Cross Dan Henderson off the list of possible opponents for the Jon Jones-Chael Sonnen winner.
The judges scored it 29-28, 29-28, and 28-29.
The fight wasn't exactly action-packed. According to stats announced by the UFC, the winner landed just 32 strikes over the course of the 15-minute bout. Henderson landed just 23. Each man also had one takedown.
The Honda Center crowd booed the decision, but it was unclear if they disagreed with the announcement of Machida as the winner or if they were simply dissatisfied with the action they'd just witnessed.
"He's a very tough fighter, a great opponent for me," Machida said. "I have a lot of respect for him. My strategy for tonight was keep the fight standup and I think I got him."
The pair fought a highly tactical first, with Henderson stalking and circling and while Machida attempted to keep his distance. The most significant moment of the round came in the final seconds, when the two fought into a clinch and Machida used an inside trip to put Henderson on the mat. He landed an elbow from the top position but the horn sounded before he could do any real damage.
Henderson tried to pick his spots in the second, occasionally charging forward and looking for the big right hand, but he couldn't successfully navigate the distance. Henderson was able to continue his trend of inside leg kicks, but that was the extent of his damage. Fortunately for him, Machida wasn't overly aggressive, making the round scoring a difficulty.
Henderson was able to get Machida to the mat in the third, but most of his scoring punches were to the body, and they were few. Machida got back to his feet and stayed away from any heavy offense until the final bell.
Machida is now 19-3 overall while Henderson is now 29-9.