Munoz ready for surprise foe in UFC Fight Night
SINGAPORE — Ranked 7th in the world at Middleweight, Filipino-American Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz (13-3) was scheduled to fight Michael “The Count” Bisping in the main event at UFC Fight Night 30 on October 26, until Bisping suffered an injury related to a detached retina that prompted him to pull out of the match.
To salvage the event, the UFC replaced Bisping with an opponent who Munoz is very familiar with and actually previously trained with, much to Munoz’s surprise.
“I have to admit, the whole thing kind of surprised me because it all came in at the same time and was very last minute. But that is the nature of the game, and you have to be ready for anything,” said Munoz, in an interview with Bleacher Report.
“I’m down to fight anyone at any time,” he added.
Enter Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (19-4), former Light Heavyweight standout considered an elite talent and easily the biggest challenge in Munoz’s career so far.
“It’s kind of a crazy turn,” said Munoz. “I didn’t even know Bisping was hurt, and then all of a sudden, I’m fighting Lyoto Machida in 3 weeks.”
This is also new ground for Machida, who will be dropping down to Middleweight for the first time in his career. Machida was named 2009 Fighter of the Year by Black Belt Magazine and has enjoyed the limelight for the better part of his career.
Despite facing a personal friend and former spar mate, Munoz says it’s not going to affect the way he will approach the fight.
“Lyoto and I were planning on training together soon,” said Munoz. “He is a friend of mine and we have trained together in the past, but that isn’t something I have a problem with. I’ve fought friends before and it’s nothing personal.”
After being knocked out by a Chris Weidman stray elbow that caught him right on the chin, Munoz had subsequent bouts of depression and his weight ballooned uncontrollably. But the ever persevering Filipino powerhouse pushed through and made sure he got back into title contention at the quickest possible time.
Munoz was last seen giving tough guy Tim Boetsch the beating of a lifetime at UFC 162, displaying an unmistakable energy and tenacity over the course of 3 rounds. The performance was nothing short of pure dominance on the part of Munoz, who manhandled Boetsch like never before and earned him a shot at Bisping whom he had been wanting to fight for the longest time.
Yet now with Bisping momentarily out of the picture, a different beast altogether comes in Machida.
“Now, I’ll make the adjustments in training and preparing for [Machida’s] style to make sure I’m ready when I step into that cage,” said Munoz.
Machida combines the disciplines of high-level Shotokan Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a blend only he has been able to make successful. Munoz will have to make sure his world-class wrestling skills are top notch as Machida is adept at striking to say the least.
“It’s an abrupt turn, and Machida has an unorthodox style that is difficult to duplicate, but at the same time, he’s never faced anyone who fights the way I do either. It goes both ways in this situation. I only have 3 weeks to prepare for [Machida], but he only has 3 weeks to prepare for me as well.”
Despite Machida’s extraordinary combination of Karate and BJJ, Munoz definitely brings his own brand of hurt to the table. - Rappler.com