Bruno Machado makes memorable comeback to retain UAE Warriors lightweight crown

Brazilian defeats Korean Yun Jae Jung after first-round knockout in Abu Dhabi

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Bruno Machado was back in the UAE Warriors cage for the first time in two years but showed no signs of rust as he retained his lightweight belt in the promotion’s 36th edition at the Etihad Arena on Saturday.

The Brazilian made short work of Korean Yun Jae Jung by stopping him in four minutes and 35 seconds in the first of the scheduled five-round title contest to emerge victorious by TKO.

Machado was supposed to face Martun Mezhlumyan but the Armenian pulled out of the contest two weeks before the scheduled meeting after his preparation was hindered by illness.

Jung, who took Mezhlumyan’s place at short notice, failed to challenge the champion as he came under a barrage of blows before the referee stopped the contest.

Machado, 36, hadn't been in the ring since his last win over UFC veteran Mickael Lebout in January 2021. He did appear in an exhibition boxing bout against UFC legend Anderson Silva last May.

“I was away from action for so long and to come over and defend my UAE Warriors title in my second home in Abu Dhabi is a great result,” an emotional Machado said.

“I spent over three months preparing for Martun but I had to change my game plan two weeks ago to face a new opponent. I think I have done well and thanks to all my trainers and fans.”

Machado’s victory stretched his record to 14-9 (win-loss), and winning streak to six. Jung was making his promotion debut, having won three of his last five fights.

In the main support fight, Kazakh Asylzhan Bakhytzhanuly sent Emiliano Sordi crashing into the canvass before finishing off his Argentine opponent in a light heavyweight contest.

Xavier Alaoui made short work of Jayson Margallo in their bantamweight fight. The Moroccan ended the contest with a tight guillotine choke on the Filipino in round one.

Swede Josefine Knutsson made a successful UAE Warriors debut to stretch her unbeaten run to five after a split decision over Australian Jacinta Austin - appearing for the first time in the promotion and suffering her first career defeat in five fights.

The 11-fight card began with Frenchman Mikail Bayram securing a unanimous decision over Daniel Kolasinski of Poland in the catchweight 161lb category.

Abdullo Khodzhaev of Tajikistan also celebrated victory over Norwegian Ole-Jorgen Mandt Johnsen in the lightweight.

Albanian Dennis Buzukja stopped Mark Gregorio Valerio of the Philippines by TKO in round one in a lightweight contest, while Brazilian Victor Nunes overcame Aaron Aby of Wales by a unanimous decision in the flyweight division.

Genil Francisco of the Philippines beat Russian Shamil Magomedov with a rear naked choke in round two in their bantamweight contest.

Slovakian Stefan Vojcak won a unanimous decision over Moroccan Sofiane Boukichou in the heavyweight section, while Kazakh Bekzat Almakhan beat Mauro Mastromarini of Argentina in a bantamweight fight.

Updated: February 26, 2023, 8:37 AM