Almost nine years after losing to Lyoto Machida in the UFC, Ryan Bader finally got his revenge in the Bellator 256 Main Event on Friday. Bader defeated Machida by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45, 49-45) qualifying for the semi-finals of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament.
Ryan Bader (37) had a resounding revenge on Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (42) in the Bellator 256 last night. Bader, Bellator heavyweight champion, and not so long ago double simultaneous champion (heavyweight, light heavyweight) – the first to achieve this feat at Bellator -, won by unanimous decision (49-46, 49 -45, 49-45) at the end of the five rounds of this fight which marked the opening of the Light Heavyweights Tournament bringing together all the best fighters in the league in the category of less than 93 kilos.
Bader could not do anything during his first fight against Machida, who won thanks to his karate (he is an expert in Shotokan karate) and his traveling skills, nine years ago. Former UFC, he had left on a winning streak, the Brazilian again used his mobility and excellent distance management to annihilate Bader’s work in the first round. Tired of this remote work, the American was surprised by two knee hits to the head on a sudden acceleration from Machida who did not hesitate to return when an opening presented itself.
Machida’s ordeal in the 3rd round
The fight changed face from the 2nd round with a first take to the ground from Ryan Bader followed by ground and pound work (punches or elbow on an opponent on the ground). Machida held on this time around, Bader failing to frame his opponent well enough to close the gap, but the American’s work to undermine was not long in paying off. And the confrontation to turn to the ordeal for Machida, put to the torment. Bader, who had until then had problems with Machida’s movements, finally managed to return with his fists to take his opponent to the ground, and hurt him badly.
The fight progressing at the same time as fatigue began to be felt, and the pressure to be done more and more pressing, Machida lost in mobility and was more exposed to the ground. The Brazilian was even dominated standing in the 4th round, confirming the concern born of the end of the previous recovery. The fight could have ended there, but there was a fifth and final recovery, also one-sided. Ryan Bader, current heavyweight belt holder will face the winner of the duel between Corey Anderson and Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov in the semifinals.