VIDEO: The Real original ‘Karate Kid’ of the UFC. Watch Video below
They said karate couldn’t work in MMA. They said that it was simply a traditional martial arts style whose time was long gone. But then Shotokan Karate master Lyoto Machida burst onto the MMA scene on May 2, 2003 with a decision victory over Kengo Watanabe.
And suddenly people realized that karate, or at least the style of it that Machida practiced, was a highly effective striking art no matter what the situation.
Machida made a quick turn around to accept the fight with Romero just two months later, but according to the former light heavyweight champion he suffered no ill effects from the Rockhold fight except a hand injury that he was dealing with before stepping into the Octagon back in April.
“The only thing I had, a couple of days after the fight I had hand surgery to clean up bone fragments in my hand,” Machida told FOX Sports. “In my last camp, my hands would hurt when I would punch or train and I just kind of fought through it.
“So a couple of days after the Rockhold fight, I had surgery on my hand and stayed busy and stayed active. I feel great for this camp. No real injuries other than the surgery to clean up the bone fragments.”
The surgery was a success because Machida says his hand is now feeling better than ever and he’s excited to see how it feels while thudding against Romero’s head on Saturday night.
The biggest weapon in Romero’s back pocket is his wrestling, which might be the some of the best grappling in the entire sport of mixed martial arts. He’s got a laundry list of wrestling awards and Romero is explosive when shooting in to get an opponent to the ground.
Machida is no stranger to facing wrestlers during his career.