Lyoto Machida does what he does, which is frustrate opponents with his laid-back, counter-attack style of fighting.
Sometimes it works in favor of Machida's opponent, but more often than not -- judging by his 18 victories in 21 fights -- it favors Machida.
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Make that 19 out of 22 for the former light heavyweight champion as Machida won a split decision over Dan Henderson at UFC 157 on Saturday night inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Two judges scored the fight, 29-28, in favor of Machida, with Henderson winning 29-28 on the third judge's card.
"My strategy for tonight was keeping the fight standing," Machida said.
Machida's style doesn't always excite fans, evidenced by the boos upon hearing the decision. But it is extemely effective. He kept his distance and did not allow Henderson (29-9, 6-3 UFC) to close in for most of the fight. When Henderson did get into the clinch with about 20 seconds left in the first round, Machida avoid any damage and scored a takedown in the final seconds.
Machida (19-3, 11-3 UFC) had success whenever Henderson would move in to strike. As Henderson moved forward, Machida would slip a right jab or land a knee. The counterattack worked, and Henderson could be seen growing frustrated in the later rounds by Machida's distance.
UFC president Dana White said during fight week that the winner of this bout would get the next title shot.
Henderson was supposed to fight light heavyweight champion Jon Jones last Labor Day weekend but pulled out because of a knee injury suggered in practice two weeks prior. Machida was offered a fight with Jones later in September but turned it down, saying it wasn't enough time to prepare for Jones.