Lyoto Machida staked his claim for a title shot tonight at ‘UFC On FOX 4’ by outclassing Ryan Bader before putting him to sleep with a perfectly timed punch in the second round.
Machida did an excellent job of dictating the distance in the opening round and crucially Bader was allowing him to do it without hunting him down too often which suited the former champion.
He was able to stay out of Bader’s range and then leap in and out at times, in his fencer-like style, catching Bader with shots without anything landing in return.
Machida was also utilizing kicks well, going primarily to the body, often with front kicks.
At times Bader would rumble forward with a combination, but he was too slow to catch Machida by surprise and was often met with a punch on the way in and was left hitting thin-air himself.
So round one was very much Machida’s, and it continued in the same way in the second as he continued to control the range at which the fight was being fought at and baffled Bader in the process.
There weren’t too many strikes being thrown though and the crowd started to get a little restless.
As if sensing that impatience Bader suddenly decided to charge forward with a flurry of punches only to be met with a perfectly timed right hand straight to the jawline from Machida that knocked him out instantly, with one further strike landing as the referee stepped in with 1.32mins of Rd2 gone.
“The Dragon Is Back!” Machida exclaimed after the fight, and that certainly did look to be the case in this very assured performance, becoming the first man to knockout Bader in the process.
Dana White said that the most impressive performance tonight out of the four 205lb’ers front-loading the card would get the next title shot in the division, and Machida certainly has put himself in pole-position with this victory.