According to a Feb. 14 report from MMA Mania, a UFC middleweight title shot could be on the line when Lyoto Machida (20-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) faces Gegard Mousasi (34-3-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) in the main event of UFC Fight Night 36 from Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil.
Mousasi is coming off a decision win over Ilir Latifi, so he might not be as close to a title shot as his UFC Fight Night 36 opponent. Machida is coming off a knockout win over Mark Munoz, and he has a lot more UFC experience under his belt than Mousasi.
However, nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the UFC. Dana White could hint that Machida is close to a title shot, and then give the fight to someone else in the blink of an eye.
Similarly, an incredible knockout win by Mousasi could fast-track him to a crack at the middleweight strap, despite his relative lack of experience under the UFC banner.
Despite a possible title shot on the line, Mousasi says he doesn't feel much pressure heading into UFC Fight Night 36.
“I’m going to put pressure on [Machida], but steady,” Mousasi said. “I’m not going to run at him. I want to fight aggressive, but you need two people, and he does not want to play that game. So you can’t go trying to be the aggressive guy, because that’s what he wants.
“I’m going to go forward, because you don’t want to make him feel comfortable. I’m not going to go backward, that’s for sure.”
Mousasi also took a bit of a verbal jab at Machida by saying he doesn't punch very hard.
“He’s a dangerous opponent; he can finish fights,” Mousasi said. “But he’s not really a hard-hitting fighter. If you don’t do anything stupid, he’s not going to be able to knock you out.”
Also on the UFC Fight Night 36 card, Ronaldo Souza fights Francis Carmont at middleweight, and Erick Silva takes on Takenori Sato in welterweight action.
Here's a look at the full UFC Fight Night 36 card, along with weigh-in results:
- 185 lbs.: Lyoto Machida (185) vs. Gegard Mousasi (186)
- 185 lbs.: Ronaldo Souza (185) vs. Francis Carmont (185)
- 170 lbs.: Takenori Sato (170) vs. Erick Silva (170)
- 170 lbs.: Viscardi Andrade (170) vs. Nicholas Musoke (170)
- 145 lbs.: Andy Ogle (146) vs. Charles Oliveira (143)
- 155 lbs.: Cristiano Marcello (156) vs. Joe Proctor (155)
- 155 lbs.: Rodrigo Damm (156) vs. Ivan Jorge (156)
- 155 lbs.: Jesse Ronson (156) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (155)
- 135 lbs.: Yuri Alcantara (136) vs. Wilson Reis (135)
- 145 lbs.: Felipe Arantes (146) vs. Maximo Blanco (147.9)*
- 170 lbs.: Ildemar Alcantara (171) vs. Albert Tumenov (170)
- 145 lbs.: Douglas Silva De Andrade (145) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (146)