Lyoto Machida was in desperate need of a win heading into his light heavyweight bout against Randy Couture at UFC 129. Anything but a win would jeopardize his status among the light heavyweight rankings and possibly his career in the UFC.
And he came through in dramatic fashion.
The first round opened up as both competitors began to circle and feel one another out. Machida began to paw some jabs and Couture dodged and weaved his opponent's strikes. Couture pressed forward and clinched, but Machida shrugged him off and landed an uppercut in the process.
Couture continued to stalk his opponent, but Machida maintained distance using his superior footwork and circled his opponent. Machida landed a big knee that shook Couture, but the 47-year old began to clinch Machida up against the cage.
The Brazilian shrugged him off once again.
Couture again tried to establish a clinch, but Machida circled away and followed up with a body kick. Machida landed another knee to the body as the round came to a close.
In the second round, Couture came out and faked a couple of strikes, but Machida continued to dodge and maintain distance. Machida pressed forward and began to swarm on his opponent while Couture attempted a takedown, but Machida stuffed it. Couture came forward and Machida countered with a right hook.
Machida stood in the pocket and began to feint an attack to throw off Couture. Out of nowhere, Machida faked with his left leg and landed a flying crane kick that instantly dropped Couture and signaled the end of the bout.
What's next for Lyoto Machida?
Machida reemerged into the light heavyweight title picture following his highlight-reel knockout. While suffering two consecutive losses last year, Machida earned a well-deserved victory over a legend in Randy Couture.
With the win, Machida will likely square off against someone around the upper echelon of the division. A matchup against the winner of Phil Davis versus Rashad Evans is probable, while a rematch with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is a possibility as well.
What's next for Randy Couture?
Mixed martial arts fans have seen the last of Randy Couture in the Octagon, as the 47-year old previously stated he would retire following UFC 129. Couture remains one of the most beloved and iconic fighters in UFC history and finishes his career with a professional record of 19-11-0 and with a list of accomplishments and milestones.