After a mostly dull card that featured far too many bouts going to the judges, Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi hooked up for the main event at tonight's (Sat., Feb. 15, 2014) UFC Fight Night 36 showcase on Fox Sports 1 from Arena Jaragua in Brazil. A win for Machida would give him a legitimate claim to a title shot in the middleweight division while it would certainly shoot Mousasi way up the ladder of contenders.
As expected, the pace was measured in the beginning and remained that way throughout the opening round. It was close but "The Dragon" was frustrating his opponent sooner than expected, something that wouldn't bode well for "The Armenian Assassin" in the later rounds.
Mousasi continued pressing forward throughout the second and while he did manage to work a solid jab, he was still suffering the trademark counter attack that has befallen so many Machida opponents before him. He couldn't quite get the timing down and space was a big problem for him.
Add in two big head kicks that sent some sweat flying through the air an it looked like the Brazilian was firmly ahead.
Machida continued to widen the gap throughout much of the third but Mousasi found some life with a hard combination or two just before the round closed out. Then, early in the fourth, the artist formerly known as "The Dreamcatcher" earned a quick takedown.
"The Dragon" got right back to his feet, of course, but it was something.
Naturally, Machida ended up scoring a takedown of his own with a trip/throw, though his ensuing submission attempt failed and he found himself on his back on the defensive. He managed to get back to his feet but decided to come down to his knees and when he did so, Mousasi landed an illegal upkick.
No point was taken.
Machida had his way in the fifth and final round. He worked hard for a finish that never came. Victory, however, did.
Judges scores: 49-46, 50-45, and 50-45.
For complete UFC Fight Night 36 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.