The 411 MMA Top 10 10.28.13: The Top 10 Lyoto Machida Fights
Posted by Alex Rella on 10.28.2013
From his battle with Shogun Rua at UFC 104 and his knockout of Rashad Evans to his fights with Mark Munoz, Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top 10 Lyoto Machida fights of all time!
Lyoto Machida's Top Ten Fights
Hey everybody, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at Lyoto Machida's top ten fights. Machida is one of the best light heavyweights of all time and he was just successful in his middleweight debut this weekend. The former UFC light heavyweight champion is one of the best fighters in the world using his sumo, BJJ, and karate training to defeat a long list of other legends. I don't think it'll be long before Machida finds himself in contention for the UFC's middleweight title if he continues to take care of business like he did against Munoz. This week's rankings are based on the usual criteria: fight quality, the significance of the fight in relation to his career, and some of my personal opinion mixed in.
• VS Shogun Rua UFC 113- Shogun got his chance to avenge bad judging and picked up the KO of the year as he won the light heavyweight title. Fun fight, but he lost his title so it doesn't go much higher on his personal list.
• VS Quinton Jackson UFC 123- I liked this fight, but I don't think the majority agreed. Machida lost a close split decision to Rampage that many felt he won.
• VS Kazuhiro Nakamura UFC 76- Nakamura was pretty good over in Pride picking up wins over Yuki Kondo, Murilo Bustamante, Kevin Randleman, and Igor Vovchanchyn. Machida won their encounter by unanimous decision and Nakamura failed the post fight drug test.
• VS Michael McDonald Beast 2004- Michael McDonald was a great kickboxer having won multiple K-1 and other various tournaments. The Black Sniper went 52-24-1 competing from 1986-2008. McDonald fought in MMA twice and one of course being against Machida. They stood up for a little, but it wasn't long until Machida brought him down to the ground. They worked for a little bit and then Machida started pressing his wrist up against McDonald's throat. Machida won by a rarely used forearm choke as the kickboxer tapped out.
10: VS Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou UFC 79
Sokoudjou came over to the UFC from Pride on a nice roll. He scored one of the biggest upsets ever when he became the only person to ever knock out Little Nog at Pride 33 and he followed it up with another knockout over Ricardo Arona at Pride 34. He took on Machida in his UFC debut and he walked out to the ring wearing a Predator mask which was awesome. Machida took a close yet uneventful first round. More of the same in the second until Machida dropped Sokoudjou with a left hand out of nowhere. Machida then hopped on top and unloaded with strikes. Sokoudjou was able to recover, while Machida was looking for an arm triangle. Sokoudjou was able to muscle out of the first few attempts, but Machida was eventually able to lock it in for the win. Machida finished his first opponent in the UFC and Sokoudjou only had two more fights in the UFC before being released.
9: VS Mark Munoz UFN 30
After the controversial and disappointing loss to Phil Davis at UFC 163, Lyoto Machida decided to drop down to middleweight. The move made sense as Machida was a lighter light heavyweight and his title hopes at 205 lbs were over. Machida was originally supposed to fight Tim Kennedy, but he stepped up to fight Mark Munoz once Michael Bisping hurt his eye and had to pull out of the fight. Machida looked ripped as he just owned Munoz with his kicks. He knocked him out with a vicious head kick and showed some nice sportsmanship as he didn't follow up with anymore strikes to the already unconscious Munoz. Munoz didn't land one strike; this was only the fifth time in the history of the UFC that this has happened. A shutout performance that has opened up a lot of fun fight possibilities at middleweight. Machida versus Vitor Belfort or Bisping would be great fights.
8: VS Stephan Bonnar Jungle Fight 1
Lyoto Machida took on future TUF runner up Stephan Bonnar in only the second fight of his career. Bonnar was 4-0 at this point and this was his first fight outside of Indiana. It's fun now to see them fight when they were still so young and at start the of their careers. Bonnar's style never changed, but Machida was way more aggressive than he is today. Machida was definitely winning the fight as his karate style was in full display, but Bonnar and his iron jaw kept coming. They were having a very fun fight until it was stopped near the end of the first round due to a gash on Bonnar's face. Bonnar was visibly upset as he lost for the first time in his career. A rematch in the UFC would have been cool to see.
7: VS Rich Franklin Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003
Lyoto Machida took on Rich Franklin in only his third career MMA fight. The future UFC middleweight champion was much more experienced as he was 14-0 and had two victories already in the UFC. The two fought in Hyogo, Japan at a catchweight of 214 lbs. Machida took the first round as he took and knocked down Franklin. A minute into the second round, Machida connected with a head kick to stun Franklin and he followed it up with punches to end it. An impressive performance at the beginning of a great career.
