LAS VEGAS – Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida stopped Rashad Evans at 3:57 of the second round to win the light heavyweight title at UFC 98 on Saturday night.
Machida landed a barrage of punches that sent Evans reeling up against the cage and finished him off with a left hand that folded Evans backward onto the canvas.
“I’ve tried all my life to become a champion and I am very, very happy,” a jubilant Machida said. “Now I’m going to keep this belt for a long time.”
The light heavyweight title has now changed hands four times in the last five title bouts.
In the co-main event earlier, Matt Hughes won a unanimous decision against Matt Serra in a matchup of former welterweight champions.
Serra took the advantage early on, flooring Hughes with strikes in the first round. Hughes was able to fight back utilizing his superior wrestling ability and controlled the final two rounds with all three judges scoring the fight 29-28.
The two embraced after the fight and seemed to put the bad blood behind them.
The fighters developed a heated rivalry while coaching opposing teams on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show and were scheduled to meet at UFC 79 in December 2007 when Serra pulled out of the bout due to injury.
When asked what his plans for the future were, Hughes said: “I’m still motivated to compete so we’ll see what happens. I’d like to fight in my home area.”
On the undercard, Drew McFedries made quick work of Xavier Foupa-Pokam, getting the TKO just 37 seconds into their fight. Also, Chael Sonnen beat Dan Miller by unanimous decision and Frank Edgar looked impressive, earning a unanimous decision victory over former lightweight champion Sean Sherk.
Brock Larson, Tim Hague, Kyle Bradley, Krzysztof Soszynski, Yoshiyuki Yoshida, and George Roop won preliminary fights.
Larson forced Mike Pyle to tap out via arm triangle in the first round, Hague used a guillotine choke to submit Pat Barry in the first round, and Bradley also stopped Phillipe Nover by TKO in the opening round. Soszynski scored a first-round knockout of Andre Gusmao, Yoshida forced Brandon Wolff to tap in the first round, and Roop earned a split decision over Dave Kaplan.
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