Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader has advanced to the Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Semifinal stage with a unanimous decision victory over Lyoto Machida at Bellator 256 which was held at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Both fighters were coming off from a defeat each. As for “Darth Bader”, he lost his Light Heavyweight title against Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 244 in August last year. On the other hand, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida had two back-to-back defeats prior to facing Bader.
Interestingly, both fighters have previously locked horns all the way back in 2012 at UFC on Fox: Shogun vs. Vera, in which Machida came victorious with a 2nd round knockout. So bouncing back from a failed title defense as well as facing his former adversary, Bader had to hit two birds with one stone to make a statement.
Despite early bruises, Bader used wrestling to overpower Machida
The fight had started unfavorably for the former Light Heavyweight champion as Machida started delivering some brutal kicks to his opponent’s body and legs and the first round had ended with Bader’s ribs taking most of the impact.
However, midway through the second round, Bader turned the flow of the fight his way, thanks to his history in wrestling. Overpowering Machida, he took the fight to the ground, flooring the Brazilian to the canvas. From thereon, each round saw Bader taking the fight to the ground as a helpless Machida was unable to make good use of his karate skills anymore.
💪 @RyanBader scoring yet another takedown, now in the third round.
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) April 10, 2021
The fight went the distance and all three judges scored in favor of Bader (49-46, 49-45, 49-45) as the American fighter out of Chandler, Arizona clinched the 28th victory of his career as well as avenged his loss against Machida.
“Redemption felt good,” said Bader following his victory, “I knew I just had to be tough out here. The first couple rounds are tough against Machida.”
“[The body kicks] didn’t hurt much, they just got my elbow. One got through, but I can take it,” the 37-year-old added.
Check out the full results of Bellator 256 below
- Ryan Bader defeats Lyoto Machida via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45, 49-45)
- Liz Carmouche defeats Vanessa Porto via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Adam Borics defeats Jeremy Kennedy via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Cat Zingano defeats Olivia Parker via first-round submission (armbar)
- Dan Moret defeats Goiti Yamauchi via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Dalton Rosta defeats Tony Johnson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Talita Nogueira defeats Jessica Borga via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
- Jornel Lugo defeats Cass Bell via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Cody Law defeats Nathan Ghareeb via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jaylon Bates defeats Jeffrey Glossner via second-round submission (guillotine choke)
- Nainoa Dung defeats Izzy William via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Diana Avsaragova defeats Tara Graff via first-round knockout (punch)
- John Douma defeats Will Smith via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
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