SINGAPORE — Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida knocked Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz in UFC Fight Night 30 with a kick to the head late in Round 1 of their battle at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England.
Both Machida and Munoz are good friends and former training partners so when they were scheduled to meet at UFC Fight Night 30 in a Middleweight contest, the two fighters were surprised at the sudden announcement.
Still, Machida coming off a loss to Phil Davis in his last fight, and Munoz just recently overcoming a bout with depression, were friends nonetheless and their fight didn’t change things regardless of the outcome.
Munoz, a former Big 12 All-American and NCAA champion, played the role of wrestler in this scrap with Machida countering as the striker with his unorthodox Shotokan-Karate style.
The fight began with Machida entrenched on the outside, near the center of the cage, a style that most fighters have trouble dealing with due to the difficulty to properly gauge distance. Munoz’s best chance was to take the fight to the ground and use his world-class wrestling to do some damage, much like he did to Tim Boetsch in his last fight.
But as was the case, Machida was and still is a very difficult puzzle to solve, even at 185 lbs.
After the two fighters sized each other up, Machida began with a thudding kick to the body that had Munoz reeling. Moments later, another body kick landed with equal force and already, Munoz was showing difficulty in dealing with Machida’s Karate.
And just like that, Machida, who made a career out of terrorizing light-heavyweights with his unpredictable striking style turned in a vintage performance at the expense of an old friend. Machida went for the same kick nearly 3 minutes in but aimed at the head instead of the body. Munoz, still weary of the body kicks lowered his hands ever so slightly, providing Machida with an opening at his right temple.
Munoz dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. He wasn’t out, but was defenseless against incoming attacks.
In a show of character and concern, Machida pulled back on follow up punches as the referee waved off the fight and awarded him with the knockout.
“It’s hard for me because Mark is a very good friend,” said Machida in the post-fight interview. “As a professional, I don’t think about that. I had to just do my job.”
Machida stressed that he and Munoz will continue to remain friends, even after the fight.
“Mark, thank you for fighting me. Sorry about that, my friend.”
Official time of the stoppage was 3:10 of Round 1. Munoz, ranked #7 at Middleweight, will have to continue on his quest for a title and go back to the drawing board for this one. Machida on the other hand, showed the kind of power that was expected of him at a lower weight class.
With the impressive win, Machida now becomes a major player in the division, which also features fellow Blackhouse teammate Anderson “The Spider” Silva and champion Chris Weidman who will fight for the Middleweight title in December. – Rappler.com
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