A trilogy bout between two Brazilian legends of the sport could be set to take place at UFC 283, as early reports of a fight between Lyoto Machida and Shogun Rua begin to surface.
Since the winter of 2018, former UFC middleweight champion Lyoto Machida has been competing for Bellator MMA, where he amassed a record of 2-4. ‘The Dragon’ started strong, picking up back-to-back wins over Rafael Carvalho and Chael Sonnen. However, the tail end of his time with Bellator saw him drop four consecutive losses, culminating with a brutal round one KO loss to Fabian Edwards.
The loss to Edwards was the last on Lyoto Machida’s Bellator contract, leaving him free to test the open market. Whilst many called for the now 44 years old Machida to hang up the gloves, it appears that he may be returning to the premier MMA promotion for one final fight.
Jorge Guimaraes, Machida’s manager, reached out to the UFC after hearing that the promotion was making the trip out to Brazil in early 2023. Guimaraes pitched a trilogy bout between Lyoto Machida and Shogun Rua, seemingly receiving a positive response from the UFC.
“When I heard ‘Shogun was doing his last fight at UFC Rio, I immediately called (UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell) offering Lyoto for a trilogy,” Guimaraes said to Sherdog. “Hunter told me they initially were planning on someone like Tyson Pedro to fight Shogun, but he liked the idea and told me he was going to talk to Dana [White] about it. I have no doubt the Brazilian audience would love that matchup. Two champions, two legends of the sport, one win for each, doing their rubber match on the night of both of their retirement fights. Shogun is already a Hall of Famer, Lyoto also deserves that.” (H/T/ BJ PENN)
Machida defended his UFC middleweight title against Shogun in 2009. ‘The Dragon’ defeated his countryman via unanimous decision. However, the fight would be immediately rebooked, this time with a very different result. Rua knocked Machida out in the first round.
With both fighters now in the twilight of their careers, one final bout in front of a Brazilian crowd, to end this trilogy, makes a lot of sense.
A fourth bout between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno is also reportedly set to take place on this card. Also in the mix are the following fights:
Brad Tavares vs. Gregory Rodrigues
Gabriel Bonfim vs. Mounir Lazzez
Josiane Nunes vs. Zarah Fairn