Former UFC light heavyweight champion Machida enters this fight having been knocked out or submitted in his past three appearances, while Anders is undefeated in 10 professional bouts including his first two inside the Octagon.
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Round 1: Referee Marc Goddard on hand for the main event. Low kick from Machida to start. The one to the body moments later, and another one to the inside of Anders’s right leg. Anders without a single strike attempt in the first minute. Machida hits another leg kick and Anders drops to his back, Machida dives into his guard. Machida gets back to his feet, but he’s not letting Anders stand. Anders kicking at Machida’s legs, Machida returning fire. Anders stuck on his back with Machida standing over him. Machida dives down and lands a punch, but Anders is able to finally slip free and get up. Anders still hesitant to throw. Plenty of lateral movement from Machida. Machida scores with another leg kick to close out the round.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Machida.
Round 2: Machida opens up with a leg kick. Anders lunges in off of a Machida kick and connects with an overhand left. Machida stumbles back against the cage and Anders clinches up with him. Machida slips out. Machida dancing around the cage. Inside leg kick by Machida. Anders pawing at Machida, takes another kick to the outside of his right leg. Jab by Machida. Anders gets a jab of his own. Machida goes in with a short combo, Anders tries to counter, but whiffs on a high kick. Anders gets caught with a short counter punch. Inside leg kick, Machida. Anders just misses with a left hand. Another leg kick by Machida connects. Glancing kick to the body for Machida. Anders with little volume. He sneaks a solid left hand in before the close of the round.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Machida. Overall 20-18, Machida.
Round 3: Anders stalking Machida again. He catches a kick to the body and gets the takedown. Good knee to the head as Machida tries to stand and blood immediately starts to pour from the bridge of his nose. Anders evades a 1-2 by Machida. High kick by Machida scores, then a kick to the body. Little action over the next minute. Machida with a lunging left, Anders blocks it. Two minutes to go, both fighters staying patient. Machida comes over the top with a left hand that scores. Anders head hunting, misses with a huge left of his own. Clinch and Anders hits a knee to the body. Another stretch of inactivity is broken up by a left from Machida. Anders hits a big left and he rushes a backpedaling Machida. Clinch up against the cage. They separate and Anders misses on a high kick at the buzzer.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Anders. Overall 29-28, Machida.
Round 4: Machida scores with the left hand again and avoids a winging counter shot from Anders. Knee to the body by Machida, he’s looking more aggressive to start the fourth round. Body kick by Machida. Anders opening up with some wild punches, none of them make solid contact. Inside leg kick, Machida. Anders stalking Machida along the cage, he hits a hard left and Machida stumbles momentarily, slipping to the mat. He gets up with Anders clinching with him. Anders with a left under hook, looking to trip. Machida breaks it up and they’re back in the middle of the cage with just over 90 seconds to work. Body kick by Machida lands, Anders catches the leg and goes for a single leg takedown. Machida defending. Anders sticks with it and scores, but Machida is back up right away. More work in the clinch, Anders again wild as they separate. Kick to the body by Machida.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Anders. Overall 38-38.
Round 5: Neither man throwing much in the first minute. High kick blocked by Anders. Kick to the body, left jab by Machida. Anders with a punch to the body. Body kick by Machida, Anders backs him up with a hard left. Inside leg kick by Machida. Anders goes in to clinch against the cage and he hits a knee to the body before they separate again. Machida holding the center of the Octagon. Another body kick for Machida. 90 seconds to go and neither man has landed anything substantial in the final frame. Wild punch by Anders misses. Another body kick by Machida. Spinning kick to the body and Anders makes him pay by taking his back and getting a takedown. Machida is able to get the fight back to the feet quickly. Anders opening up, but his closing flurry mostly misses.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Machida. Overall 48-47, Machida.
Official result: Lyoto Machida def. Eryk Anders via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)