Manchester, United Kingdom (4E Sports) – Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida (20-4) knocked out Mark Munoz in the first round with a left head kick in his 185-pound debut Saturday at Phones 4u Arena.
Machida executed a cautious game plan in the headline of UFC Fight Night 30 before tagging Munoz with two kicks to the body that likely brought Munoz’s defense down.
Munoz (13-4) actually had his right hand in place near the temple to defend against the succeeding high kick, but it still jarred him and knocked him down.
Machida followed to the floor but threw no additional strikes as referee Leon Roberts officially waved it off at the 3:10 mark.
“It’s very hard for me, because Mark is a good friend,” said Machida, who occasionally trains alongside Munoz in Southern California. “I just do my job. Now, the friendship will keep going. Mark, thank you for fighting me. I’m sorry about that. It’s my job.”
Machida admitted the weight cut had been difficult but he’s willing to fight in either middle or light heavyweight classes.
“I will stay at 185, but my bosses are [UFC president] Dana White and [UFC co-owner] Lorenzo Fertitta,” Machida said.
Machida is ranked No. 5 light heavyweight in the world while Munoz was ranked No. 7 at middleweight heading into the bout.
Meanwhile, the lightweight contest between Melvin Guillard (31-12-2) and Ross Pearson (15-6) ended in a no-contest following an accidental illegal knee by Guillard in the first round.
In a light heavyweight bout, Jimi Manuwa (14-0) registered a second-round TKO victory when opponent Ryan Jimmo (18-3) suffered a left leg injury.
Norman Parke (19-2) ran his win streak to nine with a unanimous decision over John Tuck (7-1) in a lightweight matchup, via scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Nicholas Musoke (11-2-1) earned a submission win in his promotional debut, tapping Alessio Sakara (15-11) via armbar in 3:07 of the first round of their middleweight contest.
John Lineker (23-6) scored a first-round TKO with a right hand to the body of Phil Harris (22-11) down in a flyweight bout.