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Lyoto Machida: Chris Weidman is ready to fight Vitor Belfort standing

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Some people might think Chris Weidman should avoid a striking match with Vitor Belfort if he wants to successfully defend his middleweight championship at UFC 181 on Dec. 6. Lyoto Machida is not one of them.

"The Dragon" trained with Belfort in the past and spent 25 minutes inside the Octagon with Weidman, and he doesn’t think the "Al American" should go for takedowns to win in Las Vegas.

"I don’t think so. Weidman is ready to fight anywhere," Machida told "If he has to stand, he will. Vitor can obviously land a punch and end this, that’s what makes this sport so captivating, but I think he will be ready to fight him there."

Weidman defeated Anderson Silva twice in standup battles, and recently defeated another elusive striker in Machida. Belfort has a different style of striking with fast hands and vicious kicks, but "The Dragon" believes Weidman will be ready for those attacks.

"It’s a good fight for both. They both stand a chance. We can’t underestimate either of them," he said. "Weidman has evolved a lot, has a big heart. Vitor is super talented, also evolved a lot, and is an athlete that works hard. When you have such a close fight like that, when it’s hard to break down, it’s hard to predict a result."

Belfort won’t be able to do the testosterone replacement therapy for the first time in years, and that might be an issue in a five-round fight.

"I think Vitor has a better chance in the first round and the first half of the second round because of his characteristics," he said, "but after that, I think Weidman’s chances are better than Vitor’s."