Lyoto Machida earned the next shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight title shot by KO'ing Ryan Bader in the co-main event of the UFC on Fox 4 show. Machida knew he needed an impressive showing to warrant a rematch with Jones, and the knockout of Bader was just that.
Machida came in a little lighter on the scales, weighing in at 201 pounds, which brought up a number of questions about Machida's training camp. Joe Rogan attempted to explain during the broadcast that this was due to Machida wanting to be as light on his feet as possible and this could be the reason.
Whatever his reasoning, Machida did everything perfect in his bout with Bader—an indicator he did everything right in his training camp as well.
He came in and showcased his usual karate style that appeared to give Bader trouble, and utilized his new strength to put Bader away with a single punch. The fight was brief but Machida showed us just a taste of what he is now capable of.
Leading up to Saturday night's contest, Lyoto Machida let cameras see a glimpse of the transition of his family from Brazil to America. While his family adjusts to the move, it will no doubt pay big dividends for Machida in his MMA career.
By moving to America, Machida will now have more training options available to him. Access to the "Team Blackhouse" training members will be easier as well as a handful of top level fighters based on the west coast.
The new training camp seems to have paid off for Machida, as he came in well under the weight limit and arguably looked the best we've ever seen him. Prior to his bout with Jon Jones, Machida alluded to his increase in strength and it appears that he's beginning to understand what to do with his new found strength.
We will see who Machida brings in for his camps in the future, but he will undoubtedly have better access to top-level wrestlers by moving to America.
It may have been Ryan Bader running straight into the right hand from Lyoto Machida but the Brazilian still ended the fight with a single punch, something he hasn't been able to do in the UFC.
Machida was always able to pick his opponents apart and could secure a finish, but never with a single strike. Part of it is his kartate style which helps Machida "score points" rather than put the full force of his body behind his strikes. Up until last night, Machida had not displayed that one punch KO power that nearly all the top guys at 205-pounds possess.
I'm not sure if it's a result of Machida's new training regimen, his increase in strength or just the result of Bader being in the wrong place at the wrong time; whatever the cause, it will no doubt lead to an increase in confidence for Machida going forward.
Lyoto Machida will always be a counter-puncher. His karate style is based on the idea of him creating angles to work around his opponent's offense and strike before the opponent has a chance to fire back.
We saw that in his bout with Ryan Bader as Machida picked him apart through the first round. Every time Bader attempted to close the distance, Machida responded with a powerful strike that made Bader think twice about engaging again.
In Machida's contest with Quinton Jackson, Machida heard criticism after the fight for being too cautious in the early going. He came out in the third with some aggression and nearly finished the fight, something he may have achieved if Machida didn't wait until the final five minutes to start attacking.
Against Bader, Machida didn't wait to attack. He not only controlled the distance but used it to engage Bader on the feet. The end of the fight still came by way of a counter-strike from Machida, but it was nice to finally see him have the confidence to put together some offense in the opening minutes.