Lyoto Machida made his much-anticipated Bellator MMA debut on Saturday at Bellator 213, earning a close split-decision win over former middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho.
The 40-year old former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion parted ways with his former employers earlier this year after 11 years and was excited to be making his debut for Bellator against a tough opponent like Carvalho.
After the fight, “The Dragon” admitted the feeling was different than what he was used to under the UFC and despite some debut jitters, he managed to get the job done against his opponent (via MMAJunkie.com):
“Tough opponent, tough fight,” Machida said. “I believe because it was my first fight in Bellator, in the beginning, I was kind of lost. Even though I have a lot of fights under my belt, many years in the UFC and other events, Bellator is different. Every time you step in a different cage, you can feel the difference, and that’s what I felt at the beginning of the fight.”
For his second fight, Machida has said he would like to fight the winner of Gegard Mousasi vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. Mousasi, whom Machida defeated at UFC Fight Night 26 in 2014, will defend his Bellator middleweight championship against Lovato Jr. at Bellator 214 on Jan. 26.