Lyoto Machida has a dance partner for what could be his final appearance in the Bellator cage.
Officials confirmed to MMA Fighting that Machida (26-11) will fight Fabian Edwards (9-2) at Bellator London, which takes place May 13 at OVO Arena Wembley in London. Edwards was previously scheduled to face Marian Dimitrov at Bellator 275, but he will now get a home date in England while it is unclear whether Dimitrov will receive a new opponent for the Feb. 25 card.
The matchup change was first reported by The Mirror.
In February, Machida said on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast that he has one bout remaining on his current Bellator contract and that he plans to test free agency.
“[Bellator] came to us and said, ‘Let’s renew [the contract] one more time if Lyoto wants to,’ and whatever, and we said no, let’s fight this one first and then we’ll see,” Machida said. “Every fight is a different fight for me. I saw it that way in the past, and even more now.”
A former UFC light heavyweight champion, Machida has competed at both 205 pounds and 185 pounds for Bellator. The 43-year-old defeated former middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho in his debut and then picked up a second-round TKO of Chael Sonnen, but has since lost three straight fights. “The Dragon” lost a lopsided decision in a rematch against Ryan Bader in his most recent outing at Bellator 256 last April.
Edwards also finds himself in need of a win after dropping his past two fights. After winning his first five Bellator fights, Edwards has lost back-to-back decisions to Austin Vanderford and Costello van Steenis.
Mike Heck contributed to this report.