Although he is underrated on the ground, Machida rarely looks for takedowns.
The Brazilian has only attempted two takedowns over his past six fights. He's only been able to take Dan Henderson to the ground over that period, and that takedown only occurred after the American forced a clinch with him.
While Mousasi's biggest weakness may be defending takedowns, don't expect Machida to exploit that hole in the former Strikeforce champion's game often.
Mousasi is more willing to mix takedowns into his game plan. He scored four in a fight with Ovince St. Preux and three in a matchup against Keith Jardine when competing under the Strikeforce banner. However, Machida should prove much more difficult to ground than either of those opponents.
At UFC 163, Davis became the first fighter to take Machida down more than once in a fight since Rameau Sokoudjou did so in December 2007. Even Davis was successful on only 20 percent of his takedown attempts in that matchup, though.
Takedowns could play an important role in either fighter stealing a round or two, but it is unlikely they'll be a primary focus for either fighter at UFC Fight Night 36.
Machida has had a lot of success countering jabs by trapping them and answering with stepping straight left hands. However, that counter leaves him susceptible to being taken down.
Davis was able to bait Machida by feinting a jab and stole a round by dropping levels for a double leg. Mousasi may not be able to finish takedowns as well as Davis, but he can certainly feint jabs well enough to set up this same takedown.
At the same time, Machida will have the option of taking Mousasi down any time the two are clinched. The Dragon has floored some of the best in the world with his leg sweeps, and Mousasi has had trouble defending takedowns from just about any position.
Neither man is going to dominate this fight with takedowns, but wrestling could become an important factor should one fighter be more willing to vary their attacks.