(pic via MMA Fighting’s UFC on FOX 4 Gallery)

The light heavyweight contender sweepstakes are over and Lyoto Machida came out the winner with his flawless victory over Ryan Bader. After being punished every time he moved in to attack, Bader started the second round off by throwing caution to the wind and lunging wildly for his opponent. Machida, who is known for being somewhat decent at counterstriking, put his fist through the giant hole in Bader’s defense and stole his motherfucking soul.

As for Shogun, he whupped Vera from post to post for the majority of their fight and almost finished him several times. But this is one of those situations where getting fed a can is bad: if you don’t crush it like it ain’t no thang, people tend to dismiss your performance. By the fourth round, everyone’s focus was firmly on Brandon Vera’s surprising display of heart and aggression. There’s no way Shogun was getting a title shot out of that narrative.

So instead, we have this narrative: The Dragon is back, and he is ready to test Jon Jones with a tweaked version of his patented elusive karate stylings. Considering it’s only been 8 months since the last time Machida fought Jones, I doubt there’ll actually be a big difference. But at least Bones is willing to fight the guys the UFC lines up for him, unlike a certain other UFC champion. And hey, maybe Dan Henderson takes Jon Jones out on September 1st, which would instantly make Machida’s title shot a lot more interesting.