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Bellator 256: Ryan Bader vs Lyoto Machida, The Birth Of The Light Heavyweight Grand Prix

Bellator has had only one event so far this year and it has already made up for the lost time. On April 9th, Bellator brings the light heavyweight Grand Prix to life with Ryan Bader vs Lyoto Machida. These two world-class athletes have been only a few steps away from a rematch, one that is nine years in the making. Let us discuss how this title bout could play out by breaking down each competitor.

Ryan Bader

We start with possibly the most experienced light heavyweight on the roster, Ryan “Darth” Bader. The former king of 205 in Bellator is coming off of a devastating title loss where he was finished by Vadim Nemkov. Bader looks to rebound in a long-awaited rematch against “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida. For Ryan to make it 1-1 against Machida, he will look to put on a heavy grappling showcase where he can smother the dragon for 25 minutes

Continuing this Ryan Bader vs Lyoto Machida preview, we will discuss what techniques will work well for “Darth” Bader. The power of the former champion is not something to be counted out, but Bader struggles to mask his entries and only uses jab feints. Machida is a decorated counter striker, so timing is everything for him. Ryan needs to make it ugly on the feet for a few minutes, then put the pressure on. The clinch is his friend in this matchup, but Bader has a bad tendency to stay striking against guys who are much better than him.

We have to talk about Bader’s ability to hold his opponent down. When it comes to top pressure in Bellator, Ryan Bader is a name that springs to mind. Despite the knockout power that he packs in every punch when he doesn’t rely solely on that, he can really exhaust his opponents and disable their whole game plan over five rounds. Bader really needs to use his super-effective wrestling against Lyoto if he wants the victory.

Lyoto Machida

The one known as “The Dragon” has many keys to victory this Friday at Bellator 256. As we have previously discussed in this Ryan Bader vs Lyoto Machida preview, Lyoto is one of the world’s best counter strikers. In almost every single one of his finishing victories, he has used counters to his advantage. To advance in this light heavyweight Grand Prix, Machida must find a way to keep out of the pocket, damage the legs, and eventually get the finish with a big strike.

LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 04: Lyoto Machida (L) avoids a kick by Ryan Bader (R) in the second round during the UFC on FOX at Staples Center on August 4, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Coming off of two losses, a win at Bellator 256 will be monumental for the last leg of his mixed martial arts career. His unique karate style is always a puzzle for his opponent, but grappling has been his weakness. With the patience he has consistently shown throughout his legendary career, Machida can most definitely get the timing right and finish Bader as he did once before.

Bellator 256 Main Event Breakdown

Using the knowledge we have gained in this Ryan Bader vs Lyoto Machida Preview, we can predict who will come out on top of this Friday’s main event matchup. Machida can push the pressure himself but likes to hang just outside of the pocket so he can effectively use kicks whenever he enters. Bader has relentless pressure on the feet and the ground and will look to use this effectively. If “Darth” Bader doesn’t manage to get the finish, he can most certainly rely on a decision victory.

Machida will also look to push forward with his jab-straight combo, which he can do for so long without draining much stamina, very Max Holloway esque. “The Dragon” got the finish by doing this in the first fight but knows that Ryan is a much more knowledgable and experienced fighter, as Machida himself is. The kicks play a huge part for Lyoto as the clinch and wrestling do for Ryan. Both men are capable of a finish, but neither man necessarily needs it.

Thank you for joining me in this Ryan Bader vs Lyoto Machida main event preview.

Follow me on Twitter @LeoJJohnson20 and follow @OTHeroicsMMA for more great content! And don’t forget our Instagram, overtimeheroics_mma. Come discuss this and much more at the Overtime Heroics forums!

Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images and Embed from Getty Images

Ryan Bader vs Lyoto Machida Ryan Bader vs Lyoto Machida Ryan Bader vs Lyoto Machida

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