UFC Fight Night 30 saw former light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida make his middleweight debut against Mark Munoz as the headliner for the event held in the United Kingdom. After a brief feeling out period on the first few minutes which saw both fighters throwing feints and establishing distance, Machida was able to connect with a beautiful kick to the temple which immediately dropped Munoz.
Lyoto immediately followed him to the ground, but as he saw that Munoz was out of it, he pulled back and decided against throwing a ground strike which would've added more unnecessary damage to his good friend. The finish came just 3 minutes into the first round, and following the bout Machida addressed his former training partner, "Mark, thank you for fighting me. Sorry about that, my friend. It's a job".
The stoppage earned Machida a nifty Knockout of the Night bonus and established himself as an immediate contender to the middleweight title. The final result: Lyoto Machida def. Mark Munoz by KO (Headkick), Round 1, 3:10
What was the high point?
The knockout. In trademark Machida style, Munoz was unable to land anything on his very elusive opponent. He threw a lot of feints, and as he kept Munoz guessing where his next strike was coming from, he was able to land that one clean kick that finished the fight. It was a perfect way to make his middleweight debut, and he made a clear statement that he's a top contender in the division.
What was the low point?
Nothing much really, but to those who aren't big fans of Machida's style which focuses on footwork, feints, and countershots, they may not appreciate the opening minutes where both men were still trying to establish distance and not many strikes were thrown.
Where do they go from here?
Lyoto Machida established himself as a top contender. I actually don't mind him getting a title shot since he just easily dispatched a top 5 middleweight, and (despite questionable judging against Phil Davis) many consider him the top contender at light heavyweight prior to this as well. Dana White though, states that he wants Lyoto to face another top middleweight first, suggesting that he's interested in seeing him against Vitor Belfort, granted that he wins his upcoming bout against Dan Henderson.
Munoz on the other hand, will have to go back to the drawing board as he will likely drop down out of the top 5 after this loss. Maybe a bout against fellow top 10 MW Costa Philippou would be interesting to see which guy can rebound better as they both look to climb the ladder once more.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Now. We may have not seen much from him during those 3 minutes, but Machida looked like he was perfect for the middleweight division. He delivered that highlight reel knockout against a highly regarded fighter, and he made it look easy. Definitely watch it now.
More from Bloody Elbow:
- UFC Fight Night 30: Lyoto Machida vs. Mark Munoz full fight video highlights
- UFC Fight Night 30 results: Ross Pearson vs. Melvin Guillard rematch set for March 8th in London
- UFC Fight Night 30 post-event bonuses: Machida, Barnatt, Craig, and Musoke pick up $50,000 awards
- UFC Fight Night 30 results: Lyoto Machida headkick KO's Mark Munoz at 3:10 of round 1
- UFC Fight Night 30 main card results: Illegal knee turns Guillard/Pearson into NC