The son of the head of the prestigious Brazilian branch of the Japan Karate Association, (Shotokan karate master Yoshizo Machida) Lyoto Machida is one of few MMA fighters to bring traditional martial arts into cage. Adopting a unique style, blending his prominent Shotokan karate background with sumo wrestling as well as conventional Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu jitsu, Machida is a one-of-a-kind fighter in UFC’s history. Read up on his Top 5 MMA finishes! (in descending order)
- Vs. Thiago Silva – UFC 94 (January 31, 2009)
- Vs. Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz – UFC Fight Night (October 26, 2013)
- Vs. Rashad “Suga” Evans – UFC 98 (May 23, 2009)
- Vs. Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort – UFC 224 (May 12, 2018)
Prior to the fight, the then-undefeated Silva said that he was going to “rough Machida up” and planned to “chase Machida down”, which would prove to be a big mistake, for Silva barely touched Machida. Machida even managed to score a takedown and knock Silva down twice with face punches. At the end of the round, Lyoto nailed a buzzer-beating knockout with a falling face punch on the already-grounded Silva. Not only was this Machida’s first knockout in the UFC, he also earned his first Knockout of the Night bonus. Machida then fought Rashad Evans for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Mark Munoz was originally set to face Michael Bisping. However, Bisping could not fight due a severe retinal detachment he received during his bout against Vitor Belfort. Bisping was therefore replaced by Munoz’s friend and training partner Lyoto Machida. Although Munoz sparred with karate fighters in preparation for the match, none were able to emulate Machida’s style, and Machida, being as calm and poised as ever, knocked Munoz out with a round kick to the head within 3 minutes of the first round to earn him another Fight of the Night bonus.
After earning his first knockout against Thiago Silva, Lyoto Machida went on to fight Rashad Evans for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. With both men undefeated at the time, the two spent the first 2 minutes of the fight gauging each other, and Machida was the first one to engage with a high round kick that nearly pushed Evans to the end of the cage. Machida was able to overcome Evans’ agility as he continued to shock him over and over again with round kicks throughout the first round, even knocking Evans down with a kick-punch combination. Evans, on the other hand, struggled to land solid hits on Machida and looked uncomfortable exchanging with The Dragon.
By the second round, we see Lyoto tagging Evans with a rapid combination of traditional karate straight punches to the face. Finally, Lyoto rocked Evans and took him to the ground with another punching combination, and although Evans got back up from Machida’s ground and pound, Machida would chase him with continuous strikes knocking Evans out with a punch to the chin. Alongside winning the championship belt, Machida earned his second consecutive Knockout of the Night bonus. The art of karate also experienced a moment of revival with Machida announcing to the fans in his post fight interview “Karate is back! Machida Karate!”
Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort trained together before, and this match was fought out of mutual respect. After two minutes of the first round, Machida caught Belfort with a skipping hook kick to the chin. Being untouchable for the most part, Machida proceeded to land kicks on Belfort every once in a while, reddening Belfort’s ribs and elbows. By the 4-minute mark of the second round, Lyoto Machida stunned the crowd with the same thing Anderson Silva did to Belfort years ago, a front-kick-to-the-head knockout. Boasting a career spanning over 20 years, Belfort finally announced his retirement after the fight, and the Dragon earned his second Performance of the Night bonus.
…and in at #1 is…
Vs. Randy “The Natural” Couture – UFC 129 (April 30, 2011)
After losing his belt to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and suffering another loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson via decision, Machida made a comeback against Randy Couture. Although Couture is 15 years older than Machida and landed the first attack with a hook to Machida’s face, Machida continued to do what he does best; counterattacking and distance control, and tagged Couture with punches and knees. Despite Couture being a wrestling prodigy in his younger days, Machida successfully defended against both of Couture’s takedown attempts. Machida continued to test Couture in the second round and, after 1 minute, knocked Couture out with a crane kick. This was Couture’s last fight before retirement, and Machida’s next fight was against Jon Jones for a chance to reclaim the light heavyweight championship belt.
So there we have it folks, some of Lyoto Machida’s best finishes. What was your fave Machida fight, do you agree with this list? Which fighter would you like to see get KFK’d next? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. Love MMA? Then check out the FUniversity for more!