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Monday Morning Hangover: What's next for Lyoto Machida?

Despite the setback, "The Dragon" still has what it takes to make some noise.

Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC on FOX 15 blew the roof off the Prudential Center last Saturday night (April 18, 2015) in Newark, New Jersey.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Felice Herrig, who was knocked around the cage for three rounds by rising sensation Paige VanZant (recap). And Cub Swanson, who was beat down by Max Holloway before getting choked out (see it here).

But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now 48 hours removed from the show?

Lyoto Machida.

"The Dragon" looked to get himself back into title contention by stopping the surging Luke Rockhold, who himself was looking to make his case for his first-ever shot at an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title and perhaps a much-desired rematch against Vitor Belfort.

It didn't take long to realize who wanted it more.

Rockhold, like the smooth character he is, took his time and studied his foe -- who had some early success with a few strikes -- by walking him down, absorbing some shots and imposing his size and strength advantage.

After sending Machida to the canvas with a blow to the side of the head, Rockhold showed much-improved ground work by wearing down the jiu-jitsu black belt and attempting one submission move after another. Though he couldn't lock one in early, Luke looked leaps and bounds ahead of Lyoto when it came to mat work.

With five seconds left in the first round, Rockhold delivered an elbow to Machida's head, which at first glance didn't look too powerful. But once "The Dragon" got to his feet, it was clear the impact had done its damage as he struggled to find his balance on his way to the stool.

He didn't look any better once round two started, as "The Dragon" was visibly shaken, only to get taken down once again and be on the receiving end of some ground-and-pound damage by his heavier foe. Eventually, a determined Luke sunk in a fight-ending rear-naked choke that left the former light heavyweight champ dazed and confused (video replay here).

While the win undoubtedly catapulted Luke to the front of the title race (sorry, Jacare), the loss is a huge setback for Machida, who is now 3-2 in the 185-pound weight class.

But, it's not the end of world for Lyoto, not even close.

At 36 years of age, he still has some time to make some noise in a sport that is now being dominated by younger, stronger athletes. Will we see the second coming of "The Machida Era" at some point down the road?

Probably not.

But we can still see one of the most elusive and creative strikers in the game get involved in some highly-entertaining fights. And should Michael Bisping plow through C.B. Dolloway at UFC 186 this coming weekend in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, a match up between "The Count" and "The Dragon" sounds like an interesting one.

Any objections?

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