Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
Round 1: In the opening round I expect Lyoto Machida to work his feints and footwork to avoid Ryan Bader. Machida will need to avoid Bader's strikes in the early going as that will be when Bader will have the greatest chance to land his powerful strikes.
Machida will need to be prepared for Bader's wrestling as he may look to wear down the Brazilian and remove his elusiveness. The first round will be undoubtedly be Bader's best chance at a victory.
Round 2: Bader has been known to show conditioning issues in his fights, but seemed to erase that issue against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Bader looked great through all 15 minutes and didn't seem to tire. This is where Bader's conditioning will be truly tested after chasing Machida for five minutes.
If Bader has truly fixed his cardio issues it will show in this fight. It may have been just "Rampage" being that bad at UFC 144 but for Bader's sake, let's hope he's improved on his conditioning.
Round 3: By now Bader's conditioning issues will have likely shown through and Machida should look rather fresh. He's a master at avoiding damage and looked great in the final round in his bout against Jackson.
Machida may look for his infamous trip takedown to secure a final round on the judge's scorecards if the outcome is in doubt. Machida won't threaten with his top game and may in fact just ride the round out for a decision victory.
The same can be said of Bader as well. If he feels ahead on the scorecards he may look for a takedown just as he did against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.