MACHIDA vs. COUTURE
TORONTO, April 30 – Karate is back again. Though if you ask former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, he’ll tell you it never left, and to prove it, he sent UFC legend Randy Couture into retirement with a spectacular jumping front kick in UFC 129 main card action Saturday night at Rogers Centre to get back on the winning track after losses to Mauricio Rua and Quinton Jackson. Watch Machida post-fight interview
“It was an honor to fight him,” said Machida, 17-2, of Couture. “He’s is a hero.”
“He’s a tremendous fighter,” said the 47 year old Couture. “It felt like I was standing still out there, and he caught me with a great kick.” Watch Couture post-fight interview
With the crowd chanting “Randy” to start the bout, Couture came out with his hands high, bobbing and weaving as he moved forward. Machida, as cool as ever, stunned Couture with a 1-2, instantly quieting the pro-Couture followers. Couture continued to stalk, but as soon as he got his hands on his opponent, Machida would toss him off with ease. But even though he took the round, Machida’s only offense in the final minute was a hard kick to the midsection.
Picking things up in the second round, Machida seemed intent on ending the bout, and soon enough, he did, taking a leap in the air, and while faking his left, landed flush with a right front kick. Couture fell flat on his back, and as Machida moved in for the finish on his hurt opponent, referee Yves Lavigne intervened, stopping the bout at the 1:05 mark. The move earned the Dragon a $129,000 Knockout of the Night bonus.
“This is it. I think the last time we had this conversation I had all my teeth,” joked Couture, who retires with a 19-11 record, five UFC titles in two divisions, status as a UFC Hall of Famer, and the eternal gratitude of all who watched him fight over the last 14 years, more than 55,000 of which stood and gave him an ovation after this final bout.
MATYUSHENKO vs. BRILZ
It was clean-up time for “The Janitor” in light heavyweight action as Vladimir Matyushenko took only 20 seconds to knock out Jason Brilz. Watch post-fight interview
“Sometimes I do what I promise,” smiled the veteran native of Belarus, who promised a dominant and entertaining victory. “I’ve been working on my striking skills.”
Sizing his opponent up, Matyushenko struck gold with his first offensive blast, drilling Brilz with a 1-2 that dropped him hard. A follow up barrage stiffened the Nebraskan, forcing referee Dan Miragliotta to halt the bout.
With the win, Matyushenko improves to 26-5. Brilz falls to 18-4-1.
HENDERSON vs. BOCEK
Former WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson didn’t deliver his usual Fight of the Night performance, but he was effective in his UFC debut, shutting out Mark Bocek over three rounds. Watch post-fight interview
The unanimous decision read 30-27 across the board for Henderson.
With Bocek unable to get Henderson to the mat throughout much of the first round, the Canadian was forced to eat punches and kicks from his foe until 1:17 remained and he secured a takedown. Even there though, Bocek was largely ineffective, as Henderson continued to pound away from the bottom position.
Bocek kicked off the round two scoring with a hard takedown, but Henderson stayed busy and refused to stay there long. After a stalemate against the fence, referee Yves Lavigne restarted the bout with a little over three minutes left. Henderson’s next move was a takedown of his own, and he proceeded to deliver hard strikes to the head and body as Bocek looked for a submission in between shots. After the two rose, Henderson pushed Bocek to the fence, but it was the Ontario native getting the best of things as he locked in a choke. Henderson stayed calm and broke loose, landing some solid strikes before the round ended.
Henderson drew some boos before the final round as he tried to amp up the pro-Bocek crowd, and they responded by cheering “Let’s go Bocek.” It was Henderson remaining in control though as he pounded away from the top position on the mat. The ultra-tough Bocek was able to get a late takedown with under a minute left, but his guillotine choke attempt was too little too late.
With the win, Henderson improves to 13-2; Bocek falls to 9-4.
UFC 129 Main Card Results: Return of The Dragon – Machida Halts Retiring Couture
Click below for UFC 129 main card results...