The UFC Fight Night 36 main event is over and done with. Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida made good on his status as favorite and took a handy decision over the former Strikeforce champion.
It was a technically marvelous performance by Machida, who subjected Mousasi to the sort of torment he usually inflicts on his opponents, keeping them permanently out of range and counterstriking them without answer.
While it didn't have as many spectacular moments as some fights, it was still an excellent performance by Machida, who might just have himself a title shot.
So how did he pull it off? Find out right here!
The fight starts out as should be expected; the two strikers begin feeling each other out. Mousasi peppers with leg kicks but Machida adjust his range and lands a nice body kick, followed by a leg kick of his own.
Both fighters are reluctant to commit to any strikes. Mousasi maintains the center of the cage, which is to be expected when it comes to Machida's counter-focused style.
Machida lands a nice left hand, but doesn't follow it up with anything and Mousasi shrugs it off. Mousasi continues chasing Machida and dashes into a leg kick. He jumps in with a lead hook but Machida lands a beautiful counter left.
"The Dragon" seems to have already found his range when it comes to his left hand and catches Mousasi with a counter again. He has Mousasi on his back foot and catches him with two more kicks.
The horn sounds following a relatively uneventful round. It is, however, an easy one to score.
10-9 Lyoto Machida
Machida opens with a feint leg kick into a high kick that lands, but is mostly blocked. Mousasi is unfazed but eats a leg kick.
Machida is starting to become the aggressor in this fight and has Mousasi backpedaling at every hint of offense. He starts to open up with some hands, but doesn't land anything of consequence.
Mousasi eats a headkick but catches the foot in a remarkable display of chin and threatens a takedown. Machida stays balanced and frees himself and returns to striking distance.
Mousasi is beginning to show some urgency, throwing his right hand confidently but Machida consistently evades. Machida continues looking for a headkick, but Mousasi dodges and follows with some hands. Nothing lands, though and with a minute left the round remains up for grabs.
Mousasi lands a nice punch but takes a counter right in return. Machida gets back on his bicycle and takes a left hand. Just before the horn sounds, he lands a leg kick.
A substantially closer round that could go either way. I get the benefit of writing things down and, as such, have something resembling numbers to refer to. While the fight could be a draw at this point, I have it...
10-9 Lyoto Machida
No glamorous entry this time. Mousasi lands a nice left and presses forward. He leaps forward for a single but Machida shakes him off with ease and Mousasi begins throwing knees to the thigh in the clinch.
They break and Machida lands a great straight left. Mousasi clinches but Machida shrugs him off and dives into a right hand that is deflected. He follows it with a spinning kick to the gut that is blocked, but makes the Dutchman wince.
Mousasi presses forward but takes a headkick that opens a cut on his nose. Machida throws another headkick but slips on the cage.
Machida gets back to striking range and lands a nice knee to the body of a wary Mousasi. Mousasi returns fire with a beatiful combination that backs Machida off. Machida lands a nice body kick.
Machida actually shoots for a takedown of his own but Mousasi shrugs it off.
The horn sounds without incident with a more decisive round for Machida. He could already have an insurmountable lead on the scorecards.
10-9 Lyoto Machida
Machida goes for a snap kick and Mousasi times a perfect takedown. Machida squirms away but eats a knee on his way back to his feet.
Back to striking range, Mousasi throws a solid leg kick. Machida dashes in on a jab and narrowly evades a haymaker from Mousasi.
Mousasi doesn't seem to have an answer for Machida at this point, and continues to come a hair short on every attempt at offense. Mousasi goes in hard for a punch and Machida lands a beautiful trip. He dives atop Mousasi into half-guard. Mousasi gets him back to guard and lands a great sweep.
Mousasi hints at a kimura but lets go and is in Machida's guard. Machida begins working for an omoplata but Mousasi slips away and eats an elbow.
Mousasi begins taking what Machida is leaving for him; pitapat ground and pound. He throws light punches to the body.
Machida escapes and Mousasi ends up taking his back. He shakes him off like nothing and moves towards taking top position. Mousasi lands an upkick on a clearly downed Machida, who had his knee down a full second in advance.
The action is stopped but no point is deducted. The round closes and while this was a great round for Mousasi, that upkick still might cost him for judges. Still, I will omit it from the record since, well, that's what you're supposed to do.
10-9 Gegard Mousasi
Mousasi presses forward but keeps taking counters. Machida goes for a boy kick that goes awry but slips away without incident.
Not much goes on for a full minute, but Machida breaks the ice with a huge knee to the head. Mousasi shrugs it off but it was a huge point-scoring strike.
Once again, not much happens but Machida lands a nice leg kick that sweeps Mousasi off his feet. Machida lands on top in half-guard. Mousasi starts throwing punches from the bottom, but they do little damage.
Mousasi tries to escape but Machida takes his back and starts working for a rear-naked choke. Mousasi escapes but Machida jumps into a flying punch that lands as the final horn sounds. An easy round to score, and a pretty clear decision for "The Dragon"...in theory.
10-9 Lyoto Machida
Final Score: 49-46 Lyoto Machida
Official Decision: Lyoto Machida defeats Gegard Mousasi by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45)
Not a surprising decision. Machida rightly takes the nod from the judges by a sizable margin.
It was by no means an electrifying fight, but it was a legitimate MMA chess match between two formidable strikers.