Lyoto Machida is a very loud, very impressive 1-0 in the UFC middleweight division.
Machida (20-4) looked spectacular in his 185-pound debut on Saturday, knocking out Mark Munoz in the first round with a stunning head kick. The contest headlined UFC Fight Night 30 at Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England.
A high left head kick put Munoz down three minutes into the fight. Machida, who occasionally trains alongside Munoz in Southern California, followed him to the floor but threw no additional strikes.
Referee Leon Roberts officially waved it off at the 3:10 mark. The two middleweights embraced in a hug afterward.
"It's very hard for me, because Mark is a good friend," Machida said. "As a professional, I don't think about that. 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."
As was the case at light heavyweight, Machida executed a cautious game plan, but did show a willingness to come forward. He tagged Munoz with two kicks to the body before going high, which likely brought Munoz's defense down.
Munoz (13-4) actually had his right hand in place near the temple to absorb the kick, but it failed to do much good. He never went unconscious from the blow, but was clearly rendered temporarily defenseless from it.
Machida admitted the weight cut had been difficult but expressed confidence in his new division. He's said all week that he's willing to fight in either weight class.
"I will stay at 185, but my bosses are [UFC president] Dana White and [UFC co-owner] Lorenzo Fertitta," Machida said. "If they ask me to fight at 205 again, I will do that."
Machida likely will be ranked immediately at middleweight. Despite a loss to Phil Davis in his most recent performance, he was the No. 5-ranked light heavyweight in the world, according to ESPN.com.
Munoz was ranked No. 7 at middleweight heading into the bout. He returned from a yearlong injury layoff in July with a unanimous decision over Tim Boetsch. He drops to 8-4 overall in the Octagon.
Illegal knee by Guillard results in no-contest
During an early scramble near the fence, Guillard landed a knee to Pearson's head as he was reaching down with his right hand to become a "downed opponent."
Under current rules, a fighter with one hand on the canvas is considered a "downed opponent," even if he's standing. Knees to a grounded opponent are illegal.
The scramble began when Pearson (15-6) swarmed Guillard with a flying knee attempt. Guillard (31-12-2) turned him into the cage and landed the illegal strikes.
An initial knee landed nearly simultaneously with Pearson's hand touching the ground. The following knee was clearly illegal on replay and opened a gash on Pearson's forehead.
Referee Marc Goddard immediately broke up the lightweight contest, and after seeing the extent of Pearson's cut, declared the fight over. Both Guillard and Pearson appeared frustrated at the result.
Guillard had controlled the fight mostly to that point, using his footwork and hand speed to keep Pearson on the outside. The illegal strikes came early enough, however, that neither fighter held a clear advantage.
Guillard was coming off a second-round knockout of Mac Danzig in July. Pearson was looking to add to a two-fight win streak.
Manuwa earns victory by default
After blocking a knee up the middle by Manuwa, Jimmo (18-3) backed off to reset in the center of the cage and buckled under his own weight. He immediately grabbed his left leg in pain, and referee Neal Hall waved off the bout.
The 205-pound contest was marred by long clinches against the fence. Hall was forced to separate the two twice in the first and second rounds for inactivity.
The few strikes that were landed in the clinch belonged to Manuwa. He kept Jimmo in place with an underhook on the left side and landed hard knees to the thigh.
Following each of the referee breaks, action was relatively even, but Manuwa's offense appeared to have the greater effect. He landed an early left hook in the second round and found a home for outside leg kicks on the right side.
"The fight went how I thought it'd go," Manuwa said. "I knew he was a tough opponent. He's strong, but I had his number. It was just a matter of time before I caught him."
Manuwa, 33, has finished all 14 opponents he's faced in his five-year career -- 13 by knockout.
Parke powers past Tuck
Parke (19-2) ran his win streak to nine with a unanimous decision over Tuck, handing the lightweight his first professional loss in the process. All three judges scored the fight for Parke -- 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Tuck (7-1) set the tone in the opening round. He caught a somewhat hesitant Parke with several right hands and kicks to the body. Parke managed to score a late takedown, but blood on his mouth and nose showed the effect of Tuck's offense.
A member of Alliance MMA in Southern California, Parke's conditioning swung momentum in the middle frame. He let his hands go in the center of the Octagon and kept the pressure on a visibly fading Tuck.
Parke hurt Tuck with a combination midway through the round, leading with the straight left and then an uppercut on the inside. A southpaw, the straight left was Parke's greatest weapon throughout the second and third rounds.
Tuck, 29, showed a little second wind early in the third, but he couldn't maintain the pace. He landed a couple more right hands, but Parke's pressure and volume punching continued to dictate the round.
An international winner of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series, the 26-year-old Parke improves to 3-0 in the UFC. Tuck falls to 1-1. The loss came in his only appearance of 2013.
Musoke submits Sakara
The middleweight contest opened with several heavy exchanges on the feet, during which both fighters got their bell rung. Sakara (15-11) scored first, wobbling Musoke with a counter left hook/right hand combination.
After a quick Sakara takedown, Musoke (11-2-1) got back to his feet where he quickly turned the tide. He staggered Sakara with a left hand to the chin, before taking him down into side control along the fence.
Sakara reversed position midway through the round, rolling off his back and into Musoke's full guard. He landed a solid left elbow from the top, but Musoke isolated his right arm and instantly produced a tap from the belly-down position.
It marks the fifth submission win of Musoke's career. He also has four knockouts to his credit.
"It feels awesome -- it's a dream come true," Musoke said following the win. "Being in the Octagon was special, and it got to me a bit more than I thought it would.
"[Musoke] came out harder than I anticipated. We both got into it. I was listening to my corner and looking to land the hook. I saw the takedown and went for it. Then he exploded on me, but I kept my composure and got the submission."
Sakara, who returned from close to a one-year layoff, falls to 0-4 since 2011. He was disqualified in his last fight against Patrick Cote in November 2012 for illegal punches to the back of the head.
"I made a mistake in the fight," Sakara said. "It is my own mistake, and if in the big events you make mistakes, you lose."
Lineker outclasses Harris
Lineker (23-6) brutalized Harris on the feet in their flyweight contest, dropping him three times in less than three minutes. Referee Neal Hall brought a stop to the action at the 2:51 mark, following a hard right to Harris' midsection.
Many expected Harris, a submission specialist, to bring the contest to the floor. The British flyweight elected to stand instead and did not attempt a single takedown.
The strategy likely played into the result, as Lineker walked through Harris' attempts to counter punch and landed the harder shots. He knocked Harris down early with a straight right, and then wobbled him moments later with a left hook.
"The fight went how I wanted it; I wanted to strike," Lineker said. "Everyone who steps in the Octagon is tough, and I just work my hardest to get the best results. We're going to sit down and see what's next, but I am looking forward to celebrating."
The only criticism of the Brazilian's performance is that it came one day after he failed to make the 126-pound weight limit. It marked the third time in five UFC fights Lineker has failed to make weight. He is 4-1 in those bouts.
Harris (22-11) drops to 1-2 in the Octagon. He brought a five-fight win streak into the promotion in 2012, but has now been finished by Lineker and Darren Uyenoyama.