Lyoto Machida is happy to get an opportunity to compete inside “The World’s Most Famous Arena” Madison Square Garden in New York City.
This Friday night (June 14), Machida will collide with Chael Sonnen. The bout is being contested in the light heavyweight division and serves as Bellator 222‘s co-main event. While Bellator president Scott Coker won’t commit to the stakes of this bout, some expect the winner of Machida vs. Sonnen to earn a light heavyweight title shot.
Machida Honored To Compete Inside MSG
MMA News spoke to Machida during the Bellator 222 media day session. “The Dragon” likes the time he’s spent in NYC thus far:
“[I’m enjoying it] a lot. It’s not my first time here. I already came a couple times. It’s a different time because I have a fight coming up and I’m so focused, so concentrated. But I enjoy the city because I like New York. I like to be around here, I like to be among the people and that’s good.”
Machida admits he didn’t expect to get a chance to compete in MSG, but he is thankful for the opportunity:
“Actually I never thought about that. I just did my whole career, but I watched a lot of fights from Madison Square Garden because it’s a very famous place here. I never thought that I could fight here but this is kind of a dream come true because it’s a very special venue.”
Sonnen has given credit to Machida for foiling wrestlers. The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight title holder gave his take on why he has success against wrestlers:
“I think that because I have good distance, I have good timing and I’m [such an] explosive fighter, because of that I can handle very well with wrestlers.”
As far as how he matches up with “The American Gangster,” Machida thinks the odds are in his favor:
“I think he’s a [good] style match for me because he likes to come he likes to attack a lot. That’s [a good] match for myself because I’m a counter attacker. So I can visualize that fight in a good way.”
Machida’s Bellator debut against former middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho was no picnic, but he expects a better performance against Sonnen:
“Yeah always, we move forward all the time. In my mind as well, we move forward. I want to have a better performance all the time. That’s why we have a great camp and excellent training. Now I’m just ready to have an outstanding performance on Friday.”
When it comes to a prediction, “The Dragon” kept it short and sweet:
Stick with MMA News for live coverage of Bellator 222. We’ll be on the scene inside MSG in New York City.