LOS ANGELES – Ryan Bader ran into a brick wall of a hand, and his night was over.
In a bout with title implications, along with the main event to come after it, Lyoto Machida made a big statement, knocking Bader out at 1:32 of the second round and putting himself next in line for the 205-pound title.
The light heavyweight fight served as the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC on FOX 4 event at Staples Center in Los Angeles. It aired on FOX following prelims on FUEL TV.
Machida spent a dominant first round looking very much like “The Dragon” of old, not the one who had dropped three of his past four fights – including losing the 205-pound title he once held. His striking appeared to be as masterfully on point as it was when he started his career 16-0.
In the second, he showed the same crisp power he possessed when he knocked out Rashad Evans to win the light heavyweight title in May 2009. As Bader came forward, Machida landed a right hand that instantly crumpled the Season 8 winner of “The Ultimate Fighter.” And that was all Machida needed.
UFC President Dana White said earlier this week that the fighter who wins most impressively between Machida-Bader and the main event between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Brandon Vera will get a shot at the light heavyweight title. Machida set the bar high for the two fighters to come after him.
“I think I successfully controlled the entire fight,” Machida said. “I changed my stance back and forth from southpaw as often as possible to keep him guessing. I was just looking to counter when he made mistakes, and that’s how I was able to finish him. ‘The Dragon’ is back. I lost my last fight, but I feel better than ever and I’m ready to fight for the title again.”
“I have no recollection of what happened in there,” Bader said. “But I definitely felt like I had to be the one to engage and force the issue since he never did.”
Machida (18-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) got back in the win column for the first time since a UFC 129 head-kick knockout of Randy Couture. Bader (12-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) had a two-fight win streak snapped.
Up-to-the-minute results for UFC on FOX 4 include:
- Lyoto Machida def. Ryan Bader via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 1:32