- UFC Fight Night 30
Machida knocks out Munoz in first roundOctober 26, 2013 « Brook ends year of hurt with Senchenko knockout | Chartbeat test »
Lyoto Machida is a very loud, very impressive 1-0 in the UFC middleweight division.
Machida (20-4) looked spectacular in his 185-pound debut on Saturday, knocking out Mark Munoz in the first round with a stunning head kick. The contest headlined UFC Fight Night 30 at Phones 4u Arena in Manchester.
A high left head kick put Munoz down three minutes in. Machida, who occasionally trains alongside Munoz in Southern California, followed him to the floor but threw no additional strikes.
Referee Leon Roberts officially waved it off at the three minutes 10 seconds mark. The two middleweights embraced in a hug afterwards.
"It's very hard for me, because Mark is a good friend," Machida said. "As a professional, I don't think about that. I just do my job. Now, the friendship will keep going. Mark, thank you for fighting me. I'm sorry about that. It's my job."
As was the case at light-heavyweight, Machida executed a cautious game plan, but did show a willingness to come forward. He tagged Munoz with two kicks to the body before going high, which likely brought Munoz's defence down.
Munoz (13-4) actually had his right hand in place near the temple to absorb the kick, but it failed to do much good. He never went unconscious from the blow, but was clearly rendered temporarily defenceless from it.
Machida admitted the weight cut had been difficult but expressed confidence in his new division. He has said all week that he is willing to fight in either weight class.
"I will stay at 185, but my bosses are [UFC president] Dana White and [UFC co-owner] Lorenzo Fertitta," Machida said. "If they ask me to fight at 205 again, I will do that."
Machida will likely be ranked immediately at middleweight. Despite a loss to Phil Davis in his most recent performance, he was the No. 5 ranked light-heavyweight in the world, according to ESPN.com.
Munoz was ranked No. 7 at middleweight heading into the bout. He returned from a year-long injury layoff in July with a unanimous decision victory over Tim Boetsch. He drops to 8-4 overall in the Octagon.
Meanwhile, a lightweight contest between Melvin Guillard and Ross Pearson ended in a no-contest following an accidental illegal knee by Guillard in the first round.
During an early scramble near the fence, Guillard landed a knee to Pearson's head as he was reaching down with his right hand to become a "downed opponent."
Under current rules, a fighter with one hand on the canvas is considered a "downed opponent," even if he's standing. Knees to a grounded opponent are illegal.
The scramble began when Pearson (15-6) swarmed Guillard with a flying knee attempt. Guillard (31-12-2) turned him into the cage and landed the illegal strikes.
An initial knee nearly landed simultaneously with Pearson's hand touching the ground. The following knee was clearly illegal on replay and opened a gash on Pearson's forehead.
Referee Marc Goddard immediately broke up the lightweight contest, and after seeing the extent of Pearson's cut, declared the fight over. Both Guillard and Pearson appeared frustrated at the result.
Guillard had controlled the fight mostly to that point, using his footwork and hand speed to keep Pearson on the outside. The illegal strikes came early enough, however, that neither fighter held a clear advantage.
Guillard was coming off a second-round knockout of Mac Danzig in July. Pearson was looking to add to a two-fight win streak.