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Bellator 222 results: Lyoto Machida sends Chael Sonnen into retirement

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Lyoto Machida needed a pair of flying knees to finally finish Chael Sonnen by TKO in the second round at Bellator 222 and following the fight, the 42-year old veteran announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.

Sonnen showed a ton of guts surviving an initial knockdown in the opening round but couldn’t escape another offensive flurry from Machida with the end coming at just 22-seconds into the second round. Afterwards, Sonnen laid his gloves down in the cage and told the Madison Square Garden audience that he was calling it a career.

“Listen I got one thing to say. I had a hell of a lot of fun. I had a good run,” Sonnen said. “Scott Coker gave me a five fight deal, he let me honor all five fights. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m walking out. I appreciate the memories and goodbye.”

It was a valiant effort in defeat as Sonnen immediately looked for a takedown at the start of the opening round with Machida making him work in every position as they got stalled against the cage. Once Machida broke free of his grasp, he waited for Sonnen to try for another takedown and he uncorked a perfectly timed flying knee that sent the Oregon native crashing to the canvas.

Sonnen somehow survived to make it to the bell but he didn’t make it much longer once the second round got started.

Once again, Sonnen looked for the takedown and Machida timed another flying knee that floored the multi-time title contender for the second time in the fight. Machida followed up with a barrage of shots and the referee had no choice but to stop the contest before Sonnen could take any more damage.

“I felt really good tonight,” Machida said. “I really appreciate Chael to come over here and fight me, Chael, he’s a true gentlemen. Please give a hand to Chael Sonnen.”

The win moves Machida to 2-0 in Bellator with a four fight win streak overall. The victory also likely puts Machida one step closer to a potential title shot against either light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader or middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi.

Machida holds wins over both from their time in the UFC and now he appears to be in a position to challenge for a title in his next appearance inside the Bellator cage.