Ryan Bader, who held the title until losing it earlier this year.
Davis has won four out of his last five fights since his disappointing title loss. He is also in the midst of a multi-year contract with Bellator, setting him up as one of their premier fighters for the foreseeable future. The 35-year-old has stayed hungry while competing against some of the best fighters in his division.
In an interview with FanSided, he touted the competition he’s faced in Bellator, stating “I’ve been winning and doing so impressively and over some tough competition across the board. Bellator has some great fighters, and in people in the know, they know that some of Bellator’s fighters are so amazing and there are guys that other organizations are licking their chops for. “
While Davis is positioning himself to become a star for Bellator, Machida is looking to wrap up his career with a title.
“Now that I’m 42 years old, I like to take things one step at a time,” Machida told MMAJunkie. “Each bout is a chance for me to show my work, and I fight every time as if it’s the last time.”
Machida’s last fight was also a rematch with a former UFC opponent, Gegard Mousasi, at Bellator 228. Unfortunately for Machida, he lost the fight by a split-decision. That bout might have indicated a decline in Machida’s game as he was unable to evade and strike as effectively as he normally does. That last fight was almost a year ago, however, and the time between fights might have given Machida’s body enough rest to be effective once again.
Machida will need to use his background in Shotokan karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu to out-maneuver Davis if he hopes to come out on top in the bout. While Machida’s game may have slowed down a bit, he can still be effective at forcing his opponent to follow him around the ring, which can effectively wear them down in the process.
On the other hand, look for Davis to utilize his background in wrestling to his advantage. He could try to get Machida on the ground early and nullify his ability to maneuver around the ring. He has a distinct advantage in grappling and could force Machida to submit if Machida is unable to escape his grasp.
The winner of this fight will become the number one contender and earn a shot at the title against champion Vadim Nemkov.
Who do you think will come out on top? Leave your predictions in the comment section below!