UFC Fight Night 125 in Belem, Brazil was headlined by hometown hero, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, and Eryk “Ya Boi” Anders. Machida (23-8) came into this fight on a three-fight losing streak; with the last two coming by way of TKO/KO. The 39-year-old veteran was, without question, in desperate need of a win. Anders (10-1), who debuted in the UFC last July, was previously undefeated and called out “The Dragon” after his last win. The difference in experience would prove troublesome for the young middleweight prospect.
Throughout the fight, Machida was able to control the distance and initiate exchanges on his terms. With almost a decade separating the two in age, Machida showed that he was the faster and slicker fighter. Along with his speed, Machida used his superior footwork, range control, and a constant output of leg and body kicks, to avoid Anders’ powerful left hand and keep him suppressed. Anders did secure three takedowns in the fight but was unable to control Machida on the mat or do anything significant with the position.
Without having much success at long range, Anders was able to score and land some good strikes when he was able to fight his way inside. The most significant strike Anders landed was against the cage, in the clinch, as Machida was working to get back on his feet. A well-timed knee to Machida’s forehead sliced him open and caused him to bleed instantly. Unfortunately, the few moments of success that Anders did have was not enough to negate Machida’s overall control of the fight and the striking discrepancy; as Machida out-landed Anders 66-32 in significant strikes. The main event bout ended up going the full five rounds with the judges scoring it a split decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46), with Machida getting the ‘nod’.
Machida’s future weighed heavily on getting this victory. Now that he has secured it and is back in the ‘win’ column, he still has at least one more fight in him. At the post-fight press conference, “The Dragon” named Michael Bisping as the next opponent he would like to fight before he inevitably retires.
“He might retire soon, I could retire sometime soon, and people asked for that fight, so it’s a fight that interests me,” Machida said.
After competing twice in 15 weeks, Machida was unsure about his recovery time or an estimated date of his return to the octagon. But, at least the word is out now and talks about making that fight can begin. Let’s see when the UFC will be able to concoct the possible retirement matchup between “The Dragon” and “The Count”.