A potential light heavyweight title shot was on the line last night (August 4, 2012) when former champion Lyoto Machida took on The Ultimate Fighter season eight winner Ryan Bader in the co-main event of UFC on Fox 4.
Bader had recently defeated a former champ himself, in Quinton Jackson earlier this year, but this time, he didn't stand a chance.
Machida was a step ahead of him at every turn, beating him to the punch (and kick) repeatedly and once he scored an emphatic knockout in the beginning of the second round, earning that coveted shot at the UFC 205 pound title.
So how exactly did Machida dominate so handily? And what happens next for both men?
Follow me after the jump for our Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader UFC on Fox 4 post-fight review and analysis
Machida opened very passively, gauging distance and staying out of Bader's range. Every time Bader threw a strike, he deftly side stepped it or backed up.
As Machida gained confidence, he started countering Bader's shots. First he cracked him with an elbow while side-stepping, but he got more aggressive with each blow. "The Dragon" also began mixing some kicks into his attacks, landing some knees, body kicks and leg kicks as well as the occasional short front kick.
Bader was getting increasingly frustrated and began recklessly charging in trying to land his powerful right hand. Machida not only easily avoided the telegraphed strikes, but he began countering those attacks as well.
This was a bad sign of things to come.
Machida was dominating, but the crowd was getting restless. By the time the second round started, Bader was desperate to land a power strike and this time he charge straight at Machida with his right hand. Not only did Machida not back down, but he caught Bader on the way in with a beautiful straight right. With the force of Bader charging in, it amplified the damage of the blow and "Darth" went down hard.
After a couple strikes on the ground, it was all over.
For Ryan Bader, this was a humiliating defeat. Machida made him look like he didn't belong in the same arena with him. He never got any offense in and was getting beaten to the punch every time he tried to initiate an attack. Every time he charged forward, he played right into Machida's strength and it eventually cost him his consciousness. I was very surprised that he didn't try one to take the former champion down. He's got one of the best power double leg attacks in the light heavyweight division and he didn't even try. I don't know if he was waiting to do it later or if he felt Machida's style didn't work with his wrestling, but he should have tried something else because charging face first was not working.
For Lyoto Machida, this was as dominant as a fighter can look. He completely shut Bader down with superior positioning, striking and control. This was very reminiscent of his destruction of Thiago Silva that earned him a title shot. He looked amazing, very quick and he was trying out some new techniques which really flustered Bader at every turn. When he finally sprung with a damaging blow, he made the most of it and put Bader out. He definitely deserved the title shot after what he did to a top 10 fighter. Perhaps the old Machida is back.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Do you agree that Machida deserved the title shot for his performance last night? How can Ryan Bader get his confidence back after such a humiliating defeat?