Inside the cage, Lyoto Machida takes a tactical approach to fighting that seems to neutralize his opponents’ strengths while attacking their weaknesses. Of course, this ability to break down opponents with relative ease carries over to fights he’s not even involved in. Here he is chiming in on this weekend’s Chuck Liddell vs. ‘Shogun’ Rua match-up.

“In my opinion, Shogun and Liddell will be the toughest fight of the evening. Of course I’m cheering for Shogun. I trained with him at Chute Boxe and he is a great person, but I believe this fight will be pretty strategic. If Liddell can keep it standing up, he will have advantages. But if Shogun can take him to the ground, he has advantages. I would say it is 50-50.”

That analysis is pretty solid in my book. The only problem I have is with his statement that the fight is 50-50. Liddell should have little problem keeping it standing as his takedown defense is impeccable, while Shogun’s wrestling has never been his strong suit. Anything can happen in a fight, but looking at all the factors here it would be unwise to bet the rent money on Shogun, even with Liddell’s recent losses in mind. Unless you’re one of the guys running Affliction Entertainment and you just love to lose money. If that’s the case, then by all means go right ahead.

Machida also sheds some light on the situation with highly sought after Japanese free agent and Olympic gold medalist in judo, Satoshi Ishii.

Soon he will be ready to make his MMA debut, and I believe he will do a great job. He hasn’t signed with an event, and I advised him to not hurry. First get experience in a Japanese event and later come to the UFC, and I think he will follow my advice.

That’s exactly the way to go. If Ishii listens to his fanboy dreams and signs with the UFC right off the bat, he’ll be thrown into a very deep and experienced heavyweight division for what would likely be less than what he could make in Japan right now.

Ishii should go to Sengoku or DREAM and pull a ‘King Mo’: beat on some lesser competition while gaining some ring experience — as well as a fan base — while you learn the finer points of the game before coming over to the big show. ‘King Mo’ might not have locked down a deal with the UFC (or Strikeforce) just yet, but you can bet your ass that when his contract in the Land of the Rising Sun expires that he’ll be worth a helluva lot more here than he was beforehand. It would be in Ishii’s best interest to listen to Machida, despite what a certain bald headed GLAAD nemesis has to say.