6: VS Ryan Bader UFC on Fox 4
Dana White announced before UFC on Fox 4 that the next UFC light heavyweight number one contender would come from either the winner of Ryan Bader vs Lyoto Machida or the Shogun Rua vs Brandon Vera. All four men had previously lost to Jon Jones so neither rematch possibility seemed overly exciting. Bader had won two in a row, including one against Rampage and Machida was coming off his loss against Jones. Machida was in vintage form as his karate style kept Bader off balance and prevented him from getting in any significant offense. Bader lost his patience in the second round and decided to charge in face first. Machida knocked him out cold with a right hand to win Knockout of the Night and another title shot. Although he would never get it after all the UFC 151 nonsense and he felt fighting at UFC 152 wouldn't give him enough time to properly prepare.
5: VS Thiago Silva UFC 94
Years before Thiago Silva was fat and giving in fake urine samples, he was a top contender at light heavyweight. Both men had matching records at 13-0 and looking to move up into title contention. Machida had the better resume of wins, but Silva had finished all of his opponents in the UFC and only had one decision victory at that point. Machida came out more aggressive than he does these days as he completely owned Silva. Machida scored a trip takedown, knockdown, and even just shoved Silva to the ground. Machida dove on him while Silva was on the ground from the shove with one second left in the first round. Silva was knocked out cold and Machida won Knockout of the Night. Machida would go on to win the title and Silva would be suspended twice.
4: VS Tito Ortiz UFC 84
This was one of those fights you just wish had two more rounds. Machida came into this one as a quickly rising prospect in the light heavyweight division with four victories in the UFC. Still at this point one of the best light heavyweights in the world, Tito Ortiz was coming off a draw against Rashad Evans and this was being billed as his last fight in the UFC. Machida evaded most of Ortiz's offense in this one with his usual movement, but Ortiz kept pushing forward and got some shots in. The most exciting moments of the fight came in the final minute of the fight as Machida dropped Ortiz with a knee to the body. Ortiz nearly submitted him at the end of the third round with a triangle choke and then an armbar, but Machida escaped and picked up the biggest win of his career at that point.
3: VS Randy Couture UFC 129
Randy Couture vs Machida gave MMA fans one of the most bittersweet highlights ever. The forty seven year old Couture was on a three fight win streak when he went up against Machida. Machida on the other hand was on a two fight losing streak and in desperate need of a win. The first round had some pretty good action and both men looked evenly matched. Then Couture got knocked out with a karate kid style crane kick in the second round. Couture announced beforehand that it would have been his last fight, but you have to wonder if he would have reconsidered if he won, as Machida went on to get a title shot against Jones afterwards. Machida got himself back on track as he retired a living legend and one of the greatest fighters of all time.
2: VS Shogun Rua UFC 104
It's a shame that it's now unlikely that these will never finish their trilogy. Right now both former UFC light heavyweight champions are at different spots in the UFC rankings, but their first fight at UFC 104 was one of the greats. Machida was going for his first title defense and Shogun got the nod after knocking out Chuck Liddell at UFC 97. Nobody had been able to hurt Machida at this point, Tito Ortiz had his moments but it was nothing substantial. Shogun finally figured out how to beat him with his constant pressure, excellent striking, and durable chin. The fight went the distance, but somehow all three judges scored the fight 48-47 for Machida. This was a very controversial decision as FightMetric showed that Rua landed twice as many shots as Machida. I personally didn't think it was the worst blown call we've ever seen, but I would have given it to Shogun. Still an awesome fight and it goes down in the record books as a win for Machida and his only title defense.
1: VS Rashad Evans UFC 98
This was an easy choice for Machida's number one fight. Both of these fighters had less than spectacular reigns with the title, but they took on each other in the main event of UFC 98. Rashad Evans had just defeated Forrest Griffin for the title at UFC 92 and Lyoto Machida earned his title shot after knocking out Thiago Silva at UFC 94. This was the only time that two undefeated fighters fought for a title in the UFC. At this point nobody had really been able to figure out Machida, but Evans' wrestling and striking speed posed a legitimate threat. The two light heavyweights spent the first couple minutes feeling each other out. Evans had a solid strategy of moving in and out and trying stay out of Machida's range, but he was barely connecting. Machida knocked him down with strikes and came close to finishing it there, but Evans was saved by the bell. Then in the second, Machida had him up against the cage and just lit him up with some of the best striking you'll see in MMA. Machida knocked him out and picked up the biggest win of his career. I'm not a Machida fan, but his post fight speech was some inspiring stuff.
• So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fight out that you thought should be in the top 10.
• As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.