Lyoto Machida brought himself one step closer to rechallenging for the UFC light heavyweight title following a painstakingly boring split decision win over Dan Henderson.
Machida (19-3) lost the belt three years ago after one successful defense. Lyoto barely skated by Henderson with a judges scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29 at UFC 157.
Lyoto’s victory can be almost entirely credited to Hendersons slow and clumsy footwork. It’s astonishing that someone who has been in the sport as long as Henderson has abysmal knowledge of fundamental open guard (orthodox vs. southpaw) tactics. When a southpaw faces an orthodox fighter, the edge will go to the man who can keep his lead foot to the outside of his opponent’s.
Machida has now won two in a row since his submission loss to current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 140. Henderson, on the other hand, shattered a four-fight win streak that stretched back to 2010. He had not fought since getting injured in November 2011.
Henderson and Machidas uneventful fight really demonstrated how restricted Henderson is on his feet. Many fight fans were looking forward to this match-up due to the likelihood of an early KO. What happened instead was three five-minute rounds of a really sad game of tag.
I expect more aggression from both in their next bouts.