Within the camp of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Andre “Dida” Amado is known for perfectly mimicking UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida.
A K-1 MAX and MMA veteran, Amado is also known as Shogun’s muay Thai coach and the leader of Universidade de Luta, the team formed after they left Chute Boxe.
“I’ve worked with Shogun for a long time, and we started to train together at Chute Boxe. I always worked with Shogun imitating the posture and movement of his opponents,” said Amado, who has been imitating Machida ahead of Shogun’s rematch with him Saturday at UFC 113. “I try to do an imitation of Lyoto during sparring and by watching what Shogun is doing in relation to handling, kicking and output -- everything that has to do with the fight standing. I came from a good school and I can make sure Shogun has no doubt about the fight standing. In relation to imitating Lyoto, it is not a difficult job. I just watch his fights, copy the style and do the work on it.”
Shogun also uses his coach as a master strategist. After analyzing Machida’s game, Amado decided that the way to overcome it is with kicks.
“The antidote to punching is the good leg kick,” Amado said. “The other athletes who Lyoto faced, they kicked but with their hands low, and Lyoto works on the body movements of his opponent. He studies and works on it. Machida works more with his hands and Shogun works with legs. Sometimes this exchange will be weighted because he will not find any (openings) and will only see Shogun’s legs working. On the third or fourth punch, Lyoto will realize that he is hitting Shogun’s defense and Shogun is always picking up (points). Shogun has a very strong game of legs. He can explore that part too, and this time it will come with much more desire to win. He will not wait to get started. He will apply this tactic and will come with everything to win the UFC belt.”
Amado believes Machida’s win on points in the first fight was unjust. He warns that Shogun is more determined than ever going into the rematch.
“In that fight, we used a strategy for Shogun to kill Machida's game and our tactics worked,” Amado said. “We just had not counted on the judges. Shogun is hungry for this fight, and we are already feeling the taste of the belt. Shogun shows in each training session the desire to beat Machida. I do not want to be in Machida’s shoes because Shogun will take this belt with his kicks.”
After a fairly equal bout last time, many have speculated on which strategies the fighters will employ in the rematch. Amado did not hesitate to say that Machida will not fight on the feet as much this time.
“For Lyoto it is not very good to stay standing,” he said. “He knows that his karate is not going to defeat muay Thai. In my coach’s opinion, he will want to work his jiu-jitsu with Shogun. I think he will not fight muay Thai because he saw that in the last fight he was badly hurt and was not effective. So I think he will want to work his jiu-jitsu. We already have the strategy to beat Machida.”