Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Lyoto Machida is fast; there aren't many fighters in the UFC's light heavyweight division that can match him in a battle of pure technique without being put to sleep. But Ryan Bader looked like he was moving in slow motion at UFC of FOX 4 when he attempted to exchange with the Dragon.
The first round of the contest was characterized by Machida using short punches and quick kicks to keep Bader off balance. The Brazilian's strategy was clearly frustrating Bader, who resolved to do something about it in Round 2.
When Bader finally decided to make his move, he attempted to catch Machida off guard by exploding forward with a lunging right hook. The plan did not work very well.
Bader's shot glanced off Machida's left arm, barely making contact with the side of his head, rendering the attack ineffective. And even as Bader's punch was still heading toward Machida, the Dragon snapped out a quick right of his own that sent a stunned Bader to the canvass in a motionless heap.
The speed disparity between the two combatants was best embodied in that final exchange, as Machida had time to react defensively to Bader's assault and mount a counter offensive before Darth knew what was happening.
Machida is, of course, probably the best counter puncher at 205, so falling into his traps does not imply incompetence on Bader's part. But the ease with which Machida performed the fight-ending strike speaks to the time he had to process events before reacting.
Bader has found success on the feet against powerful strikers—Jason Brilz and Quinton Jackson come to mind—but if his performance against Machida is any indication, success against opponents with quick hands may be harder for the 29-year-old to come by.