JARAGUA DO SUL, Brazil -- The last time Lyoto Machida used his jiu-jitsu to finish a fight was in December 2009, but "this is the time" to get his grappling skills back to the game - at least according to his jiu-jitsu coach Rener Gracie.
Machida went 8-4 after submitting Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou with a second-round arm-triangle choke at UFC 79, scoring five knockout finishes and three decision wins. He plans to add another knockout to his record on Saturday night, when he battles Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night 36 in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil.
But don’t sleep on his grappling game, says Rener Gracie.
"This is the time, for sure," Gracie told MMAFighting.com. "Mousasi is gonna tap."
All the pre-fight talk is focused on how Machida’s karate matches Mousasi’s kickboxing style and Gracie likes it.
"Jiu-jitsu is his secret weapon," he said. "He has got so much better since training with us at the Gracie academy for just over one year now. His jiu-jitsu has improved exponentially, so no doubt if the fight goes to the ground and Mousasi slips, he’s going to tap out."
Machida is coming off a big knockout win over Mark Munoz in his middleweight debut, and Rener Gracie said his camp was even better for this fight.
"Perfect training camp, couldn’t be better. He was very dedicated and determined the whole time," he said. "He’s really looking forward to this fight so we couldn’t ask for more. Very strong jiu-jitsu, amazing stand-up practice with Rafael Cordeiro, and his wrestling is very strong with Kenny Johnson as well."