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Top 5 Most Memorable UFC Performances From Lyoto Machida

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Why These Stand Out As Lyoto Machida's Top 5 UFC Moments

Lyoto Machida
Gary A. Vasquez USA TODAY Sports

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida was quick to rejuvenate his career by making a sensational middleweight debut at UFC Fight Night 30. The Brazilian immediately inserted himself into the title conversation at 185 pounds thanks to a first-round knockout of Mark Munoz. “The Filipino Wrecking Machine”, who’s a good friend of Machida’s, had been ranked no. 5 in the UFC’s top-10 entering the fight. The two men were forced to put aside their friendship after Machida was brought in as an injury replacement for Michael Bisping, and it was Machida who finished matters with a well-placed left leg head kick.

Machida’s UFC career has been a very interesting one to watch over the years. There was once a time when he was seen as all but unbeatable with his karate-dominant style as he ripped through his opposition, winning the 205 pound title in his 15th career fight. At the time of his victory against Rashad Evans, Machida was a perfect 15-0 and everyone seemed confounded by his awkward style. That all changed when he was knocked out by Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

Machida had one more light heavyweight title opportunity at UFC 140 against Jon Jones, but after a solid first round, he was choked out by the champion in the second. His career seemed to have gotten into a rut in the 205-pound weight class, so after losing to Phil Davis, he finally decided to make the move down in weight. The decision paid immediate dividends with the stoppage of Munoz, and there are a number of solid matchups to make for Machida in his new middleweight environment. Who wouldn’t want to see Machida up against the likes of Vitor Belfort, Chris Weidman or even good friend Anderson Silva? Machida has finally come around on the idea of facing “The Spider” if a belt were on the line.

While there’s more history for Machida to write in his career at 185 pounds, he’s had his share of remarkable performances inside the Octagon. He’s produced 12 victories during his UFC career. In the wake of his stellar performance in Manchester, England, let’s reflect on the top five UFC performances of “The Dragon”.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports

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5. Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva

Lyoto Machida
Jayne Kamin-Oncea USA TODAY Sports

The sudden finish to this bout at UFC 94 was a sight to behold. As both competitors were involved in a clinch against the cage near the end of the first round, Machida tripped his opponent and delivered a perfectly placed flying right hand to the face of a prone Silva. Silva was knocked unconscious and suffered his first career loss as the legend of Machida was growing.

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4. Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader

Lyoto Machida
Jason Silva USA TODAY Sports

Machida showed how quickly his counter striking can end matters when in the second round of their fight, Machida caught Bader with a devastating counter right hand as he was coming forward. It was a decisive finish at UFC on FOX 4 as Machida continued to show his dominance against opponents who had a strong wrestling base.

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3. Lyoto Machida vs. Mark Munoz

Lyoto Machida
Jayne Kamin-Oncea USA TODAY Sports

With questions about how Machida would look at making the move down in weight after spending so much time in the 205-pound weight class, how could you not be impressed? Machida destroyed a top-five contender and immediately established himself as a major player in the middleweight division. He also showed a high level of sportsmanship when he held up dealing out any more damage to his obviously stunned opponent.

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2. Lyoto Machida vs. Rashad Evans

Lyoto Machida
Jason Silva USA TODAY Sports

Machida turned in a spectacular performance in claiming the light heavyweight title at UFC 98. While Evans possessed a solid wrestling background and power, it was Machida who showed how devastating he can be. He hurt Evans in the opening round and finished the champ in round two with a flurry of brutal strikes that left ”Suga”crumpled up against the cage as a knockout victim. In recording the Knockout of the Night and winning the belt, Machida handed Evans his first career defeat.

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1. Lyoto Machida vs. Randy Couture

Lyoto Machida
Gary A. Vasquez USA TODAY Sports

Machida’s performance against Couture is a finish that will remain on UFC highlight reels for years to come. “The Natural” was dispatched of and sent into retirement after being victimized by a devastating jumping kick to the face in round two at UFC 129. It was quite the visual to see Machida’s perfectly executed crane kick knock out a couple of Couture’s teeth while knocking him senseless at the same time. It was an easy choice as Knockout of the Night and featured prominently as a 2011 Knockout of the Year.