Screenshot via FOXSports
Former champion Lyoto Machida stopped Ryan Bader with one punch midway through the second round of the UFC's latest prime-time network show Saturday night, getting a knockout that might have earned him a chance to reclaim his title.
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua stopped Brandon Vera in the main event with a flurry of strikes with 50 seconds left in the fourth round for another dramatic finish.
After the fights, UFC President Dana White said Machida had earned another light heavyweight title shot with his sudden victory.
White promised a shot at the winner of champion Jon "Bones" Jones' bout with veteran Dan Henderson next month to the fighter who was most impressive at Staples Center, although the date could be tough to keep immediately.
Machida (18-3) had the light heavyweight belt until Rua took it from him with a first-round knockout in May 2010. Machida failed to reclaim the belt last December from Jones, who stopped him with a standing guillotine choke in Toronto for the formerly formidable Brazilian's third loss in four fights.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship, better known as UFC, is bringing mixed martial arts back to Los Angeles once again this Saturday for a live event that will be broadcast on Fox. It's the fourth such event to air on the network.
"It's going to be tough against the Olympics," says Dave Meltzer of Yahoo Sports and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Ticket sales aren't great, but Meltzer says it's what should have been expected. "It's Los Angeles and Los Angeles isn't going to turn out in great numbers unless you've got the biggest names."
Still, Meltzer expects a respectable crowd, predicting around 8,000 fans paying for tickets and more receiving free tickets from giveaways and comps. He says that's a decent attendance given a middle of the road lineup.
"UFC is running a lot of shows and battling a lot of injuries," Meltzer says, "which makes putting together a killer card problematic." As the sport has entered the mainstream through exposure on both cable and network television, UFC has tried to take advantage of that with more product, but it means each individual show might not have the big fight.