For more than six years, Lyoto Machida has been a staple amongst the light heavyweight elite and a fixture on top 10 lists. However, MMA is a world where the new and novel springs forth from sudden circumstance. In this case, an injury to the eye of Michael Bisping opened the door for Machida to make his long-discussed middleweight debut. What a debut it was.
Machida was spectacular as a substitute for Bisping in the UFC Fight Night 30 headliner against Mark Munoz. The former UFC light heavyweight champ needed a little more than three minutes to go upside Munoz's head with a left roundhouse kick and announce his arrival at 185 pounds in highlight-reel fashion.
The year 2013 is now one where Machida is an elite middleweight, where Chael Sonnen passes muster as a standout light heavyweight and where Gabriel Gonzaga has clawed his way back into heavyweight top 10 lists. It is a year where Bellator MMA's first attempted pay-per-view retreats to cable TV after losing its headliner, yet still boasts three fights with considerable top-10 consequences.
The month of November boasts four cards each from the UFC and Bellator, with a total of seven promotional titles on the line between them. The vast majority of the cards are free, too, so the sport's lineup in the 11th month is also cheaper than light therapy. Bundle up, fight fans.
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