FOR Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Muñoz, his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Fight Night 30 on Fox Sports bout against Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida on Sunday in Manchester, England is among his toughest encounters.
Muñoz, 35, said that Machida (19-4 win-loss record seven by knockout and two by submission) is considered to be one of the toughest guys in mixed martial arts (MMA) because of his solid background in karate and other martial arts.
Machida received his tuition in karate from his father, karate master Yoshizo Machida, head of the Japan Karate Association branch in Brazil. He started training in sumo at 12 and Brazilian jiu-itsu at 15.
“I believe our upcoming fight this week will be a tough one and you’ll see a very highly competitive fight with a lot of action and a great pace,” Muñoz (13-3 record with six knockouts) told The Manila Times in an e-mail interview on Wednesday.
“Lyoto ranks high on my list as one of the best in the sport. I have nothing but good things to say about him,” Muñoz added.
But Muñoz admitted that fighting Machida in his own game — stand up —will be to his detriment since he moves faster and strikes stronger than him being a seasoned karateka.
Muñoz said that he will rely more on his wrestling and grappling skills although he didn’t make any prediction on how he intend to finish the fight.
“I do have a strategy in place for the fight. I don’t want to do karate with him at all because that’s just placing him in a comfortable situation. Obviously I want to make him uncomfortable and make him wrestle me,” added Muñoz.
Muñoz related that he was surprised when he learned that his original opponent Michael Bisping was replaced by Machida because of an eye injury.
“I was completely surprised by it all. It happened all too quick. We [him and Machida]were just training two days before and now we have to actually fight each other. Pretty crazy how this sport is sometimes,” concluded Muñoz.