With one swift strike, Lyoto Machida relived one of his famous moments. And Vitor Belfort relived his most infamous time.
Machida, the former UFC light heavyweight champion, knocked Vitor Belfort cold with a wicked head kick at UFC 224, reminiscent of the one which sent Randy Couture into retirement in 2011.
Belfort was knocked out at the 1:00 mark of the second round in Rio de Janeiro, a finish reminiscent of his most famous defeat, in 2011 to Anderson Silva.
After the loss, Belfort, who was on the last fight of his UFC contract, placed his gloves down on the mat in an apparent declaration of retirement.
“It’s been a long ride, everything in life has a beginning, a middle and and end,” Belfort said. “And I think I have come to an end. Congratulations to Machida and I will put my gloves here.”
The bout was fought at a calculated pace, with both competitors respecting one another’s finishing abilities. Machida happened to get the first real opportunity, as he feinted with the left leg and drilled Belfort in the jaw with the left. Machida then showed Belfort respect by instantly recognizing the situation and backing off, rather than wait for the referee to halt it.
“I have a lot of respect for Vitor Belfort, everyone should respect him,” Machida said. “I was looking for the moment I knew I could win the one strike.”
Machida (24-8), who called out Michael Bisping after the fight, has now won two in a row.
Belfort, who made his UFC debut by winning the UFC 12 one-night tournament and also held the light heavyweight belt, now has a record of 26-14 with a no-contest.