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Lyoto Machida started his post-Ultimate Fighting Championship stint with a victory over former Bellator MMA middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho. Before that, he scored wins over Vitor Belfort and Eryk Anders. Proving he still has a lot left in the tank, Machida will try to keep the streak going versus fellow mixed martial arts veteran Chael Sonnen at Bellator 222.
The two revered light heavyweights are set to clash at New York’s Madison Square Garden on June 14. As “The Dragon” prepares for this bout, here are some numbers that define his stellar career.
3: Years old when he started training karate under his father Yoshizo Machida, a high-ranking figure at the Japan Karate Association’s branch in Brazil. The young Machida eventually earned his black belt at 13 years old. Later on, he also studied sumo wrestling, muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu among others.
8: Wins without a loss in regional promotions before getting signed by the UFC. This long winning streak early in his career proved that his transition to MMA was a great decision. Machida made his professional debut on May 2, 2003 opposite Kengo Watanabe at an event called NJPW: Ultimate Crush. In his next two bouts, he notably fought Stephan Bonnar and Rich Franklin at Jungle Fight 1 and Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003, respectively. He also fought BJ Penn at Hero’s 1 and Vernon White at WFA: King of the Streets.
8: Wins without a loss to start his UFC career. Machida was welcomed by Sam Hoger at UFC 67 and triumphed by unanimous decision. “The Dragon” notched two more wins by decision before earning his first stoppage inside the Octagon, submitting Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in the second round. A couple more victories and he found himself challenging and beating Rashad Evans for the UFC light heavyweight title. He defended it once against Mauricio Rua in a highly-contested decision only to lose via knockout in a rematch half a year later.
70: Significant strikes was his highest striking output in a single UFC fight. He did it against Kazuhiro Nakamura whom he eventually defeated via unanimous decision at UFC 76.
13: Significant strikes as opposed to Jon Jones’ 24 in their light heavyweight title fight. Machida was doing fairly well against Jones in the first round of their UFC 140 encounter until Jones caught him with a standing guillotine choke early in round two.
10: Wins by knockout. Machida is an all-round fighter, but striking is obviously his strongest weapon. The karate black belt has scored knockout victories over Bonnar, Franklin, Dimitri Wanderley, Thiago Silva, Evans, Randy Couture, Ryan Bader, Mark Muñoz, CB Dollaway and Belfort.
2: Wins by submission. Given his striking prowess, it’s easy to forget that Machida is also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. He made the best use of his ground game opposite Michael McDonald whom he tapped out by forearm choke and Sokoudjou by arm triangle.
40: Years of age and still a tough challenge for anyone at light heavyweight. Machida was born in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, on May 30, 1978. He grew up in Belem, Brazil, and currently resides in Palos Verdes, California, with his family.