As both Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort, have ever so slowly crawled towards the end of their careers, it has become abundantly clear that their time as top-level fighters has, unfortunately, come to an end. That being said, of all the possible matchups for both men, a fight between the two makes the most sense.
Regardless of the current state of Lyoto Machida’s career, he will always be one of my all-time favourite fighters and is partly responsible for me falling in love with the sport. In an effort to highlight his past achievements, rather than look towards his next fight, I have put together a list of the top three most impressive finishes of his career. Enjoy.
Number Three – Handling Rich Franklin In His Third Fight
Mistakenly, this is a fight that many, including myself, always overlook due to how early on it was in Machida’s career. But this win, fifteen years and twenty-eight fights later, remains to be one of the most impressive of Machida’s career. In only the third fight of his career, Lyoto faced the 15-0 undefeated, future Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin. The mere feat of facing Franklin in his third fight is something of note but to hand him the first loss of his fifteen fight career, in devastating fashion, is remarkable.
Number Two – Brutal KO of Rashad Evans
This KO was not the most technical display of Machida’s skill but it may have been the most violent. This fight took place at the peak of both fighters unbeaten run and was the fifteenth professional fight for both men. The fight was Rashad Evans’ first defence of his recently obtained Light-Heavyweight title and unfortunately marked the first and most devastating loss of his career. In hindsight, this fight will forever be thought of as one of, if not the, greatest moment of Machida’s career.
Number One – The Steve Seagal Special Against Randy Couture
Not only is this one of the most iconic knockouts in the history of the sport but it is also by far the most impressive and important of Machida’s career. This fight took place at a pivotal moment in Lyoto’s career. Entering the fight on back to back losses including losing his title — now taking on the legendary Randy Couture — it is safe to say this was a must-win fight for Machida. With both pressure and doubt running through his mind, Lyoto was able to overcome the moment and knockout Randy Couture with a phenomenal front kick — cementing himself as one of the sports all-time greats.