After the elusiveness defeated Dan Henderson, Lyoto Machida snuck past Alexander Gustafsson for the next shot at UFC gold.
Machida (Twitter: @lyotomachidafw) garnered a split decision victory against Henderson (Twitter: @danhendo) at UFC 157 on Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The match had very few crowd pleasing moments and could have gone either way on the judges’ scorecards.
Machida, a karate specialist, used his imperceptibility to avoid Henderson’s takedowns and strikes, but didn’t attack as much as “The Dragon” usually does. Machida landed several significant, flashy kicks, but Henderson, with his inhuman-like chin, grinned and was never dazed from the blows.
Henderson hunted Machida without much success for the majority of the fight, although, he did get the Brazilian down in Round 3. Machida controlled Henderson in guard until he could get back to his feet, and that was the American’s only point of dominance in the bout. When Henderson attacked with punches, Machida kept a distance that wouldn’t allow “Hendo” to connect, yet the Black House teammate rarely counter-attacked. It was the story of the fight until time expired and the judges rendered it a split decision in Machida’s favor.
Though, a lackluster contest, the outcome provided Machida with a prize already promised to another mixed martial artist.
Henderson was the UFC light heavyweight No. 1 contender until injury forced him out of the UFC 151 main event championship match against Jon Jones. While Henderson was recovering, Chael Sonnen managed to acquire a chance to square off with Jones in a title match, so Machida, in a sense, defeated the UFC 205-pound division No. 1 contender at UFC 157.
However, UFC president Dana White announced at a press conference on Feb. 13 that Gustafsson would receive the next title shot if victorious over promotion newcomer Gegard Mousasi. But, at the UFC 157 post-fight press conference White granted Machida with the same honors.
“He just beat the number one contender,” White said when asked if Machida will get a title shot. ”Which, would make him the number one contender.