At the end of the day, Lyoto Machida emerged from his Bellator debut with a victory. But the legendary fighter admits to feeling “lost” during his bout this past weekend with Rafael Carvalho.
Machida faced the former middleweight champ in the co-main event of Bellator 213, which took place in Honolulu, Hawaii. After fifteen minutes of action, Machida was awarded the split decision victory via scores of 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
After the bout, the former UFC champ had this to say, while reflecting on the fight and his first Bellator experience (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“Tough opponent, tough fight,” Machida said. “I believe because it was my first fight in Bellator, in the beginning, I was kind of lost. Even though I have a lot of fights under my belt, many years in the UFC and other events, Bellator is different. Every time you step in a different cage, you can feel the difference, and that’s what I felt at the beginning of the fight.”
“Everything is different,” Machida added. “The walkout is different. I see my picture behind me and everything. Amazing show, but I think it’s a natural process to get used to being here. My next fight will be better, for sure. Everything already sunk in.”
“…I’m so happy to be here. No regrets at all. Man, the treatment, everything, the public, the crowd, I’m so happy to be here. Bellator, for me, is my new home definitely.”
Now, before anyone tosses out arguments here that Machida’s just making excuses, it’s important to consider that the star fought under the UFC banner for ten years. So, it’s kind of understandable if the magnitude of what was unfolding, and just the different environment got to him somewhat.
Further, as Machida also noted, Carvalho is no joke. Before he was stopped by Gegard Mousasi this past May, and lost the Bellator title, he had won 15 straight fights. Sure, Carvalho’s reign may not have been comparable to some of the other, great championship runs we’ve seen. But Carvalho does hold wins over notable opponents like Brandon Halsey, Alessio Sakara, Melvin Manhoef and Joe Schilling.
“The Dragon” is 40-year’s-old now, so, his prime is now in the rear-view mirror. But, it’s going to be interesting to see how he performs in his next bout, and if he can add the Bellator middleweight title to his resume before it’s all said and done.
Bellator 213 was hosted by Honolulu, Hawaii.