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Lyoto Machida Earns KO and Shot at the Belt: UFC on FOX 4 Main Card Rundown

Cagewriter

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Machida ending Bader. (Photo by Tracy Lee)

It's rare when every bout on a UFC main card is spectacular, but the stars aligned perfectly for UFC on FOX 4.  Mike Swick returned to knock someone's lights out, Joe Lauzon nailed another submission, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Brandon Vera had an absolute slobberknocker, and Lyoto Machida put Ryan Bader to sleep.  And at the end of it all, UFC president Dana White announced who of the four main card light-heavyweights had earned their shot at the belt.

 

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Swick KOs Johnson. (Photo by Tracy Lee)

  • In his first bout back after a lengthy hiatus, TUF 1 veteran Swick absorbed a world of hurt at the hands of DaMarques Johnson, and then delivered it right back ten-fold.  In the opening seconds, "Quick" plastered Johnson with a right hand — his best weapon — and though Johnson took it, the TUF 9 veteran wisely sought his fortunes on the ground.  There, Johnson was large and in charge, pounding on Swick from above and forcing him on the defensive.  Then came Round Two, which saw Swick catch a Johnson kick, throw him down, and land another crushing right square on Johnson's jaw.  Johnson was out cold.  The official time of the knockout was 1:20 of the second round.

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Lauzon locking in the triangle choke. (Photo by Tracy Lee)

 

  • Not to be outdone by Swick and Johnson's thriller of an opener, lightweights Lauzon and Jamie Varner went at it in a nonstop back-and-forth melee.  Utilizing his always-crisp boxing, former WEC champ Varner peppered the ace grappler with punches to the face and body, prompting Lauzon to constantly cover up.  But Varner lost steam with each passing minute, so the latter portions of the rounds had Lauzon finding back-control or mount and threatening with subs.  Varner changed things up in the third round by going for takedowns — a ploy that provided Lauzon with the perfect opportunity to sweep him, out-scramble him, and eventually trap him in a triangle choke.  Varner tapped out at 2:44 of Round Three.

 

  • The biggest mistake you can make when fighting former light-heavyweight champ Machida is to take the bait on any one of the traps he lays.  Unfortunately, that's exactly what TUF winner Bader did.  Throughout the first round of their co-main event bout, Bader struggled to find an opening on the elusive karate man, while Machida established his range with kicks and waited patiently like a spider in a web.  In Round Two, Bader leaped forward looking to punch and he was stuck — or, more accurately, struck.  It was a short right that did it, and Bader was unconscious.  The official time of the knockout was 1:32 of the second round.

 

  • Anyone who thought Vera was going to be a pushover for Shogun has to be eating a lot of crow right now, as the "Truth" took it to the Brazilian at every turn, and lasted deep into the fourth round against the legendary fighter.  Vera began the bout by planting a kick to Shogun's midsection, and from then on, it was clear that Vera was unafraid to stand and trade.  But the former PRIDE FC and UFC champ sought the takedown frequently, and when he was successful, he did his best to batter Vera from top position.  Did Shogun win rounds?  He did, but it was by no means a blow out, and whenever the action returned to the feet, Vera nailed him with elbows, punches, knees and kicks.  The end came at 4:09 in Round Four, in a sequence that had Shogun penetrating Vera's defenses with his fists and dropping the Truth against the cage, thereby giving him the victory via TKO.

 

Who was more impressive — Machida or Shogun?  For his knockout of Bader, Dana White chose Machida, and now the "Dragon" gets the next crack at the UFC light-heavyweight belt.

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