It can hardly be called a rematch, as the original matchup took place nine years ago, but Ryan Bader surely feels closure after defeating Lyoto Machida in the main event of Bellator 256, advancing to semifinal of Bellator’s light heavyweight grand prix.
Bader was, of course, Bellator’s light heavyweight champion before last summer, where he lost to Russian Vadim Nemkov via second round TKO at Bellator 244. After tonight, however, he is one step closer to reclaiming that crown.
Bader and Machida are no strangers to each other. They originally fought at UFC on Fox 4, with Machida winning via second round KO.
In this belated rematch, Machida looked like his old self early on, landing some devastating strikes on Bader in the first round, including a left head kick that landed flush.
However, Machida’s success would not last long, as Bader eventually managed to close the distance and take down the Brazilian and wear him down with ground and pound over the course of five rounds.
Bader won the fight by unanimous decision. He will face the winner of Corey Anderson vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov in the semifinal.