With Ronaldo Souza cementing his status as the best Middleweight fighter not named Chris Weidman or Vitor Belfort in the UFC on FOX 15 co-main event (read recap here), it was up to Lyoto Machida and Luke Rockhold to determine who would fall in line behind the Brazilian in the Prudential Center's five-round marquee match up tonight (Sat., April 18, 2015).
Enter Rockhold ... not "The Dragon."
Machida came out with his traditional bounce-like stance and even got the action started with a quick combination rather than playing the waiting game. Moments later he whiffed on a nice right hook and then landed with a short follow-up. Rockhold countered and Machida found himself on his back, as Rockhold immediately went for a guillotine choke.
Machida was able to escape the submission, but he had Rockhold sitting on his chest. The Brazilian bucked again and, in response, Rockhold took his back. Machida rolled to get on his back and Rockhold drilled him with a short right before he tried to get back to his feet along the fence.
Rockhold got a hook in along the cage and Machida was unable to roll out. Rockhold began to smash him relentlessly before giving up his back. Rockhold went for a rear-naked, but Machida escaped -- barely -- but was drilled with a savage elbow just as the first round ended.
It was a brutal beating.
Machida was hurt to end the first and appeared still dazed to start the second round.
Rockhold didn't go for the kill, though, instead mixing it up and looking for an opening. And he found it about 90 seconds in, as he pinned Machida's arm behind his back and once again started to dish out the punishment. Machida has no choice but to roll to his belly, and this time, Rockhold would not be denied, flattening out the Brazilian and choking him into submission.
What a statement for Rockhold -- he utterly eviscerated a very experienced, difficult and durable former champion in less than two rounds.
Why wait? Fire up Jacare next, UFC.
For complete results from UFC on FOX 15: "Machida vs. Rockhold," including play-by-play updates, click here.