The tried-and-true tactics Lyoto Machida has used throughout his Ultimate Fighting Championship career served him well once more.
Pinpoint straight left hands, kicks to the body and leg and incessant circular movement carried Machida to a split decision over former Legacy Fighting Alliance titleholder Eryk Anders in the UFC Fight Night 125 headliner on Saturday at Guilherme Paraense Arena in Belem, Brazil. Scores were 48-47 and 49-46 for Machida, 48-47 for Anders.
Machida (23-8, 15-8 UFC) knocked down the onetime University of Alabama linebacker with a leg kick in the first round and continued to attack his lower extremities as the fight drifted into deeper water. Anders landed the most significant blow of the fight in Round 3, where he opened a vertical gash in between the Brazilian’s eyes with a perfectly timed knee strike along the fence. Blood poured from the wound but did not overtly impact Machida. Anders (10-1, 2-1 UFC) tried to build on his success in the fourth round, as he backed up Machida with probing left hands and executed a takedown in the final minute. Perhaps sensing the outcome might still be in doubt, Machida found another gear in the fifth. He zeroed in on Anders’ body with knees, targeted his leg with kicks and negated a takedown with a late scramble.
The win, Machida’s first since December 2014, snapped a three-fight losing streak for “The Dragon.”
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Shevchenko Obliterates Newcomer Cachoeira
Valentina Shevchenko submitted Parana Vale Tudo prospect Priscila Cachoeira with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their women’s flyweight co-main event. The previously unbeaten Cachoeira (8-1, 0-1 UFC) bowed out 4:25 into Round 2 of an early frontrunner for “Beatdown of the Year.”
It was not competitive, not even for a second. Shevchenko (15-3, 4-2 UFC) stung the Brazilian with blistering combinations early in the first round, landed a takedown and cut loose with a terrifying burst of elbows, one of which cut Cachoeira. The situation only grew more one-sided. Shevchenko delivered an inside trip takedown to start the middle stanza, moved to the mounted crucifix on two occasions and continued to bludgeon her 29-year-old adversary with punches and elbows. The Pavel Fedotov protégé transitioned to full mount and then advanced to the back, flattening out the fading Cachoeira before hammering away with punches and cinching the choke.
Afterward, Shevchenko set her sights on UFC women’s flyweight champion Nicco Montano.
Overweight Prazeres Sinks Green
Jungle Fight and Shooto Americas veteran Michel Prazeres pushed his run of consecutive victories to six with a unanimous decision over Henri Hooft understudy Desmond Green in a three-round catchweight battle at 161 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Prazeres (24-2, 8-2 UFC): 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Green (20-7, 1-2 UFC) struck for multiple takedowns in the first round and performed well in the clinch. However, the former Titan Fighting Championship titleholder lost his way in the second. Prazeres answered with a takedown of his own, advanced to mount and chained together his submission attempts, from an arm-triangle choke to a guillotine to a north-south choke. Green withstood the Brazilian, but the tide had nevertheless turned against him.
Prazeres, who missed weight for the match by five pounds, continued his pursuits in the third round, where he executed another takedown and again climbed to full mount. Green spent the waning moments on all fours, clinging to a leg and eating short punches.
Johnson Handles Unbeaten Golm
Two-time NCAA All-American Timothy Johnson utilized heavy punching combinations and a punishing clinch in a unanimous decision over Corinthians MMA prospect Marcelo Golm in their featured heavyweight clash. Fighting behind a bushy mustache, Johnson (12-4, 4-3 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 marks from the judges.
Golm (6-1, 1-1 UFC) enjoyed success with his kicks, particularly those to the inside of the Minnesotan’s leg, but failed to sustain his efforts. Johnson lured him into close quarters and pressed him to the fence, piling up points with short punches and knees to the body and legs. The 32-year-old hit the accelerator in the third round, where he rattled Golm with an uppercut and snapped his head back with a volley of power punches before drawing him back into the clinch.
Aggressive Andrade Outhustles Vera
Douglas Silva de Andrade won for the third time in four appearances, as he picked up a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” semifinalist Marlon Vera in a three-round bantamweight feature. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Andrade (25-2, 3-2 UFC).
Vera (10-5-1, 4-4 UFC) could match neither the Brazilian’s conviction nor his pace. Outside of a takedown late in the first round, Andrade did his business on the feet. He opened a cut near Vera’s left eye with a left hook in Round 2 and had him in full retreat when he delivered another hook to the same eye moments later, leaving the Team Oyama export with visible swelling. In addition to power punching combinations upstairs, Andrade mixed in occasional leg kicks and stabbing right hands to the body. Vera’s frustration built over time, and he resorted to flashing middle fingers at the Jungle Fight veteran late in the third round.
The 25-year-old Vera has lost back-to-back bouts for the first time in his career.
Santos Body Kick Folds Smith
American Top Team’s Thiago Santos brought down Anthony Smith with a liver kick and follow-up punches in the second round of their middleweight showcase. Smith (28-13, 4-3 UFC) bit the dust 63 seconds into Round 2, his three-fight winning streak having run its course.
Both men found themselves in peril in the first round, where Smith ate a pair of head kicks before somehow falling into full mount. Santos (17-5, 9-4 UFC) reversed into top position, tore into the former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder with body-head ground-and-pound and returned to his feet. The two middleweights connected with dueling right hands in the final minute, as Santos suffered a significant gash on his left eyebrow and Smith hit the deck.
Undeterred by the cut, Santos sent a kick sweeping across the American’s midsection early in the middle stanza. Smith doubled over and retreated in noticeable pain, his counterpart in hot pursuit. Santos uncorked punches with Smith clinging to his leg in a seated position. After a sustained volley of unanswered blows, referee Marc Goddard had seen enough to award Santos his fourth straight victory.
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