Ryan Bader advances in Light Heavyweight Grand Prix, gets redemption from 2012 loss.
The path for Ryan Bader to recapture the Bellator light heavyweight championship just got one step shorter, as he utilized his wrestling to put a battering on Lyoto Machida in the first fight of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix, which headlined Bellator 256.
This was a rematch from their first meeting in the UFC in 2012, which saw Machida knock out Bader in the second round — it was the first KO loss for Bader.
Despite struggling with Machida’s kicks to start things off, Bader managed to get inside and takedown Machida during the second. And from that point on, it just became a showcase of Bader’s wrestling and power.
Bellator 256: Ryan Bader’s wrestling too much for Lyoto Machida to handle
Bader and Machida took a bit to feel out before going into some striking exchanges. Bader attempted to close the distance with power attacks twice, but Machida was too quick for him, and the former UFC champ was winning the kicking battle. Machida landed a couple of high kicks in the closing seconds of the first, to which Bader responded with an unsuccessful takedown attempt.
Machida continued to use his kicks and speed to his advantage, but three minutes into the second round, Bader connected with a double-leg takedown. On the ground, Machida landed plenty of shots to the head, while preventing Machida from being able to get back to his feet for the remainder of the round.
The third round played out similar, with Machida using his kicks as best as he can before Bader scored the takedown a couple of minutes in. There, Bader landed several bombs on Machida, busting Machida open, and continued to keep Machida grounded.
Bader quickly got the fight to the ground once again in the fourth, where Bader dominated on top with powerful shots. The same played out in the fifth.
One judge scored the bout for Bader 49-46, while the other two scored the fight 49-45.
Bader now moves on to face the winner of Corey Anderson vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov.
Bellator 256 takes place on Friday, April 9, 2021, live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.