After three consecutive losses at light heavyweight, Lyoto Machida was looking to inject some new life into his career with a return to the middleweight division at Bellator 281. Fabian Edwards had other ideas, however, scoring a brutal first-round knockout to leave plenty of questions about Machida’s future in the sport.
Machida’s awkward karate style has befuddled plenty of opponents throughout his career, but Edwards entered the fight with a gameplan based around consistently attacking Machida. Machida didn’t look comfortable under the pressure and Edwards took advantage, throwing heavy elbows on the break every time the two would clinch.
That elbow would prove to be the key to the finishing sequence, as Edwards landed an elbow that clearly rocked Machida. Edwards charged forward, landing more punches, dropping Machida and then finishing the fight with two more bombs on the ground that knocked the former UFC champion out cold.
“The Edwards brothers are known for their elbows,” Edwards, brother of top UFC contender Leon Edwards, said. “He should have f—ing known I was going to crack him with an elbow.”
Machida has now lost four straight fights and will need to go back to the drawing board to figure out the correct division should he decide to continue competing.
Edwards snapped his own two-fight losing skid with the knockout, raising his career record to 9-2.