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Lyoto Machida pulls out split-decision win over Dan Henderson at UFC 157

Maggie Hendricks
Cagewriter

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(Getty)

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Lyoto Machida took a split decision over Dan Henderson in the co-main event at UFC 157 on Saturday. The judges saw it 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 for Machida.

Machida was elusive as usual in the first round, but Henderson was able to sneak in and land a few kicks and punches. At the end of the round, Machida took Henderson down with a leg trip and landed strikes.

The second round showed Machida still being elusive and keeping his distance from Henderson. Machida tried for a front kick several times, but couldn't land it. Meanwhile, Henderson couldn't land much.

[Also: Ronda Rousey survives UFC debut, wins via first-round arm bar]

Henderson is known for his big, overhand punches. Most of the time, when he throws it, it can mean the end of a fight. However, he had trouble getting close enough to Machida for the overhand to work.

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Lyoto Machida celebrates after his win. (Getty)

In the third round, Machida moved in for a takedown but ended up with Henderson on top. Henderson used elbows from the top, but Machida was able to get out with less than two minutes left in the fight.

Before the fight, UFC president Dana White said that the winner of this bout will get the next title shot. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will put the title up against Chael Sonnen in April, but the next fight will likely go to Machida.

[Also: Josh Koscheck suffers upset loss]

Machida was once the UFC light heavyweight champion, but lost the title to Rua in 2010. Since then, he has wins over Randy Couture and Ryan Bader, but losses to current champion Jon Jones and Quinton Jackson. It will be his third chance at the light heavyweight title. He won it with a knockout of Rashad Evans in 2009, but lost to Jones in 2011.

Henderson had a long layoff between fights. His last bout was one of the best in MMA history. In November of 2011, Henderson defeated Mauricio Rua in a five-round decision. Since then, Henderson had a fight lined up with Jones in September, but had to pull out at the last minute because of a knee injury. His record falls to 29-9. He's 42 years old, and against Machida, looked slow and old for the first time in his career.

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