UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture argued on behalf of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, but the only opinion that truly matters came from UFC President Dana White. And he announced Saturday night that Lyoto Machida scored the more impressive victory at UFC on FOX 4, and he will therefore receive a title shot against the winner of Dan Henderson vs. Jon Jones.
Machida’s win over Ryan Bader might have been less dramatic and compelling that Rua’s fourth-round win over Brandon Vera, but the manner in which he won was simply too impressive to ignore. After spending the first round in a feeling out battle, Machida easily silenced an overeager Bader with a perfectly-placed right hand in the second, and he put the wrestling standout to sleep with an additional two shots on the ground.
Rua ultimately scored a dramatic technical knockout victory, but it took four rounds to get there, and at least one of those rounds–the second–appeared to fall in Vera’s favor. Both men were gassed from the second round onward, and they simply did not look to be on Machida’s level, even though Rua actually holds the more dominant victory in their 1-1 series against each other.
In his prior bout against Jones, the elusive Machida managed to win the first round, but he could not parlay that into a meaningful edge. Jones came out strong in round two and eventually laid Machida to rest with a scary standing guillotine.
Machida and Henderson have not fought, but given his resume of wins over fighters like Rashad Evans, Randy Couture and now Ryan Bader, he would likely enter such a matchup as the favorite.