Friday night at Bellator 256, Ryan Bader (28-6) and Lyoto Machida (26-11) kicked off the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. While the fight had big implications in terms of the Grand Prix, it also had big implications for the career of The Dragon.
Entering Bellator 256, Lyoto Machida had lost two fights in a row. The former UFC light heavyweight champion had dropped split decisions to Gegard Mousasi and Phil Davis.
However, since both fights were close, there were a lot of people giving Machida a shot on Friday night facing the Bellator heavyweight champion. The betting lines on the other hand were drastically in the favor of Bader.
In the first round, it looked like we were seeing the old Lyoto Machida. The Dragon was light on his feet and he was beating up the body of Ryan Bader with body kicks. Machida won the first round on all three scorecards.
However, after that round, Machida hit a brick wall at Bellator 256. When Ryan Bader went to his wrestling, it spelled the end for Machida. Bader continuously took Machida down and beat him up the rest of the fight. In the end, Bader won a lopsided decision.
Will Machida retire after Bellator 256?
Lyoto Machida never gave up at Bellator 256. The Dragon kept trying until the final bell and was even throwing heel kicks to the back of Bader’s thighs from the guard as the final bell sounded.
However, Machida was badly beaten up after the five round fight. Machida was gassed really after the second round and didn’t have anything left to give. In the past, we would have never seen Machida that tired in a fight.
However, at nearly 43 years old, it appears that father time has caught up with The Dragon. With that being said, should Machida hang it up after Bellator 256? I think it’s safe to say that Machida’s days of competing with even Bellator’s best are behind him.
I don’t think he would be favored to beat any of the light heavyweights that are in this Grand Prix. In reality, Machida should probably hang it up after last Friday. However, I’m not sure he’d be willing to walk away on a loss.
Machida has had a sensational career and reached the pinacol of the sport in becoming a UFC champion. There’s nothing left for him to prove and he’s just 5-7 in his last 12 fights. Bellator would give him another fight if he wants it, but with never left to prove, I’m not sure it’s worth it.