Lyoto Machida knocked out up-and-comer Mark Munoz with a tremendous head kick in the first round, showing flashes of the greatness he once displayed as a light heavyweight.
Machida knocked out Munoz at 3:10 of the first round at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, England.
The victory marked a stunning comeback for Machida, who looked flat in his last two fights. He lost to Phil Davis by decision, in a boring fight where neither fighter took too many risks. Prior to that he defeated Dan Henderson by a close split decision, in another clash between two heavy hitters that turned out to be a snoozer.
Machida dropped down to middleweight for the bout.
For Munoz, it was another setback after a career that started fast and impressively. Munoz was on track for a title shot until he was knocked out by Chris Weidman in July of 2012. He bounced back to defeat Tim Boetsch by decision, but now has another KO loss on his record.
Munoz wasn’t even supposed to fight Machida. Michael Bisping was the original opponent, but Bisping pulled out because of an injury, leaving Machida to come and replace him.
Munoz proved to be no match for the bigger, seemingly stronger fighter. The two fighters are friends and Machida showed great sportsmanship by holding back from hitting Munoz when he was down; most other fighters probably would have finished Munoz with a right hand, but Machida knew the fight was over and let the referee stop it.
“It’s very hard for me because Mark is a good friend for me, but as a professional, I don’t think about that,” Machida said, in the post-fight interview. “I just do my job here. But now everything is over. The friendship is going. Mark, thank you for fighting me. Sorry about that my friend. It is my job.”
Machida, 20-4, started the fight cautiously, but took control after two leg kicks to the body, followed by the head kick that landed above Munoz’s right hand.
The knockout loss now puts Machida in the mix for a middleweight title shot, while Munoz, 13-4, drops back to mid-carder status.
On the undercard, Melvin Guillard, 31-12, and Ross Pearson, 15-6, fought to a no-contest after Guillard accidently hit Pearson with a knee while he was down.
After the two scrambled in the first round, Guillard hit Pearson with a knee as he placed his hand on the mat. Guillard then kneed him again while his hand was on the canvas, opening up a big cut on Pearson’s forehead.
The referee called the fight a no-contest.
In another controversial fight, the undefeated Jimi Manuwa, (14-0) defeated Ryan Jimmo at 4:41 of the round in a light heavyweight fight, after Jimmo injured his leg and could not continue.
Jimmo blocked a Manuwa knee, but then fell to the ground, grabbled his leg and then winced in pain. Jimmo fell to 18-3.
The 33-year-old Manuwa has KO’d 13 of 14 opponents and submitted the other.
In other action:
Norman Parke defeated Jon Tuck via unanimous decision
Nicholas Musoke defeated Alessio Sakara by armbar submission
John Lineker defeated Phil Harris via first round TKO
UFC Fight Night 30 Preliminaries
Al Iaquinta defeated Piotr Hallmann via unanimous decision
Luke Barnatt defeated Andrew Craig via rear naked choke submission
Jessica Andrade defeated Rosi Sexton via unanimous decision
Cole Miller defeated Andy Ogle via unanimous decision
Jimy Hettes defeated Robert Whiteford via triangle submission
Brad Scott defeated Michael Kuiper via guillotine submission