It hasn’t been “The Machida Era” in about half a decade. But “The Dragon” is still one of the best in the world.
Machida cemented his status as a major threat in the middleweight division by destroying C.B. Dollaway in just 62 seconds in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dollaway on Saturday night in Barueri, Brazil. Machida landed a left kick to the body that clearly hurt Dollaway and Machida pounced with punches.
“That kick landed, I saw that he felt it and I went for the finish,” Machida told Jon Anik afterward.
Machida (22-5), the former UFC light heavyweight champion, was coming off a unanimous decision loss to Chris Weidman in a UFC middleweight title fight at UFC 175 in July. This victory keeps the 36-year-old extremely relevant in the 185-pound hunt, just behind the likes of Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Yoel Romero, who meet at UFC 184 in what could be a title eliminator. The next opponent for Machida very well could be fellow contender Luke Rockhold, who called “The Dragon” out on Twitter after the Dollaway knockout.
“My main objective is always the belt,” Machida said.
Dollaway (15-6) had won four of his last five fights to announce himself as a true top-10 fighter in the UFC’s middleweight division. The 31-year-old has added better boxing and Muay Thai to his dominant wrestling game. But we never got to see it. Machida didn’t give him a chance.
In the co-main event, Renan Barao made his return by beating Mitch Gagnon by submission (arm triangle) at 3:53 of the third round. The former UFC bantamweight champion has had a rough 2014, losing his title to T.J. Dillashaw in May and then withdrawing from the rematch due to a weight-cutting injury in August.
Barao (33-2, 1 NC) didn’t quite look like the force of nature he was before when he was considered by some as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, but he got the job done against a game Gagnon (12-3). Barao, 27, has huge fights ahead of him in 2015 and he addressed Dillashaw afterward.
“Dillashaw, I have two gifts for you — my left hand and my right hand,” Barao said through an interpreter. “I’m going to shut up your mouth.”
Perhaps so does Patrick Cummins, who schooled Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 winner Antonio Carlos Jr. by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) with suffocating wrestling on the main card Saturday. Cummins (7-1) is 34 years old, but seems to have a decently sized ceiling in a thin light heavyweight division.
Rashid Magomedov made a little history in Barueri, defeating Elias Silverio by TKO at 4:57 of the third round. It was the latest finish in UFC history.
Also on the main card, Erick Silva beat Mike Rhodes by submission (arm triangle) in just 1:15 of the first round and Marcos Rogerio de Lima defeated Igor Pokrajac by TKO at 1:59 of the first. Daniel Sarafian won by TKO (injury) when Antonio Dos Santos dislocated his finger at 1:01 of the second round.
On the prelims, Brazilian prospect Renato Carneiro took out Tim Niinimaki by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:30 of the second,Hacran Dias knocked off ranked featherweight Darren Elkins by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) and Leandro Issa finishedYuta Sasaki via submission (neck crank) at 4:13 of the second round.
Tim Means maybe should have knocked out Marcio Alexandre in the first round, but a knee was called illegal and Alexandre was given new life. Still, Means dominated the rest of the bout and won by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).