Machida provides highlight reel finish at UFC Fight Night

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Lyoto Machida gave fight fans the highlight reel finish they were hoping for on Saturday night in Manchester, with a headkick that knocked out Mark Munoz.

Round one of their UFC Fight Night bout was a tentative affair, with little in the way of action until Machida flashed up a kick that landed on the side of Munoz’ head, and felled him.

It was Machida’s middleweight debut, and a statement of intent from a man determined to return to champion status in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The co-main event of the evening was disatisfactory for everyone in the Phones 4U Arena, as Ross Pearson sustained a deep cut, due to an accidental foul by opponent Melvin Guillard, and the bout was called a no contest.

There was more disappointment for Jimi Manuwa, as a second fight in succession ended with his opponent pulling up with a mystery leg injury, Ryan Jimmo falling to the canvas in the second round, losing to a technical knockout.

Norman Parke shaded a cagey affair with John Tuck, neither lightweight willing to over commit during the 15 minutes, before the Northern Irishman took a judges decision.

Alessio Sakara and Nicholas Musoke put on a wild and entertaining first round, before the latter marked his UFC debut with an armbar submission to pick up the win.

The main card opened with a display of real punching power, as Portsmouth flyweight Billy Harris was levelled by a vicious bodyshot by John Lineker.

Brad Scott got the evening off to a raucous start, with a submission victory in the opening round of his middleweight bout against Michael Kuiper, the Dutchman tapping out to Scott’s front choke.

Submission expert Jimy Hettes was too tough a test for Scotland’s Rob Whiteford, who succumbed to a second round triangle choke - after taking the fight on a week’s notice.

Cole Miller showcased his grappling brilliance with an array of sweeps and submission attemps during a gritty battle with Sunderland’s Andy Ogle, dominating two of the three rounds to take a judges decision.

It wasn’t a homecoming to remember for Manchester’s own Rosi Sexton, as she endured a beating at the hands of Jessica Andrade. The Brazilian dominated from start to finish with crisp striking, although Sexton hung in there for three rounds.

Luke Barnatt delighted the partisan crowd with his stoppage of American Andrew Craig, in an exciting middleweight bout.

The lanky Englishman had Craig rocked at the end of the first round, with a crushing straight right and a glancing left hook, but Craig survived to hear the bell.

An uppercut had Craig down again in round two, and Barnatt jumped in the opportunity, securing a rear naked choke for the victory.

Al Iaquinta showed greater stamina and sharper striking as he kept Piotr Hallman on the back foot for a significant proportion of their lightweight fight. The judges were unanimous in their decision, for Iaquinta.