NEWARK - Luke Rockhold set the tone from the first note of his walkout song at UFC on Fox 15 on Saturday night.
The theme song from the original version of "The Karate Kid" -- "You're the best around" -- filled Prudential Center to the delight of those old enough to know Ralph Macchio, not Will Smith's son Jaden, played the lead character in the original movie.
Once the fight began, Rockhold took control of the octagon and dominated Lyoto Machida -- yes, former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida.
Rockhold dropped Machida in the second round with a spinning backfist, then followed up to submit Machida with a rear naked choke to win their middleweight main event before 13,306 fans.
"Look at what he did and who he did it to," UFC president Dana White said of Rockhold, who earned a $50,000 performance of the night bonus.
Rockhold (13-2, 4-1 UFC) got Machida to the ground in the first round and controlled him the remainder of the round on the ground, earning a 10-8 round on one judge's card.
"I told you what I was gonna do," Rockhold said. "If it touched the ground, we're going to be operating on different frequencies."
Machida (22-6, 14-6) mounted little offense in either round. When Rockhold connected with the backfist that put Machida on the canvas, he pursued him and was able to get control of his back and flatten him out. That put Machida in a defenseless position and allowed Rockhold an easier path to the rear naked choke, forcing Machida to tap out at 2:31 of the second round.
"Did you hear my walkout song? I'm the best around," Rockhold said in his in-ring interview. "I did my part. [Chris] Weidman, you go do your part and we'll take this across the way, Madison Square Garden, let's make history."
Weidman, the middleweight champion from Baldwin, fights Vitor Belfort at UFC 187 next month in Las Vegas. New York remains the only state with a ban on professional MMA. The bill to overturn that ban is with the New York State Assembly, where it has stalled the past six years after passing through the State Senate.