Enter elusive Dragon

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida is easily the UFC's most frustrating fighter -- both for opponents and fans.

The Shotokan Karate black belt's stick-and-move style has drawn boos from the crowd on more than one occasion.

Some pundits have called Machida a master strategist, while his unwillingness to engage until the most opportune moment has led light-heavyweight contender Quinton "Rampage" Jackson to call him boring and a promoter's worst nightmare.

Still, the undefeated Brazilian has earned himself a title shot at UFC 98 against champion "Sugar" Rashad Evans.

UFC boss Dana White said the fact neither fighter has yet to lose will make for an exciting main event May 23 in Las Vegas.

"With 32 wins and no losses between them, this may end up being one of the most memorable UFC title fights of all-time," said White.

"Neither guy has learned how to lose yet, and I'm interested to see if Rashad is the first fighter to figure out Machida's style, as well as if Machida can withstand the striking power and wrestling of Rashad.

"The winner of this one is truly the best 205-pounder on the planet."

The Dragon -- who also owns a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu -- makes no apologies for his elusive style that has earned him victories over Rich Franklin and B.J. Penn before they were household UFC names.

STARTED AT AGE 3

The son of Japanese/Brazilian karate master Yoshizo Machida, The Dragon began taking lessons at age 3 and earned his black belt by 13.

His fusion of disciplines has turned him into a calculated counter-striker.

The 30-year-old is coming off a knockout win over Thiago Silva that earned him the title shot, but four of his six UFC scraps have gone to decision. However, he hasn't lost a round since joining the UFC.

But Machida knows the recently crowned Evans poses some unfamiliar threats.

"I'm excited to fight Rashad, he's a very tough opponent, and this is the biggest fight of my life," said Machida.

Evans has four KOs in his last six outings. As he prepares for his first title defence, he doesn't see his roll ending.

"This is my time to shine," said Evans. "I worked hard to get this title and I'm not about to give it up now. I've got a lot of respect for Machida and I know we're going to give the fans a great fight, but I also know that he's going to bring out the best of me, and that's going to be a sight to see."

UFC 98 will also feature Matt Serra taking on Matt Hughes and Yushin Okami fighting Dan Miller.

JOSE.RODRIGUEZ@SUNMEDIA.CA


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