Lyoto Machida (19-3) secured a split decision win over Dan Henderson (29-9) in a fight that failed to live up to everyone’s expectations in the co-main event at UFC 157 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The judges scored the fight (28-29, 29-28, 29-28), much to the disgust of the pro-Henderson fans.
It was a measured start by both fighters, who were trying to gauge each other looking for their rhythm. Henderson began to come forward putting the pressure on Machida, but missed with a right hand. Machida landed a right hand, as Henderson looked to tie up Machida in a clinch. Machida was able to secure a trip takedown in the closing seconds before being able to land some heavy ground shots.
Machida opened the second round with a heavy kick that he followed up with a head kick that landed. Machida caught Henderson again with a knee as he charged forward looking for an overhand right. Henderson answered with two right hands late in the round, which were blocked, with Machida throwing a spinning back kick to the body on the bell.
Both fighters upped the tempo in the final frame with Machida landing a kick to the body of Henderson before being taken down. Henderson landed short shots from the top position, but with two minutes remaining, Machida was able to scramble free and looked to land kicks until the final bell.
Machida passionately pleaded for a title shot in the lead-up to the fight with Henderson, and UFC president Dana White said the winner of the fight would be next for UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, but Jones first has a bout with Chael Sonnen in April.
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